Varsity 2015 Series Preview

20th April 2015

Two years ago one of URN’s taglines for Varsity was “it’s live, it’s unscripted, and it’s happening now”. You could be forgiven for questioning the middle one.

When the outcome of last year’s entire series depended on the final event, cricket, and when the outcome of the cricket match depended on the final ball, you have to hold your hands up and say that that is probably an unmatchable climax to a Nottingham Varsity series.

But while Varsity 2015 may not finish as dramatically, it is certain to build up just as much of a buzz.

This year the series has undergone a major change, with all but one event condensed into a 10-day period, as opposed to spreading the competition out over the course of 5 months.

It means that this year, Varsity will be the word on the lips of every sports fanatic at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent during the period between the Easter holidays and exam season.

Looking at the form books, UoN should have every confidence of making it four Varsity series wins in a row.

The University’s sports scene is growing and improving year-on-year, and this year Nottingham are 3rd in the BUCS standings overall, with Nottingham Trent in 17th.

There are also more than a few Varsity sports in which the statistics would firmly suggest green and gold triumphs. The men’s basketball team had a better season than their Trent counterparts and at one level higher, while the women’s basketball side also had a superior season to NTU’s by winning a league and cup double.

In the new addition to the Varsity calendar that is dodgeball, UoN operate in a higher division and can’t recall losing to Trent before. Volleyball might also prove to be a beneficial addition to the schedule from a Nottingham University point of view. The men’s and women’s sides are both confident. They both play a league above Trent, but the women still matched their local rivals’ win/loss ratio, and the men surpassed it with a great league-winning season.

The hockey club are also seeking to chalk up two Varsity points for Uni as they have done in the previous two series. Again, both the men’s and women’s teams compete at a higher level in BUCS than Nottingham Trent. Finally, the University of Nottingham has an unblemished Varsity swimming record and are huge favourites to win that point.

With a record number of 21 events (across 15 sports), 11 wins are required to retain the Varsity crown. The aforementioned sports mean that UoN must be regarded as strong favourites for at least 8 Varsity points. While that obviously wouldn’t be enough, it’s more than the number of events for which Nottingham Trent could easily be regarded as clear frontrunners.

The two futsal events, the table tennis, the men’s and women’s rugby union and the ice hockey are all events that could go easily go either way, and UoN should be confident in both the cricket and lacrosse fixtures too.

That provides the University of Nottingham with plenty of realistic chances to secure the extra points they’ll need.

The only problem is that sport isn’t played on paper. No Varsity fixture is without its edge, and when every team in the series has trained so hard and prepared so much for their respective event, it would be foolish to be complacent. Upsets happen in sport. It’s that very fact that attracts us to it.

So while nothing can be taken for granted, the green and gold army can go into the battle of April and May 2015 excited and confident in itself. That confidence will be all the more with vocal crowds of UoN students lending their support, so snap up your tickets from, and get ready to play your part in a series that is perfectly placed to capture the imagination of Nottingham’s students.

VARSITY SCORE PREDICTION: 13-8 to the University of Nottingham

Patrick Hildred