By Matt Roberts
For the first time in the three-year history of the event, Durham lost the College Varsity to York last Sunday. The Palatinates were beaten 56-48 away at York with victory sealed by the all-conquering volleyball team of Wentworth College, who easily beat St John’s.
The result was in stark contrast to last year’s event where Durham were comfortable winners. On that occasion, Durham had wrapped up victory shortly after lunchtime and went on to win by a significant 24-point margin. This year, however, was much a much more gripping affair. In the end, York were rewarded for their endeavour and were worthy winners, with the clinching points coming at just after 17:30.
It cannot be denied that the outcome represents a thoroughly disappointing result for Durham, who boast one of the oldest and most prestigious College Sport programmes in the country.
Despite high hopes prior to the event, a number of teams were unable to perform to their maximum on the day. In particular, Durham’s failure to win a single men’s football or rugby match had a sizeable impact on the overall result. Elsewhere, the emphasis will now fall on colleges to improve the strength of their volleyball squads after Durham were unable to win either of the day’s two fixtures.
The most positive performances came from the combined women’s rugby teams of Milbut and Cuthle who adapted impressively to York’s non-contact approach to win both matches. Furthermore, Collingwood lived up their position at the top of the Durham College Sport standings, winning all their matches in tennis, netball and squash.
The event saw athletes from both universities encouraged to wear rainbow ribbon in support of The Rainbow Laces campaign which aims to aid equal opportunities and show a zero tolerance approach towards homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport.
Next year, College Varsity will be held in Durham when the Palatinates will look to right the wrongs of the 2016 version and reclaim the prestigious title. For now, York have the bragging rights.
Badminton A: Halifax 3-6 St Mary’s (5pts Durham)
Badminton B: Langwith 6-3 St Cuthbert’s (3pts York)
Basketball A: Derwent 61-75 Ustinov (5pts Durham)
Basketball B: Vanbrugh 76-69 John Snow (3pts York)
Darts A: Derwent 3-4 Castle (5pts Durham)
Darts B: Vanbrugh 6-1 Trevelyan (3pts York)
Hockey A: Goodricke 1-5 Hatfield (5pts Durham)
Hockey B: Alcuin 2-0 St Aidan’s (3pts York)
Lacrosse A: James 10-6 St John’s (5pts York)
Lacrosse B: Halifax 6-16 Castle (3pts Durham)
Men’s Football A: Halifax 2-2 Castle (2.5pts each)
Men’s Football B: Langwith 2-1 Stephenson (3pts York)
Men’s Rugby A: Derwent 27-10 St Aidan’s (5pts York)
Men’s Rugby B: James 22-7 St Hild & St Bede (3pts York)
Netball A: James 69-25 Grey (5pts York)
Netball B: Derwent 25-35 Collingwood (3pts Durham)
Squash A: Wentworth 0-8 Collingwood (5pts Durham)
Squash B: Alcuin 5-3 St Chad’s (3pts York)
Tennis A: Halifax 0-3 Collingwood (5pts Durham)
Tennis B: Langwith 2-1 St Mary’s (3pts York)
Volleyball A: James 3-0 Van Mildert (5pts York)
Volleyball B: Wentworth 3-0 St John’s (3pts York)
Women’s Football A: Alcuin 2-0 Grey (5pts York)
Women’s Football B: Vanbrugh 1-1 Josephine Butler (1.5pts each)
Women’s Touch Rugby A: Derwent 2-3 Milbut (5pts Durham)
Women’s Touch Rugby B: York Mixed Colleges 2-3 Cuthle (3pts Durham)
YORK 56 – 48 DURHAM
Photograph: Team Durham