By Nick Friend
Last Wednesday saw Team Durham have their best day of the season thus far. Recording 33 wins and just 14 defeats in the 49 matches in which they competed, Durham sit top of the British University points table – 64 points clear of Loughborough. In the first round of the National Conference Cup, Durham also saw an excellent percentage of victories.
Arguably, the footballers stole the headlines with all five sides winning. Both the men and women securing 1-0 away wins against strong Northumbria sides. The men’s 2nd XI also won 1-0 away at Sheffield Hallam. The women’s 2nd side thrashed Sunderland’s 2nd XI 10-0 and the 3rd XI snuck past Newcastle, winning 2-1.
The lacrosse sides ran them close, however, with two huge wins. The women, having been agonisingly beaten by Birmingham in the BUCS final in April, avenged that defeat with a crushing 15-3 victory. The men were equally ruthless, brushing Manchester aside to win 27-2. The lacrosse 5th team made their BUCS debut and were involved in an astonishing 5-5 draw.
The tennis sides were equally ruthless, with the men and women’s 1st teams both defeating Loughborough 12-0. The women’s 2nd team were unfortunate to lose a final match decider by the same scoreline. The men’s 2nd team fared far better, humbling Leeds 8-0. Both 3rd teams easily despatched their opposition – the men whitewashing Chester and the women beating Liverpool John Moores – also 12-0 victors. Perhaps, most excitingly was the news that the 5th team conquered Teeside University’s 1st team in a shootout after a 6-6 draw in their Cup match.
Loughborough were also in town as Team Durham’s water polo team took on their rivals. The Palatinates ran out 17-9 winners.
The 1st golf team announced themselves back in the Premiership with a convincing 5-1 victory over Nottingham. The 2nd team were unfortunate to lose to a good UCLAN side 3.5-2.5. The 4th team were on exceptional form in seeing off Newcastle’s 1st team 4-2.
The fencers had a mixed afternoon – the women crushed local rivals Newcastle with a 135-98 victory. The men, however, were surprisingly defeated 118-112 by the same opposition.
On the hockey field, Durham’s men’s and women’s 1st teams took on Birmingham – University Hockey’s crème de la crème. The men, having been 1-0 down for long periods, staged a virtuoso comeback to win 3-2. The women, though, were unfortunate to go down 2-0 to two late goals. The men’s 2nd XI gained a very credible 1-1 draw with Manchester’s 1st team whilst the women won well, beating Lancaster 3-1. In the Cup, the men’s 3rd XI easily disposed of Leeds 8-0, the 4th team won 2-1 against Newcastle and the 5th side claimed a 5-2 victory over Leeds’ 3rd XI. The women’s 3rd team beat Newcastle 2nd XI on penalty flicks and the 4th team comfortably defeated Leeds 3-1.
Perhaps, the games of the day came on the rugby fields. The women put in a dazzling display to humiliate Newcastle 51-0. The men, on the other hand, 17-6 down at the break to Loughborough, so nearly dragged the game back into their hands. Ultimately, they fell one point short, losing 17-16. Yet, for sheer size of victory, it is hard to look past the women’s 2nd XV, who hammered Bradford’s 1st XV 85-0 – averaging more than a point per minute. The 3rd XV travelled to Scotland to take on Glasgow’s 1st XV. Durham put in an exceptional shift to be in the game for long periods against one of the top rugby universities in the United Kingdom.
In badminton, the men beat Liverpool John Moores 5-3 to remain top of the table. The women were narrowly beaten by Birmingham by the same scoreline. In the National Conference Cup, the men’s 2nd team heavily beat Hull 8-0. However, the 3rd team were, themselves, taken to the cleaners by Northumbria’s 1st team – losing 7-1.
The women’s netballers claimed a fantastic win, defeating league leaders Liverpool John Moores 56-48. The 2nd team overcame Sheffield Hallam 48-27 in the Cup, although both the 3rd and 4th teams were knocked out by strong opposition.
The men’s squash 1st team carried on with their terrific early season form, defeating Leeds comfortably 4-1. However, it was a less successful day for the women’s teams as both sides were humbled against their respective opponents. The 1st team lost 4-0 to Sheffield and the 2nd team lost by the same scoreline to Lancaster.
The men’s table tennis 3rd team was soundly beaten at UCLAN 12-5.
Finally, in the Conference Cup, the basketball 2nd team was narrowly beaten in a cracking game – losing to York St Johns’ 1st team 78-74.