Durham edge thrilling intramural varsity against Loughborough

By Will Jennings and Ella Jerman

Functioning as a precursor for the eagerly-anticipated college varsity in York later this term, Team Durham’s revived intramural event against Loughborough was nevertheless contested with characteristic passion and intensity. Indeed, this year’s event was a thriller, with Durham eventually triumphing 5-4 in a close-run and entertaining sporting affair.

A strong performance from Stephenson College in the mixed badminton culminated in a 9-0 victory over Loughborough’s Elvyn Richards that saw the hosts take a 1-0 lead in the contest.

The subsequent match-up saw Grey women’s football – who less than 24 hours before had secured the Division One league title – take on Telford. Despite a valiant effort, a potentially fatigued performance saw them lose 1-0, levelling the overall scores at one apiece.

A slow start for Collingwood men’s basketball set the tone for the team in the third event of the day, with the side succumbing to a 62-24 victory against Holt to put the visitors 2-1 up. But a strong Van Mildert performance in the netball saw them triumph 22-19 over Holt, while a classic on the women’s basketball court witnessed Telford hold off Josephine Butler 28-27, making it 3-2 to Loughborough with four to play.

Events on the crumb proved dramatic, with St Cuthbert’s men’s football holding their nerve to achieve an impressive 4-3 over Elvyn Richards thanks to a late winner. The outcome of the men’s rugby differed starkly, however, with Faraday comfortably disposing of Collingwood 50-15.

On to the women’s hockey, and if there is one thing everyone involved in the sport at Durham agrees on, it is that Grey are the team to beat. They proved unstoppable once again as they ran out 2-0 winners against Telford and Falk Egg to not only pick up vital points for Team Durham, but also to extend their incredible unbeaten run into yet another competition.

After such a vital varsity win, GCHC captain Sarah Sant praised her team for another impressive performance: “It was such a great experience having the opportunity to test our skills against a team from outside of Durham. We played really well, connecting our passes and working together. I think everyone out on that field had a good time and we showed exactly what we are capable of.”

With Durham claiming that win in the women’s hockey to counteract Faraday’s triumph in the rugby, the scores were level at 4-4. The 5pm men’s hockey fixture between St Hild and St Bede and Faraday and Telford was the all-important tiebreaker.

Albeit against the run of play, Hild Bede scored an early goal to set Team Durham on their way to varsity victory. Loughborough continued to up the pressure, however, and managed to find an equaliser with just under 15 minutes to go.

With time running out, the pressure started building and, in a moment of panic, Durham conceded a penalty stroke. Loughborough were gifted the perfect opportunity to win the match and the varsity, but that hope was short-lived as they missed the penalty.

It proved a crucial moment as Hild Bede went on to find the net just minutes later. They had secured the win, and the varsity crown was Durham’s.

Photograph: @TeamDurham via Twitter

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