Varsity: Newcastle beat Northumbria in first win since 2013

Newcastle University were triumphant on the cross-city rivalry's return

Peter Bath
9th May 2022
Image: Jack Train
Team Newcastle came out victorious in the revived inter-university sports competition on 27th April, finishing with a total of 60.75 points to Northumbria's 50.25.

The hotly contested tournament played out in 33 sporting events across the city, from athletics to dodgeball and everything in between.

Newcastle were defeated in their first three events earlier in the week, Athletics and two cricket matches, but pulled it back when the bulk of the action kicked off with a 36-7 rugby union win on Tuesday night.

YouTube: @NUTV

A busy Wednesday saw mixed results for Newcastle. Men's football lost two and drew one, while 12 of Newcastle's 60.75 points came from hockey, Newcastle's teams winning all four matches.

It was late in the day before a Newcastle victory was mathematically assured, but a 5-0 drubbing by Northumbria in the Men's 1st team football finale couldn't stop Team Newcastle walking away with the trophy.

Fergus Mainland, Newcastle's AU Officer, commented: "It was a brilliant couple of days of sport and great to see everyone out competing. It’s been a lot of hard work from both unis but I can’t wait to see it grow next year."

This was Newcastle's first victory in the competition since 2013, after a three year hiatus and five consecutive Northumbria victories prior to that.

The competition's previous iteration, the Stan Calvert Memorial Cup, lasted for 25 years from 1994 to 2019. Newcastle had the upper-hand overall, winning thirteen times. Northumbria came out on top ten years, with two ending in draws.

The Stan Calvert Cup was controversially cancelled in 2019 after Newcastle's withdrawal. Explanations included declining interest from student sports clubs and a reduction in Northumbria's BUCS participation. Then Athletic Union Officer, Maggie Elstob told the Courier that consultations with clubs suggested little interest in the competition at the time, and "I’m not going to make students do something that they don’t want to do. "

Elstob pointed out that the book wasn't necessarily closed on Varsity if demand returned, continuing "It’s completely up to next year’s AU Officer and the year after’s what direction they want to take it." While it ultimately proved to be the year after that, 2022 saw Varsity finally return, and with a welcome victory for Newcastle University.

Hopefully success will breed enthusiasm for Varsity in the Newcastle student community, with many more competitions (and many more Newcastle wins) to come.

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