Nottingham 26 – 43 Trent
Netball varsity was eagerly anticipated this year, and after a bombardment of Facebook messages, radio appearances and promotional videos a close match was expected. With an interesting selection of motivational tunes pumping, the girls began a complex warm-up routine that saw the starting goalkeeper, Dani McColl, injured before the match had even begun. Unfortunately this was an indication of things to come.
After a last-minute shuffle amongst the defence it was a very close first quarter of play with our girls coming off only two down, 12-10, to Trent. Nottingham swiftly sprang back with a vengeance to bring the score level; however, bad luck struck again. Only minutes into the second quarter a key centre court player, Emily Staite, was carried off with a sprained ankle. At a crucial juncture in the game the second injury was too much for the Nottingham side, which failed to score again after this loss. By half time Trent had pulled away with a 21-15 lead.
Trent played to their strengths, their goal attack making effective drives into the circle and barely missing a shot. The final quarter of the match saw Trent put up a shot in the dying seconds to make the final score a disappointing 43-26. Vice Captain Charlotte Cousins gave her thoughts in the aftermath: “Until today injuries had been pretty rare this year and we were effectively missing 3 starting players. This time luck was on Trent’s side, but on any other day it could easily have been our game.”
Men’s: Nottingham 48 – 61 Trent
Women’s: Nottingham 58 – 50 Trent
There were a lot of positive expectations in the build up to the women’s basketball match, as Nottingham had previously beaten Trent in both their season fixtures. Both teams went into the match with great intensity and determination, and the scores were level by both the first quarter and at half time. Going into the final quarter Nottingham were down by one point but the team showed fighting spirit, scoring a further four baskets in the last 2 minutes whilst Trent failed to score a single point. At the final buzzer, Nottingham had successfully retained their unbeaten record, with a courageous 58-50 victory.
After beating Trent in last year’s varsity game, the men’s side were under a lot of pressure to hold onto the title. Their season has been a shaky one, but with a few wins under their collective belt the men’s team felt confident that they wouldn’t go down without a fight. This was certainly the case, as although Trent initially appeared the stronger side Nottingham played hard, keeping the score dead level up to the half time whistle. But after sustaining an injury to one of their starting five players, Nottingham failed to keep up the intensity of the first half, and Trent utilised this by pushing the point difference further apart with some spectacular 3-pointers to gain a 61-48 victory.
Men’s: Nottingham 1 – 2 Trent
Women’s: Nottingham 0 – 0 Trent
In a hard-fought affair at Meadow Lane, Trent edged out their opponents in a 2-1 victory. Trent struck first with half time fast approaching as a handling error from the Nottingham keeper presented Trent with an unmissable opening. However there was barely time to grumble about this misfortune as within minutes Nottingham were level. Trent defenders failed to clear a free kick into the box and centre back Alex Martin duly slammed home the loose ball into the roof of the net.
The game looked impossible to call at half time and continued to ebb and flow thereafter with Nottingham coming close with a couple of decent long range efforts. In such a tight game, one always had the suspicion that it would either be decided by a moment of brilliance or an individual error. The winner proved to be a mixture of both as the Nottingham keeper rushed off his line, presenting substitute Richard Atkins with plenty of the goal to aim at. Atkins still had a lot to do however and executed an excellently controlled lob over the stranded goalie.
Nottingham seemed deflated by the goal and was ultimately unable to get the equalizer that perhaps their tireless efforts deserved.
The ladies’ match proved even tighter with neither side able to make the breakthrough in a tight 0-0 affair. Trent certainly had the best chances of the game as they were presented with two penalties but amazingly were unable to convert either.
Men’s: Nottingham 13 – 13 Trent
Women’s: Nottingham 15 – 0 Trent
A close affair was anticipated at Meadow Lane as Trent had gained promotion to the top league during the regular season, so they were intent on proving their worth against an accomplished top league side in Nottingham Uni. Little however could prepare the 4,000-strong crowd for the drama that would follow.
