Leicester triumph at Varsity 2017

Like many cities with more than one university, Leicester has an annual sporting contest between the two local institutions.  Over the past week, students from both universities have been competing in a wide range of sports, including football, netball, basketball, tennis, badminton, squash, indoor cricket, swimming, hockey, American football, trampolining, golf and – of course – ultimate frisbee.* On the overall score-sheet, it’s a simple two points for a win, one for a draw.

Leicester Varsity has been running for 14 years and not to blow our own trumpet but we do have a fairly solid record of success. This year however DMU were determined to unseat us and it really looked like they might.

DMU took an early lead on in the standings thanks to wins in the badminton, archery and basketball on Saturday. Leicester clawed back to level the scores on Monday thanks to wins in American football and swimming. The men’s and women’s football matches, which had to be hastily rearranged thanks to heavy rain, both went to Leicester with the women annihilating their opponents 4-0 and the men squeaking a 1-0 win.

A frenetic day of action yesterday saw points go either way in the golf, squash, rowing, lacrosse and football 2nds and 3rds, so by the time the action moved to Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road stadium in the evening for the traditional end of Varsity rugby showdown, Leicester had already clinched the title with solid points from the badminton and rock-climbing.

The ladies have never lost a Varsity rugby match and they weren’t about to start now, thrashing the opposition 17-3.  In contrast the men’s match was a nail-biter with DMU looking like they were going to take the honours as, after leading throughout the match, Leicester missed a penalty in front of the posts with just a few minutes to go that would have won it, and then knocked on a gilt-edged scoring opportunity. But with literally the last move of the match Leicester went over in the corner to take the game 17-13 – unleashing bedlam in the stands.

Congratulations to all our sports stars, as well as everyone who helped to organise events and the supporters who braved rain, wind and freezing temperatures to get behind the teams - you did the city and University proud. Commiserations and thanks to the DMU teams for making the 2017 Varsity the most thrilling ever.

*But not quidditch, though we would totally ace that.