Into its 13th year of the competition, Leeds Varsity 2017 was as competitive as in recent years, resulting in the Gryphon’s narrowly missing out with an overall score of 32 – 29 to Leeds Beckett University. The score reflects the closing of the gap between the two where just one or two fixtures could have clinched it for the University of Leeds.
Leeds Varsity, the ultimate university sporting competition see’s University of Leeds take on local rivals Leeds Beckett in a calendar of fixtures beginning in January and finishing with a grand finale in October. The October events kick started on the Saturday with parkrun Varsity in which 177 students, staff and alumni got out of bed at 9am to represent UoL and claim an easy victory over rivals Beckett who only managed a mere 36.
Following last year’s successful introduction, Varsity Netball returned with well over 300 spectators who cheered the University of Leeds as they took on the Beckett side who currently play in the BUCS league above. Despite a highly competitive game, Beckett came out on top to win the game 38-29.
2017 saw the introduction of another new Tuesday night event; Varsity Hockey where both the Men and Women’s first teams took to Sports Park Weetwood to battle it out for two all important Varsity points. With close results in both it was Beckett who claimed both points with the men winning 1-0 after a goal in the last five minutes. In the women’s game, the final score finished 3-1 to Beckett despite an impressive drag flick converted by the University of Leeds’ Katie Hopkisson.
The finale Wednesday was packed with intense competition and both universities battled hard against each other throughout the day. The Gryphon’s started the day off trailing 8-2 so had to work hard to try pull some points back. They dominated in the pool, effortlessly winning both the Men and Women’s Swimming gala and securing victories in both Men & Women’s Waterpolo making them undefeated for the 8th year running.
There was fierce competition elsewhere at The Edge with the University hosting the Basketball and Korfball. After some hard battled fixtures, the University came out on top in the Korfball with an impressive 13 – 4 victory. However, Beckett did the triple in the Basketball with victories in all three fixtures.
Indoor rowing, usually a certain victory for the Gryphons, ended up being voided as a fixture due to Beckett racing rowers in incorrect categories.
Over at the Gryphon Centre, the home teams took easy victories in the squash with 4-0 and 5-0 victories. It was a different story in the handball though, with Beckett securing wins in both the men and women’s games.
Meanwhile up at Sports Park Weetwood, it was evenly match in the women’s football with the Gryphons 3rd team taking a 2-1 victory, the 2nd team just missing out as a result of penalties, and the 1st team losing 2-1. In a dramatic extra time finish, the Women’s Lacrosse team edged the victory over their rivals 6-5. A comfortable win in both Men’s Hockey games added two points to the Gryphons tally.
Down the road at Beckett, the university netball teams put in a sterling performance with wins from the 3rd and 4th teams with the 2’s only just missing out 35-33. Beckett used the home turf advantage with a white wash of victories in all 6 tennis matches for the second year in a row. Playing away didn’t deter volleyball with 3-0 wins in both men and women’s fixtures.
The Varsity day culminated with the men’s rugby union finale at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. In an unusual year with the crowds separated behind the goal posts, the overall scores were nail bitingly close leaving the rugby union side going out on to the field trying to reduce the gap to just a single point. The boys put in a valiant effort but it was a physical, league above, Beckett side who pulled away with a 29 – 8 victory.
Claiming that final Varsity point settled the scores at 32 – 29. Congratulations to Leeds Beckett University for their overall victory and well done to all players, coaches, volunteers, staff and spectators for the huge commitment and dedication to Leeds Varsity 2017. Thank you also to RAG for raising an impressive £362 for a fantastic cause, State of Mind, and to our student media societies for their coverage of the game.
A full list of the results can be found here, and keep an eye out on our social media channels for photo’s and videos from the day.