UPSU reclaim the Varsity championship

Article by Kurt Withey, third-year BA Hons English student.

Plymouth University's Students’ Union (UPSU) have achieved great success in the annual Varsity sports championship beating University of Mark and St John.

UPSU’s victory is their fourth in a row, as the two rival universities now meet with an overall of six victories each in modern day Varsity.

The annual sporting event between Plymouth’s two universities took place this March, with 19 matches over 13 different disciplines. Hosting over 500 student athletes, the competition once again proved to be exceedingly close, with the final score of 22 points to 18 in Plymouth University's favour.

The annual sports event sees Plymouth go head-to-head with the University of St Mark & St John (Marjon), allowing both local universities to showcase their brightest sporting talent. Organised by UPSU Sports department and Marjon, Varsity is the biggest student sports event of the year in the city, involving thousands of students both taking part and supporting.

Originating as a challenge between the two universities' men’s rugby teams to raise money for charity, Varsity is steeped in history. Over the years the sporting programme has grown to feature 13 sports and around 500 students from each institution competing for the highly coveted Varsity trophy.

Each year, the event produces a great financial contribution to local charities chosen by the students, with over £100,000 raised to-date. