Collingwood College recently hosted a competitive sporting weekend against visitors James College from York University.
The annual tournament originated in 2009, when the two college presidents and sports captains saw an opportunity for their students to experience life at another university through playing competitive, college sport.
It was Collingwood, who first made the journey to their newly found rivals in February of 2009.
35 Durham students were welcomed by James College who treated them to a night out in York on Friday, before commencing the competition on Saturday where Collingwood were victorious.
Since 2009, the tournament has aimed to remain an annual event, however due to adverse weather last year, the weekend was unable to take place.
Nevertheless, with ideal weather coniditons as well as excellent organisation from Ellie Woodcock, Jess Brown and Charlotte Bradley; Collingwood’s president, this year, the two colleges could battle it out once again.
It was Collingwood’s turn to host this unique weekend of competition and camerarderie between the two colleges, and after James arrived late on Friday evening for their exclusive night in Durham, the stage was set for a comprehensive programme of sporting contests to be followed on the Saturday.
Seven fixtures were fought out ranging from squash to mixed lacrosse with each side securing three wins and a draw apiece resulting in an honourable draw overall to finish the weekend.
Collingwood seized the early initiative and set the tone for a dramatic day with a 10-7 tie-break victory on the pool table, but James responded with a comfortable 4-1 win in the squash.
The first half of the lacrosse was played with the unfamiliar rule of no tackling, which could possibly explain the thrashing that Collingwood received, losing the match 6-2, though Ben V Hook, Katie Stirrup and Genevieve McCormick put in strong performances.
Despite the reintroduction of tackling into the game at half-time James were able to maintain an unassailable lead.
Aaron Rolph, a James tutor and mixed lacrosse player enjoyed the whole experience.
“When you play sport for a university it can be very serious, so it’s good to be able to play competitively in a friendly and fun atmosphere,” he said.
Regardless of having already smashed Josephine Butler 6-1 that morning, Collingwood A produced another solid performance, winning 2-1 against James A’s and a late equaliser from the penalty spot earned Collingwood B’s a draw against the visiting team.
Collingwood A team football captain Billy Phillips was proud of his players’ spirited performance against the York visitors, especially after the high-tempo win against Jo Butler less than half an hour before. “We were happy to grind out a win with tired legs in what was a great contest. Thanks should go to James College for making the trip up,” he said.
The netball court was the setting for a dramatic climax, as Collingwood A’s eased to an 18-9 triumph giving them the overall lead. A tie or win was all that was needed from the Collingwood B team to secure a victory for Durham overall and from the first centre pass it was obvious this was going to be a tense game.
Collingwood finished the first quarter with a 5-4 lead thanks to accurate shooting from Captain Lizzi Yentumi and robust defending from Susie Graves and Kathryn Rothwell.
The girls battled hard and managed to stay in front until the third quarter, however the pressure from James’ attack was ultimately too great as they agonisingly edged ahead in the final quarter. The game finished 17-19 to the York side.
After the game, Yentumi was filled with admiration for her players.
“It was such a closely contested game; I was on edge the whole time, but I’m so proud of my girls,” she said.
The trophy was shared at the presentation ceremony in the Collingwood Bar that evening, where Professor Joe Elliott, Collingwood Principal, praised the event’s atmosphere.
“Perhaps the most satisfying part of the weekend was the way in which Collingwood students provided such a warm welcome for our visitors. All the games were conducted in the traditional Collingwood spirit of intense competition and sporting largesse,” he said.
His counterpart Provost Neil Lunt at James College raised the possibility of a return leg next term.
“We’re looking forward to the return leg in Spring to see if the Collingwood rugby team is all it’s cracked up to be!” he said.
Plans are currently being made for Collingwood to make the trip to York next term, where the two colleges’ sporting reputation and rivalry will once again be put to the test.