Menâ€™s Football (GKT)
With the Womenâ€™s Team opting not to be part of this yearâ€™s series, GKTâ€™s football hopes rests solely on the boys in blue and yellow. As a player for the club, and I can perhaps speak a bit more candidly about the events of last yearâ€™s match up. It was a dire game, ending up in a dire 1-0 defeat, conceding in a dire manner from a scrappy set piece, before ending the game direly with Harry Donkinâ€™s 90th min penalty just about managing to hit the M25. Now the negatives are out of the way, we can unquestionably be more optimistic for this yearâ€™s chances. Without the perennial shellacking the Womenâ€™s team gives out to their RUMS counterparts, meaning that at the very least the points are shared upon the end of the night, it really is a final in a Varsity context. The 1s have improved upon last year. Every team and every club has suffered from the lack of fresher additions, but the squad has gelled and developed their mutual performance levels (Iâ€™ll resist the Dychean â€˜game geographyâ€™ term). Johannes Jansen is as reliable as ever in net, Anthony Vijayanathan and Leander Xatzigrigoriou (find a better pair of surnames than that) are a dependable and diligent centre back pairing, and under the leadership of skipper Josh John in the middle of the park, they build from the back very nicely. Despite the odd blip, such as a 1-1 draw with the 3s, the 1s have been in good form so far in the Sellers Cup (the de-facto league of teams at KCL and GKT so far this year) and look set to win the whole thing. Hopefully theyâ€™ll add another title on Friday. In the eyes.
Womenâ€™s Hockey (GKT)
One of the final day events looks to be one of the shoo-ins for Kingâ€™s in the 2021, and this is the GKT Womenâ€™s Hockey. Not only have they been getting in peak fitness conditions through a Run Across the UK scheme, but their 1s have warmed up for Varsity by casually shellacking their RUMS rivals 7-0 just weeks ago. On face value, their 6-3 defeat to RUMS in last yearâ€™s event may still put a seed of doubt in predicting the outcome of this match-up but overturning a 7-0 in any context would be a miracle. Expect 1 point for Kings in the Series to come from Lee Valley on the 4th.
Menâ€™s Hockey (GKT)
As for the men, they too look set to run out as victors in this yearâ€™s event and repeat their feat of running out as victors in last yearâ€™s tie. That time, a very convincing 4-1 win, made easy by a dominant first half performance, made sure that the spoils would be shared over the night of GKT Hockey. But this year, theyâ€™re aiming for 2 wins out of 2. 1st XI Captain Omey Cayir, VP last year, has naturally ascended to the top job this year, and has led the boys in navy to a season of positive results, despiteâ€™s Covidâ€™s best efforts to rip through that development of poor form. They too have been keeping in fine shape, and this will be one of Kingsâ€™ best chance to secure a double victory at this yearâ€™s series.
Womenâ€™s Football (KCL)
As stated in the general preview, although it already feels long enough since the last Varsity series, it feels even longer for KCLFC, whose 2020 Series was cancelled due to it occurring right on the cusp of the first coronavirus lockdown. Now two years in the waiting, both KCL sides have the bit between their teeth to finally end their years of hurt. As for the women, their Macadam cup campaign in May has been a resounding success, winning the final game of the campaign in a 2-1 victory. There too is an overall positive vibe around the club at the minute, with their 2s and 3s giving out batterings over the last month, most notably with a 9-2 win for the 3s. Hopefully they can channel and continue that rich vein of form into this yearâ€™s series against Gower. Theyâ€™re similarly strong opposition, so it looks to be one of the closest, most exciting match ups for people to enjoy this year.
Menâ€™s Football (KCL)
The KCL menâ€™s team have been GKT 1sâ€™ closest challenger in the Sellers Cup over the past two months, which has been the inter-KCL tournament involving all 6 sides of KCL and all 5 of GKT. Unable to avenge the pain of the 2019 series, losing the final in disappointing fashion before the short-notice cancellation of last yearâ€™s event, the Strand outfit have as good a chance as ever to finally end the years of hurt. The side, much like the GKT 1s, have a strong defensive foundation of players, featuring two centre halves extremely comfortable at either building gradually from the back, or picking a 30-yard crossfield ping to quickly launch attacks through the wide channels. Whilst victory in Sellers Cup is perhaps still the primary target, theyâ€™ll be similarly motivated to get one over their rivals, who theyâ€™ve now been unable to play for over a year and a half. The motivation and appetite for victory is strong.