As half-time approached, Nottingham had a narrow 3-0 lead and were handed a huge advantage when a vicious punch by the Trent flanker at the edge of a ruck saw Trent reduced to 14 men. From the ensuing penalty a late hit on the Nottingham captain, Rob Springall, saw Trent reduced to 13 men as their centre was put in the sin bin.
At the start of the second half, Nottingham took advantage of the extra numbers and Will Dias scored a fantastic try under the posts after a free-flowing passing move. Yet Trent rallied, and, after scoring a penalty, soon levelled the scores with a try in the corner. Three minutes later Trent took the lead with a penalty making it 13-10, setting up a dramatic finale.
The final ten minutes saw Nottingham bombard Trent and come painfully close to scoring a try. Eventually they had to settle for a penalty and Oli Pointon knocked over the kick, causing the Nottingham fans to erupt and ensure a final score of 13-13.
The Women’s Rugby was more straight-forward with Nottingham winning 15-0. All three tries were scored by forwards as Trent proved unable to contain the superior Uni pack.
Chris Forrest and William Murrills
Men’s: Nottingham 3 – 3 Trent
Women’s: Nottingham 5 – 1 Trent
With the lower teams all securing victories in a day packed full of hockey, the Girls 1st XI took to the field with expectations high and, fortunately, did not disappoint. The scoring began when standout performer Sara-Jo Coakley struck goal wards, allowing for a telling deflection from Beth Golding. Nottingham added to the lead making their short corners count, with the second and third goals coming from Holly Gillot and Abi Harper respectively. Further goals from Laura Simpson and a second for Gillot left Nottingham triumphant by a scoreline of 5-1. Captain, and recently-crowned AU Sportswoman of the year, Emma Pardo said: “The win was definitely deserved and it was a great way to end the season.”
In a tighter and harder-fought contest, the Boys 1st XI took on a star-studded Trent side. Yet Nottingham never looked out of their depth, and broke the deadlock claiming a 1-0 lead through fresher and captain-elect William Lobo. After Trent equalised, Nottingham were awarded a penalty flick, allowing international Nick Catlin to put them 2-1 up. A second equaliser from Trent prompted top-scorer Ben Apperly to score a third from a short corner and left Nottingham on the brink of victory. With 2 minutes remaining, however, Trent broke Nottingham hearts with an excellent equaliser and the game ended at 3-3. “It was a fair result,” captain Dan Fox reflected, “we all worked hard and it was one of the best performances of the season… We’re just a bit gutted to have not held out.” Goalkeeper George Pinner was outstanding, making a number of very important saves, and centre-back Andrew Birch also had a great game.
Nottingham beat Trent by six wickets
The final event of the 2009 Varsity Series saw the University of Nottingham claim a resounding 7-wicket victory over Nottingham Trent in a 20/20 match.
On a blustery day at Highfields it was Nottingham that got off to the better start, Max Harris and captain James Lever taking early wickets to reduce the opposition to 13-2. A period of slow run-scoring followed as Trent attempted to rebuild and the halfway stage saw their innings interestingly poised at 65-2. However, any hopes of posting a big score were dashed by the spin trio of Vish Bhardwa, Zubin Faisal, and Alex Fullarton who, aided by some magnificent glovework from wicketkeeper Robin Fern, tore through the Trent batting line up to leave them with a total of just 99. Special mention must also go to Thish Wanigaratne who managed to cling on to a superb catch fielding in the deep, despite completing a full somersault after being scythed down by a teammate!
The Nottingham innings got off to a poor start with the loss of an early wicket but an outstanding knock from Ryan Cleary took the game away from the visitors. An array of drives, cuts and leg-side flicks saw Cleary finish unbeaten on 53 after guiding Nottingham to an emphatic victory with 2 overs remaining. Such an innings merited the man-of-the-match award, but the performance of the day surely went to Nav’s epic work at the DJ booth.