It’s that glorious green and golden time of year again. Students from across University Park, Lenton, Jubilee and Sutton Bonington will travel in their hoards to watch the University of Nottingham try to overcome their bitter rivals Nottingham Trent (NTU) in the 13th year of the Nottingham Varsity Series.
Hundreds of UoN students will battle it out against NTU in 31 different sports between 25th March and 14th May. With a new split-series format either side of the Easter break this year, more matches on offer than ever before and new sporting venues to play in, there was much to discuss prior to Saturday’s Rugby League Varsity curtain raiser with Students’ Union Sports Officer, Lauren Heria.
Impact: What was the reason for splitting this year’s series?
Lauren: The way we split the series this year has enabled people to go and watch headline events (e.g ice hockey and futsal) during the evenings and watch every event across the two week period if they want to. It will also allow for an enhanced media coverage.
Impact: Will there be any difficulties as regards to retaining supporters’ interest in the series after the Easter break?
Lauren: It could potentially be a challenge, but the way we have organised the events this year will ensure a closer level of competition between us and Trent, so hopefully that will retain the interest when students come back after Easter. Also, clubs have been unbelievably good so far at promoting their own events, and we’ll have highlights to show off from the first week of action over the Easter break.
— UoN Students' Union (@UoNSU) March 23, 2017
“Having David Ross this year is very exciting and provides a fantastic venue for numerous sports throughout the series”
Impact: The BUCS season has come to an end very close to the start of the Varsity Series, do you think some teams could encounter issues with the two competitions being so close together?
Lauren: It’s been a fantastic year for UoN Sport throughout the campaign and all teams can definitely carry that momentum into the Varsity Series. UoN Rugby League, for example, had their BUCS Big Wednesday win on Wednesday against the University of Bath, have their Varsity match on Saturday and an end of season play-off a few weeks later.
It means teams like these can retain an optimum level of fitness ahead of the series and can enjoy having their end of season fixtures in one block.
Impact: What prompted Futsal’s move from Jubilee Campus to the David Ross Sports Village, as well as American Football’s move to Harvey Hadden?
Lauren: For the Varsity committee, its a case of finding the best venues every year for students to play in which explains why matches are held at Meadow Lane and the Motorpoint Arena. Having David Ross this year is very exciting and provides a fantastic venue for numerous sports throughout the series. For Futsal, it will give the match that arena feel with increased capacity and seating, as well as increased media coverage with the bleachers box.
For American Football, the Nottingham Caesars, the official Nottingham american football team, play their matches there. It’s got the correct markings and posts and is just the most suitable facility. The match drew in around 1000+ supporters last year and were looking at similar numbers this time around.
“The SU hopes that players and supporters enjoy the fixture in the correct spirit of competitiveness and of sportsmanship”
?? vs @UoNFutsal
? Monday 27th
? WOMENS 5PM MENS 7:30KO
? David Ross Sports Centre @ UON
What's gunna happen this year? pic.twitter.com/QPdbfcDy8Y
— NTU Futsal (@NTU_Futsal) March 23, 2017
Impact: With the waterborne events, water polo has been moved to its own event while swimming has been merged in to the ‘Super Wednesday’ programme. Why did this change occur?
Lauren: Water polo was very popular last year; it drew in a sell-out crowd and it was a really close contest between us and Trent. While we have a great swimming club here at the University, it has been a very one-sided contest between us and Trent for many years, so we thought it was best to merge it with the Super Wednesday event. We envisage DRSV as a real hub for Super Wednesday, so swimming will hopefully get an increased support too this year.
Impact: What do you hope that all students get out of the series?
Lauren: The SU hopes that players and supporters enjoy the fixture in the correct spirit of competitiveness and of sportsmanship. The series is a celebration of sport in Nottingham, and with the level of competition, fantastic venues and standard of sport on offer, it definitely achieves that. There’s something for everybody to enjoy!
— UoN Students' Union (@UoNSU) March 24, 2017
Follow the progress of all teams in the Varsity series on Twitter @ImpactVarsity17 and check out Impact Sport online. For a full list of fixtures and times visit the Students’ Union website’s Varsity section.
Image courtesy of Virginia Moore for Impact Images