Varsity 2015: Weekend roundup

TIM/TEAM Aber lost Varsity for the first time in two years in what ended up being a nine-fixture swing. This year’s event took place at Bangor University following the redeveloping of their sports facilities, mainly Canolfan Brailsford, over the past couple of years. Canolfan Brailsford, the new sports centre, contains a variety of facilities under two roofs including a new £500,000 dome for netball and tennis, a brand new free-weights and cardio gym and a new floor in the sports hall. The investment has cost Bangor University £2.5 million.

A capacity crowd at Bangor's Bookpeople Stadium

A capacity crowd at Bangor’s Bookpeople Stadium Photo – Rebecca James

Over 500 TimAber student-athletes headed up north on Saturday on 10 buses in the knowledge that the Bangor-Aberystwyth Varsity has never been won by an away team. History was against them, but all the students showed pride with sweat and even tears in some cases. Bangor finished above Aberystwyth in the overall BUCS Points table, Bangor in 65th position with 428 points and Aberystwyth in 68th place 397.5 BUCS Score points. In the past two years Aberystwyth have been above Bangor going into Varsity, so we maybe should have seen the overall defeat coming.

The day started with the Men’s Hockey 2nd XI fixture, played on a newly laid Astroturf pitch, which lacked the bumpy, holey, dangerous character of its Aberystwyth equivalent. AUMHC led by James Gray claiming a win on penalty flicks, their 1st XI would go on to win also. Basketball started at 2pm and was played at the new sports hall with a large Bangor University crest prominent in the centre circle while the stands and viewing platform were packed with both purple and green coloured tops. Aberystwyth winning the Men’s fixture despite a tense final quarter, but losing out in the Women’s fixture, keep in mind that Bangor’s Women Basketball team finished their season as ne BUCS’ best Women’s Basketball team outside of BUCS Premier. The atmosphere created in the Hall was improved during the intervals with a live DJ blaring out music, which gave the event the feeling it deserved – and it was made even sweeter as Aberystwyth Men’s team managed to claim a win.

The Netball fixtures were played in the dome, the 1sts dominating Aberystwyth, club President Lucy Purser and club captain Sophie Stainton stood out, whilst the 2nd team lost by 2 points. Men’s Lacrosse faced a tough time with the referee but managed a late 9-goal surge in their second half, Luke Hamilton leading from the front, whilst Women’s Lacrosse were defeated too. Women’s Rugby carried on their good BUCS form to claim a win. Tarannau sweeped the board, both in Cheerleading and American Football. Tennis was disappointing and Table Tennis was lost 17-0. Women’s Football was taken by Bangor, played on a full-size 3G surface, partly funded by local Welsh Premier League team Bangor City F.C. and the University, whilst Men’s Football was played at Bangor City’s Bookpeople Stadium. The main event of the day was won on penalties by the home side after a 2-all full-time score, Chris Warden and Tom Sparks stand-out performers for AUFC as they came back from 2-0 down. Despite no Men’s Rugby Union, the TimAberTeam spirit was highlighted as members of the club played other sports, like Lacrosse or Athletics and even helping Waterpolo to an easy 22-0 win over their North Wales rivals.

Here are the overall official results for Varsity 2015:

Archery 3-2
Athletics 138 115
American Football 14 24
Badminton Men 2nd 8 0
Badminton Women 1st 5 3
Badminton Men 1st 5 3
Basketball Men 52 64
Basketball Women 64 29
Cheerleading 0 3
Climbing (Indoor) W
Cricket (outdoor) Draw
Dance 680.5 782
Fencing Men 108 135
Fencing Women 134 97
Football Women 1st 3 1
Football Men 1st 2 (4) 2 (3)
Golf 2.5 5.5
Hockey Men 2nd 0 (4) 0 (5)
Hockey Women 2nd 3 0
Hockey Men 1st 4 2
Hockey Women 1st 2 0
Lacrosse Men 12 9
Lacrosse Women 11 5
Mountain Biking W
Netball 1st 20 46
Netball 2nd 27 25
Octopush 0 15
Riding W  W
Rowing (Indoor) W
Rugby Union Men W
Rugby Union Women 19 25
Sailing 1 0
Squash Men 4 1
Swimming 60 27.5
Table Tennis 17 0
Tennis Men 8 2
Tennis Women 5 3
Triathlon W
Ultimate Frisbee Mixed 17 2
Water Polo Men 0 22

To see Canolfan Brailsford made the two and a half hour journey worthwhile; facilities fit for committed student athletes should be a given at any further education establishment, and personally I welcome the intent shown by the Student’s Union with the Open Letter sent to the University’s Council, but these qualms and worries have been present for a while and have been voiced by students and sports clubs throughout the year.  Varsity will be in Bangor once again next year, a better performance is needed, but more financial investment in sport at Aberystwyth is needed before we see results we can be proud of.

Look out for the special edition Varsity Courier – out on Friday!