A nail-biting netball victory in front of a noisy 800-strong crowd provided a fitting conclusion to an outstanding day of student sport as the University of Bath won their inaugural Varsity match against Cardiff Metropolitan University.
The University’s netball team, featuring three players with Superleague experience, rallied from ten-goals down at half-time to win 51-49 and secure an overall victory for the delighted hosts.
There was an equally dramatic finish to the men’s rugby match as a penalty from behind the halfway line in the last minute edged Bath to a thrilling 20-19 success.
That match was watched by 1,000 spectators as students turned out in force throughout the day to watch Bath take on Cardiff in four sports – rugby, netball, football and hockey.
Cardiff Met started the day strongly, winning 3-0 in the women’s football and 36-5 in the women’s rugby, but Bath hit back with impressive wins in the hockey – 8-2 to the women and 6-3 to the men.
Victory in the men’s rugby edged Bath into an outright lead for the first time and they maintained that narrow advantage with a 1-1 draw in the men’s football, which was refereed by Premier League official Lee Probert – he also took charge of the 2014 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City.
That meant the destination of the inaugural Varsity trophy all came down to the netball and it looked like it might be shared when Cardiff Met built up a big lead, only for Bath to turn it around in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
Holly Clemens, Students’ Union Sport Officer, said: “It was an outstanding match and the atmosphere was absolutely incredible, there was a real buzz on campus throughout the day with big crowds for all of the games.
“It was a great day all round and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from students, staff and our friends at Cardiff Met.”
The Varsity will become an annual contest, with Cardiff Met hosting next year’s event.
Clemens added: “This is just the start of a continued relationship between us and Cardiff Met, and we’re looking forward to plenty more friendly rivalry over the years.”
SU Sport would like to thank local coach company Berkeley Coach and Travel who sponsored the Varsity event and support the student sports teams throughout the season.