College sport teams show coronavirus the red card


As college sport returns to much fanfare, so does Palatinate’s cutting-edge coverage of Durham’s most celebrated sporting megastars. Ahead of the season, we caught up with outfits as revered as Josephine Butler Ultimate Frisbee A Team to the most star-studded of them all, Grey Men’s Football D Team, to talk all things sport.

Hatfield College Boat Club

Keziah Smith describes herself as a “mega super fan” of Hatfield College Boat Club, but she’s more than that. Once a novice, she’s now the Novice Development Officer herself and is more than happy to discuss Hatfield’s habit of transforming first-time rowers into certified speed merchants.

“Last year we did well in the Novice Cup, placing first for our men’s boat and second for our women’s boat… although in my opinion we only lost first place on a technicality!” Keziah tells Palatinate.

It’s been a big lockdown effort to retain the strength and fitness needed to swish a boat down the Wear. “We have a HCBC Strava group and did a lot of running over lockdown. Once the gyms opened on 12th April, we began sorting ourselves out on the squat racks and ergs!” And with the boats finally hitting the water last week, Palatinate is sure this hard work will pay off.

“We’re always ready to play, rain, shine, or hungover”

Josephine Butler Ultimate Frisbee A

Cerys Fearn and her teammates have some scores to settle. In their first season back in the Ultimate Frisbee Premiership, they sizzled to second in the table, only one point behind Castle A – but having played a game less. Castle claimed they were the rightful winners. Cerys is having none of it.

“Despite unverified claims from Castle, Butler are confident we won the college Premiership in 2019-20! We were undefeated before Covid-19 cut the season short, and I think we’ve got a huge chance of claiming the Premiership title once more! Our team is stacked with new talent and DU frisbee players, so the other colleges better be prepared!”

Maybe she’s right. After all, the club won Butler’s Club of the Year in 2019, an accolade no Castle representatives can hijack. Cerys points to the club’s special environment. “We have some absolutely fantastic women, and we’re not afraid to utilise them! Our inclusive club atmosphere really epitomises the spirit of ultimate frisbee and we’re very proud of what we do!”

Even more formidably, this team is weatherproof and alcohol-proof. “We’re always ready to play, rain, shine, or hungover.” Surely that’s an unbeatable formula, Castle?

Hatfield Men’s Rugby As

Johnny Wallace is ominously tight-lipped in his exchange with Palatinate, which we take as a sign of extreme focus and professionalism. Maybe history is a heavy chain around the neck; Hatfield have made every Floodlit Cup final since 2017, clinching the trophy in 2019.

Could overconfidence be the downfall of Hatfield this term? Johnny claims that Hatfield “had the best team” last season, but the 2019-20 Easter Term league table offers evidence to the contrary. Hatfield finished third in the league, conceding almost twice as many points as champions Van Mildert A.

Still, that Floodlit record is the envy of every rugby player in Durham, and they’ll be hoping to add yet more silverware to the cabinet this season.

Collingwood Women’s Football A Team

As an actress, Giorgia Laird is used to pretending to be a character outside herself. Quality, however, is something that can’t be faked – not that this Collingwood team need to do that, according to Giorgia and Club President Leah Cotterrill.

“Last year was an 18-0-win kind of season, very impressive play from Collingwood!” they declare, with all the cheerful self-assurance that only Collingwood people can justifiably muster. “Being back together now as a team is the best thing, but we also can’t wait to see Collingwood’s name back at the top of the league table!”

What, then, is the magical potion these Collingwood players take to achieve their supreme athleticism and sporting prowess? That’s classified information that Giorgia and Leah refuse to reveal. “A good magician never reveals their secrets. Guess the opposition will have to wait and see.” How mysterious.

“The Ds can’t be handled by a single man, no matter how strong that man is”

Grey Men’s Football D Team

Last Freshers’ Week, Charlie Moore was a Senior Frep, responsible for ensuring the happy and safe induction of Grey College’s new wide-eyed students. He now faces a much more important task: leading the Ds to the mini-division 15 title with co-captain Josh Friend.

Charlie is a poetic man. “The Ds are a way of life. Our mantra ‘All the Ds’ encapsulates our entire way of being because it doesn’t actually make sense but it makes all the senses tingle.” Only a D Team player would understand the rush of excitement this motto causes.

Last season, the Ds suffered a disastrous relegation from Division 4. Such poor form might agitate any other captain, but Charlie casually explains this away. “We lost our way last year given we only had one captain rather than two. The Ds can’t be handled by a single man, no matter how strong that man is.”

But then Charlie treads a well-worn path, partly blaming the relegation on “injuries to key players”. Palatinate dismisses this claim wholeheartedly. As one of those key players myself (some would say), I don’t recall getting injured!

Featured image courtesy of Hatfield College Boat Club. Image in article courtesy of Collingwood College Women’s Football A Team.

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