Stan Calvert heartbreak: Northumbria win fourth consecutive varsity title

Written by Sport, Stan Calvert

Newcastle were found wanting on Super Sunday, as Northumbria sealed their fourth trophy in as many years with a nail-biting win in the futsal.

The omens had not been great for Newcastle leading into the day’s action. After Winning Wednesday, we went through Terrible Thursday and Solemn Saturday, as Newcastle lost all of their fixtures. Whilst in some of those ties we were underdogs, we also missed the ball in hockey and cricket, two events that we really needed to pick up points in.

This morning’s action kicked off at the Northumberland Club, where we saw Newcastle’s women’s teams valiantly battle with Northumbria. Despite their spirited efforts, Northumbria were named worthy winners, and it much the same for the men later that afternoon.

From the uppermost point of Jesmond, we travelled to Gateshead International Stadium. There we saw NUAXC in action, picking up deserved wins in the 60m, 1500m and 4x400m relay, but ultimately being overcome by Northumbria’s scholarship schemes.

Defeats in the golf, football and badminton were all forgotten about as our heroic women’s rugby sides battled it out at Heaton. Though the 1s lost, the 2s provided us with a fantastic entertainment, as they took apart their opposition to win 52-10.

Similarly positive news was emerging from Benfield throughout the day. Our fencers, who unexpectedly lost last year, redeemed themselves with an emphatic victory over the old enemy. The women and men won 135-42 and 135-50 respectively.

Surely the scoreline calls for a reconsideration of the sports involved

Our brilliant women’s badminton team also continued their fantastic form this season, winning 3-2 in difficult circumstances, whilst our squash sides lived up to their premier reputation, sealing two wins from two in their fixtures.

Over in Sport Central, joining the squash club in their great results, were the table tennis teams that were in action. The club won four from four fixtures, bringing home a lovely eight points to add to the total that Newcastle had managed to accumulate so far.

One team that we could rely on, no matter the other results, was our Newcastle Ultimate team. Led by Ivan Mladjenovic, and orchestrated by Chris de Leeuwe, the Pies blended youth and experience to come away from Coach Lane with another solid performance and a 100% Stan Calvert win ratio.

Our women’s lacrosse team enjoyed similar success. The favourites drummed their opposition 19-5, but the men could not repeat such an emphatic performance. Having beaten this Northumbria side twice this year, NULAX looked almost certain to seal the two points. Unfortunately, the lacrosse side that we’re used to seeing didn’t turn up, and the underdogs brought the two points home with a 6-3 victory.

As expected, our 1s and 2s netball sides lost to their respective Northumbria counterparts, but Newcastle’s magnificent 3s were triumphant, as a 46-25 scoreline reflected their dominance. Staying in Sport Central, we saw brave but ultimately fruitless performances from our remaining basketball teams, as Northumbria collected another six points.

To wrap up Super Sunday, we were presented with the futsal. Having expected to be trounced in all our fixtures, I think I speak for all Newcastle fans to say that they did us proud. Our 2s, led by NUAFC stars Olly Walker and Pete Mairs, raced into a 4-1 lead, but were punished for not being clinical enough in front of goal, as the game ended in a 4-4 draw.

consecutive Stan Calvert wins for Northumbria

To close the varsity, this year’s masterpiece was conducted by the men’s futsal 1s. Both Northumbria and Newcastle looked like quality outfits, and were evenly matched on the balance of play. In the first half, Newcastle created more chances, but were penalised for their more physical play.

In the second, Newcastle looked to be out of it at 6-3 down, but utilisation of the rush keeper tactic gave Newcastle a glimmer of hope. Newcastle’s No.1 set up one goal and bagged another, and given one more minute, could well of drawn his team level.

At the final whistle there were jubilant celebrations from the rowdy Northumbria support. Col Stromsoy gave every single person within reach a celebratory fist bump, and Emily Watkinson lifted the trophy.

We all know that there is such thing as sore losers, of which I can definitively categorise myself, but this was certainly a case of sore winners. Northumbria knew they were going to win this year from a very early stage, and have tailored the competition for years to make this the case.

Having made their position clear that they no longer prioritise Stan Calvert, should Newcastle still humour such a competition? It’s a fantastic event to be involved in, for competitors and supporters alike, but there needs to be a far wider extension of the sports and teams included for the competition for it to have a worthwhile future.

Though Northumbria are wholeheartedly worth every point of their victory, surely the scoreline calls for a reconsideration of the sports involved. We all want Stan Calvert to be a proper contest, and for that, Stan Calvert needs a serious change.

TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT: W2 Rugby Union

Last modified: 8th February 2019

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