Feels a bit deja-vu this, doesn’t it? We’re halfway through Varsity week and it’s currently 16-8 to Gower street. Ouch. It’s been a rough start to this year’s series, but I’m here to look at how we got here, and what’s next (let me tell you, it certainly ain’t over yet).
Day 1 – Friday
A mixed Friday kicked off proceedings for the Series, with old and new facing off. For the newbies, Climbing and Weightlifting, it was a disappointing start to life as both teams faced off against quasi-professional competition to lose both fixtures. Better luck next year guys. Meanwhile, at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace, mixed emotions as we lost Swimming and Women’s Water Polo (cheers ref) but clawed back a valiant point through Men’s Water Polo. 4-1 down on aggregate (oh dear), the main event took place at Lee Valley, where the Ladies’ hockey team kicked off proceedings with 5-0 BATTERING of Gower (following an 8-0 L last year as well), only for the boys to fall on hard luck and lose their fixture 3-0. 5-2 down on the day, a big Saturday was in store.
Day 2 – (not so) Super Saturday
A big day awaited us all on Saturday, with eight whole points up for grabs. Game on. The day opened with another mixed start: 1 point apiece in Fencing courtesy of some strong individual performances in the Great Hall on the Strand, as well as an unfortunate double loss in Chiswick for both the Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams (despite a canine pitch invader). No luck for the rest of the day, as a thorough drubbing was handed out in both Tennis and American Football, followed by a tight (and unlucky) loss for the girls from Guy’s campus in Womens’ GKT Hockey. All hope seemingly lost, the guys from Guy’s were determined not to let us take four Ls out of a possible four at Lee Valley and pulled a bit of magic out of the hat to secure a point in GKT Mens’ Hockey. And breathe.
Day 3 – Sunday
Now 11-4 down, we needed some picking up off our feet Sunday – and that’s what we got. Tipping off proceedings at UEL Sportsdock on an exceptionally sunny March London day, the Mens’ Basketball team had a lead stolen in an eventual 1pt loss, before the ladies in red avenged them with a thumping of the Gower fiends (you love to see it). More luck to follow across town, as Baseball stole a tight-as-you-like final-innings win for their first ever Varsity dub in an impressive showing. All that momentum felt a bit too good to be true though, and the subsequent results proved it. Volleyball lost a pair of neck-and-neck ties back at the Sportsdock and Badminton failed to keep pace in an exhausting marathon fixture against UCL, ending the day 15-6 to Gower.
Day 4 – Monday
Maybe it was the shit weather, maybe it was the cancelled lectures, but the Strand faithful woke up Monday morning hungry. Table Tennis opened affairs with a battle for the ages (go read the report, it’s nail-biting stuff) where they took the win with the last match of the day. Not to be outdone, Squash turned up the tempo for another intense encounter which they secured a much needed point for the Strand boys and girls. Riding a high, Somers Town Community Centre awaited last year’s victors (and UCL) for Taekwondo, where despite fighting against national champions and the odds, it was the ref who stole the show – making some very dodgy decisions in you-know-who’s favour. Same old Gower, always cheating. 2-1 for King’s on the day, finally some good fortune.
There’s one recurring theme which I picked up on from Sunday and Monday. No, it’s not losing games – tight fixtures and matches became very custom. One-point or two-point deficits ended a Taekwondo fight, multiple Volleyball sets, Men’s Basketball and others in UCL’s favour – games that could swing either way.
It’s also about time to point out that with 38 points up for grabs this year, you’ll need at least 20 to win the damn thing, so while Gower have a comfortable lead (for now) they’ll have to upset the odds in a run of fixtures where we’re favourites. A crunch Wednesday is coming up, with Cycling, Ultimate Frisbee, Athletics, Rowing, Pole Fitness and Muay Thai all sports which could swing either way – UCL can under no circumstances be allowed to win out.
While I won’t count my chicks, we’re pretty well favoured in the auld favourites of Football, Netball and Rugby – all of which come up in the next few days. While the gap is big, we’re not going gentle into that good night folks, so keep your eyes peeled…
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