Varsity sports challenge

Article written by third-year English student, Kurt Withey

The annual sporting event between University of St Mark & St John (Marjon) and Plymouth University is due to take place from 3-9 March 2016. 

This year’s Varsity holds in store 19 matches over 13 different disciplines, having grown over the last 11 years from a single rugby match between the two institutions, to a week-long competition. With over 500 student athletes competing each year, the event has raised over £100,000 for charity to date.

With a wide range of events, from indoor cricket to women’s water polo, the competition provides an opportunity for both Plymouth universities to showcase a whole spectrum of talent. This year’s competition will be the 12th year of running the modern day Varsity.

Marjon students have chosen the local charity, Broadreach House, and Plymouth University students have selected Teenage Cancer Trust – Murphmania as their chosen charity.

Rugby and football matches are open to the public: priced at £7 for each individual event, tickets provide admittance to both men’s 1st team and women’s matches. Both rugby matches are scheduled for Monday 7 March, between 6pm-9pm, and may be found at Plymouth Albion grounds. Each of the football matches are scheduled for Wednesday 9 March from 5:30pm-9pm, and may be viewed at Plymouth Argyle FC.

Marjon currently hold the lead with six years to Plymouth University’s five, so this year’s event allows Plymouth University students the opportunity to tie the overall championship to six all.

Matt Dark, Vice President of Sports at Plymouth Students’ Union, said: 

"Varsity to many people is a competition, but to us at UPSU it’s a showcase of the sporting talents between two completely different universities. This fantastic event draws a wide crowd from around Plymouth to support a wide range of sports. Varsity raises a massive amount of money for a charity chosen by the students. This year, Plymouth students have chosen a charity called Murphmania, part of the Teenage Cancer Trust, which was set up by a former student who sadly passed away over the summer. With this is mind, we will endeavour to repeat our success and bring the cup back to its rightful place."
Dan Whitby, Marjon Students’ Union representative, said: 

“Marjon has an outstanding community spirit which is why the whole University comes together to support events, with Varsity Week as the chance to really get behind the skilled and elite athletes this University is known for globally. This is another year to show that the best things come in smaller packages and our teams will yet again prove themselves against students from Plymouth University. Our chosen charity 2016 is Broadreach House, a local charity that is designed to help ex-service users and individuals with drug addictions. Broadreach House also provides mental health support which feeds into MSU’s ‘Changing Minds: Tackling the stigma of mental health’ campaign. This charity was selected by our team captains who wanted to choose a local charity where all money raised makes a big difference.”

Thursday 3 March

Friday 4 March 

Monday 7 March

Tuesday 8 March

  • Tennis 11:00-16:00 (venue: South Devon Tennis Centre)
  • Mixed volleyball* 18:00-21:00 (venue: Marjon, Sports Hall)

Wednesday 9 March

Thursday 10 March**

* Events ticketed due to capacity limitations - these may be obtained online (where a booking link is available) or via the UPSU bar and shop. NB: there is a charge for rugby and football matches - £7 each or £12 both. 
** Please note that the date for Men's football1 and Women's football has changed from 9 March; any tickets purchased for these matches will still be valid for this date.