By Simon Carey
“Since the formation of BUCS, one university has dominated the rankings, having recorded 35 years as Britain’s top university in both team and individual sport. However, over the past four years the balance has shifted: Durham have emerged, not just as competition, but as the university to beat across team sports. 2014/15 saw the Palatinates topple the reigning champions to emerge as number one for both League and Cup sports, winning a staggering 10 Premier League titles and 7 National Championships along the way. This season sees Durham competing in a phenomenal 26 Premier Leagues – more than any other university in Britain.
On the 25th of November we set out to defend our crown as fifteen of our teams, across nine sports, do battle across the pitches, pool and courts of Durham against that other purple-clad team from the Midlands.
Other universities may have varsity days, but never before has the rivalry and quality been so high across such a wide range of sports. In every contest, we expect to see this year’s Premier League winner in action – with Loughborough our closest rivals for many of the titles, victories on the day will be crucial at the end of the season.
The competition kicks off with both golf (Brancepeth Golf Course, 09:40) and women’s tennis (Virgin Active Tennis Centre, 12:00) in the morning, with both teams looking to secure the first wins of what will be very hard fought day. At Maiden Castle, the action begins at 13:00 when the undefeated Men’s Football team (Maiden Castle – 3G1) take on Loughborough, the current reigning Premier League title-holders and National Championship runners up.
It is without a doubt the highlight of the day when both Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams take the field. Both teams are coming off undefeated national championship runs and are looking to retain their titles this season. The women’s game is a replay of last year’s national final, probably the highest quality lacrosse you will find in the country.
The day will finish at the Freeman’s Quay pool, with Men’s and Women’s Water Polo (Men: 18:00, Women: 19:00). Both teams have emerged as early front runners and, in a sport with a growing fan base in Durham, will look to continue their good form against Loughborough.
Last year Durham was the first university ever to reach 2,000 league points and yet again the Palatinates have delivered so far, having already broken the 2,000 point mark. For almost half a decade, every Durham/Loughborough fixture has been a headline game. To have 15 fixtures all on the same day is an unprecedented event, never attempted before by BUCS. This is our opportunity to really show what we are made of.
This day is truly going to showcase the best of university sport in the country; if there is any day you should spend watching sport at Maiden Castle it is the first ever BUCS Varsity. Even better, the whole event is free. Live music, Purple Radio and a lot of Palatinate will be on display all day at MC, so come down and support your teams!
Make sure to keep up to date on Facebook, Twitter (@teamdurham), Instagram (@team.durham) and Snapchat (@TeamDurham).
Photograph: Team Durham