The historic Stan Calvert Varsity which sees Newcastle University take on Northumbria University will not be taking place for the first time in a quarter of a century.
The decision, which follows a summer of largescale reductions in sport funding at Northumbria University, was made earlier this week and was confirmed to The Courier by Newcastle University Students Union Athletics Union Officer Maggie Elstob. The competition has become increasingly difficult to organise in recent years, with 2018 seeing the first and last games taking place 4 weeks apart. The separation in games, in addition to fewer sports and teams competing drew criticism from students for reducing the atmosphere and excitement of the competition.
Maggie Elstob told Courier Sport back in May that she believed the competition needed “shaking up somehow” and admitted organizing the competition had “become a real tough one” in the wake of years of difficulties in bringing the two sides together in 10’s of different sports. Over the history of the cup Newcastle have taken home 13 victories with Northumbria taking home 10, including 5 successive wins since 2014. Newcastle saw their worst ever defeat in the competition in 2018, a fifth successive win for Team Northumbria who took home 80 points to Newcastle’s 20.
The varsity, which historically took place in December, in recent years moved to February and has been a staple of the city’s university sporting calendar. A variety of sports take place over the week with a climatic last day being a focal point, with 25 different events taking place on Sunday of the 2018 edition. However, unless an agreement can be reached, there will be no varsity event for the students of Newcastle and Northumbria in 2019.
Read the back page of the Courier from Monday the 11th of October for further insight into this decision.