By Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero
York have reclaimed the College Varsity trophy on home soil after a disappointing display from Durham’s travelling colleges. The hosts won with a comfortable 73-55 scoreline, earning a second Varsity title and reversing last year’s thumping 94-31 victory for the Palatinates at Maiden Castle.
Durham will look back on the result with a great deal of frustration. The visitors were hoping to capitalise on the whitewash in the last edition of the competition, but once again the home advantage proved crucial, with four of the past five Varsities having been won by the home side.
The news that St Cuthbert’s had forfeited their men’s B football match against Halifax after failing to field a team seemed to set the tone for the rest of the competition. York took an early 6-0 lead thanks to that result and Derwent’s 3-1 win against St Chad’s in the lacrosse B game, putting Durham on the back foot instantly.
Watched on by a huge home contingent, there was little to separate the two sides throughout the match.
A crushing 31-10 victory for University against Hes East gave Durham hope, as did wins in tennis and squash. Meanwhile, a late equaliser in the fiercely contested hockey B game between Derwent and Van Mildert meant York’s lead was slashed to three points.
But the tide shifted irreversibly in the men’s rugby A match between Derwent and Hatfield, the main event of the day. Watched on by a huge home contingent, there was little to separate the two sides throughout the match.
Derwent struck first but a penalty try to Hatfield meant the game was finely poised at 7-7. It seemed as if both sides would cancel each other out, but in the dying stages the referee awarded a penalty kick to Derwent. The home side converted to make it 10-7, and the crowd went wild.
The home side knew Durham were there for the taking, especially after Goodricke and Constantine saw off Josephine Butler and Trevelyan in quick succession in the women’s football. York secured the title during the badminton, with all but two of their six teams winning their matches.
By the time the darts B match started, victory had long since been confirmed for the hosts. Derwent’s darts players dispatched St Mary’s with ease, and the trophy was York’s again.
Photograph: @bvulliamy via Twitter