The illustrious Varsity silverware was this year draped in blue and purple again, as it has been far too many times in the past few years. Are we doing something wrong? Can we finally buck the trend in 2020?
If you are new to King’s, welcome! Boy do you have a lot in store. While I’ll let you discover a lot of what uni life has to offer on your own, there’s one thing I think it’s worth giving freshers a heads-up on: Varsity.
The month of March is synonymous with only one thing in London: Varsity week. Seven days of sporting battle against the Godless uptown scum in blue and purple (UCL), always culminating in an electric rugby match at one of London’s premier sporting venues. While for decades it was just the rugby game deciding who got the spoils, since 2014 the London Varsity Series has expanded yearly, now encompassing twenty seven different sporting events.
While that does indeed sound like a superb week-long sporting bonanza and/or seven day bender, it’s not been quite so glorious for us. In fact, the cup has only come home to the Strand once – in 2016. Last year, the 2018 edition, was particularly painful as the entire competition came down to the men’s rugby match, which in turn was decided by a single try. Scored by UCL.
This year was an exceptionally painful Varsity though, for it’s own reasons. The men’s rugby game was cancelled because of a fiasco up on Gower street, leading to a disappointing turnout at the women’s rugby game. Nonetheless, the curtain call had no impact on the overall tournament as varsity was already well out of our hands by the Wednesday.
Women’s and men’s football was probably the nadir of the week as both teams, so successful in their individual seasons, slumped to an aggregate 6-1 defeat in a set of performances which left the strand faithful more bemused than disappointed, with most of the focus drawn to the scenes in the stands rather than on the pitch.
Far too many games which were supposed to be KCL strongholds – Handball, Swimming, Basketball – turned into what-could-have-been nights and only one late comeback, in American Football, came to fruition among the valiant efforts from men’s Handball, Baseball and women’s Rugby to pull their games back.
What about next year then? Is there hope? Although we fell to a six-point defeat this year (21-15), many games could’ve gone the other way. Multiple sports were won by only a one- or two-point deficit and we lost a plethora of games in sports we were certainly favourites for. This doesn’t change next year, as our valiant reds will return to halls, pitches and arenas around London in March for another week of historic action.
With 190 years of history behind this rivalry, a Varsity win now would be it’s own statement in the long and distinguished history of this college (and the long and not-so-distinguished history of that college two streets up), so perhaps a newly-rekindled varsity spirit is needed to stir up the right motivation to finally push it over the line. If you want to be a part of the glory, reach out to sport societies taking part to make an impact. In any case, you can be sure that it’ll all be covered here in Roar…