The University of Nottingham were crowned champions of the 2017 Varsity series, defeating rivals Nottingham Trent University 12-9. The victory sees the Green and Gold win the series for a sixth consecutive year.
Over a two-week stretch, 30 sports were played across a huge array of sporting locations, in the biggest series, there has ever been since its start in 2008. With 2017’s edition culminating with Sunday’s rugby union, a blockbuster final day.
It looked to be the dream start for the Trent army after the opening fixture of rugby league at Lady Bay, the men in pink claiming the opening win, beating UoN 22-18.
Not only was it the first point on the scoreboard for Nottingham Trent, but it was the first time Trent had won the opening Varsity point since 2013. Captain Matt Ross and President Dan Horschover were delighted with NTU’s early win and hardened performance.
The University of Nottingham has traditionally got off to a commanding start in the series, winning the last six by at least 3 points. This year saw a repeat as they were victorious at the men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s futsal, women’s lacrosse the UoN Super Wednesday, netball, water polo, men’s and women’s hockey, women’s basketball, NTU Super Wednesday and women’s rugby union.
However, Trent turned the tide and outplayed their opponents when it came to the big games, taking place at famous sporting locations across Nottingham. Such as the Football fixture at Meadow Lane, Harvey Hadden hosting the American Football and the Motorpoint Arena hosting the Ice Hockey.
Nottingham Trent’s progression in sporting achievements over the last few campaigns has improved their competitive spirit and seen the Varsity scoreline become narrower each year. Partly due to NTU climbing as high as 13th in the BUCS rankings this year, a new high, accumulating a 47% win rate this season with 401 wins.
The series took a different format this year with the sporting contest split across two separate weeks instead of the typical single block of fixtures that we have been previously used to. It all kicked off on Saturday 25th March.
“There’s always sports that can go one way or the other. It’s just about whether on the day it falls in your favour”.
Matt Nicholson, vp sport, nottingham trent
After two wins for UoN in the Volleyball at Clifton Campus it saw Nottingham regain ground quickly to lead 2-1. After a 0-0 draw in the Women’s Futsal match at the David Ross Sports Village, it took the heroics of Kayla Kret to bring back a 2-1 penalty shoot-out win for another UoN point.
— Trent TV Sport (@Trent_TVSport) March 27, 2017
By halftime in the series, the Green and Golds went into the Easter break leading 5-4, after the superb play from NTU Ice Hockey, with Joe Aston scoring a hat-trick on the night. The fixture at Motorpoint Arena saw 7,000 fans packed into the venue to witness a blockbuster 5-4 win for the Trent Army. The highlight fixture did not disappoint as it saw a flurry of goals in the second quarter with UoN pulling it back through American Scholar Luke Watson.
— UoN Sport (@UoNSport) March 30, 2017
As the second week resumed it was all over for Trent, the Super Wednesday held on Trent turf then saw the University of Nottingham retain the Varsity series at 11-5 with an 8-2 victory on the day.
2016/17 VP of Sport for NTSU, Matt Nicholson, still has a positive mindset for the continuation of Super Wednesday’s, seeing them as the only way to get more sports teams involved in one of the biggest varsities in the country.
Winning crucial sports such as wheelchair basketball, tennis, golf, and horseball. Just one more point was needed to clinch and officially win the series, but after two defeats at Meadow Lane for the football fixture, NTU’s women winning 1-0 and men beating UoN 2-0, saw celebrations delayed until the Rugby Union and final day of the series.
The winning moment came when UoN women’s rugby team officially claimed the 2017 Varsity series on Sunday, taking the University of Nottingham’s total to the winning 12 point mark, with a 21-7 victory at Lady Bay. The men’s team were unfortunately defeated 34-13, bringing the overall score at 12-9.