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Stirling x St. Andrews Varsity hailed success despite defeat

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The inaugural Varsity event between the University of Stirling and the University of St. Andrews took place on March 30 with the Saints emerging victorious 37-25.   

Stirling Sports Union President Sophie Charlton and St. Andrews Athletic Union President Jess Smith organised the event which saw over 600 competitors compete in 21 fixtures across the two campuses.

Charlton hopes that she has laid the foundations for further Varsity competitions in the future. She said: “When me and the Athletic Union President Jess started to arrange it, we didn’t want to arrange it as a one-off event we wanted there to be longevity to it, so if there was somebody who wanted to continue it next year they could.

“If Murray Bushell, who is next year’s sports president, does want to that would be fantastic!

“Hopefully it is something that next year’s presidents do want to continue but if not it was a good event for a one-off as it was.”

Sports teams would claim three points for their respective Universities for a win, one for a draw and zero for a defeat. The results of all fixtures would combine to crown an overall winner.

Stirling won eight fixtures throughout the day. The men’s hockey, women’s hockey, handball, table tennis, tennis, badminton 1’s, badminton 2’s and ultimate frisbee teams all emerged victorious while the women’s football 3’s match ended in a draw.

Stirling ended the day with 25 points which was not enough for victory as St. Andrews finished the day with 12 wins and 37 points.  

Stirling Futsal Team v St. Andrews – Image Credit: Zoe Watt

Despite the defeat Charlton considers the day a great success, she said: “I’m just really proud of how it went overall. We had over 600 athletes, 2 campuses, 2 Universities, and 21 fixtures across the day.

“Yes, perhaps we didn’t come out with the win in the end, but at the end of the day when I was down watching all of the sports and seeing everyone competing there was such a good atmosphere. There was something extra compared to a usual BUCS Wednesday.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, as expected with an event on this scale, some teething issues emerged. Charlton said: “Don’t get me wrong there were some hiccups along the way in terms of umpires pulling out or players getting Covid last-minute or perhaps some fixtures that we didn’t think would happen had to get added on or change venue.

“A lot was going on that week beforehand, and it was hectic but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a big event with over 600 students between two campuses.

“I don’t think there is much else we could have done. Hopefully those foundations are there, if people enjoy it, they understand why they’re competing. Hopefully there is a base to build upon in future.”

Additionally there was an opportunity to donate to Ukraine throughout the day. The idea suggested by St. Andrews used the event as an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the cause. Charlton said: “It was definitely a bonus and it’s these bonuses that we would look to develop in future years.

“I appreciate that we did not come out with the win, but it was very close in the end.

“A lot of the fixtures only had 1 or 2 goals in it so it could have gone either way. I think it was really competitive.

“I know myself and Jess wanted to have a good matchup of teams – we didn’t want it to be a whitewash, we wanted it to be competitive with good, fun fixtures.

“The hockey and the football teams were able to field their 3’s their 4’s their 5’s and even their 6’s as well – so that was awesome as a lot of those teams don’t get regular fixtures so we were able to give them another opportunity to compete, and people could come down and cheer for them.

“It was a successful day overall, a few hiccups but nothing that you can’t improve upon in future.”

Feature Image Credit: Zoe Watt

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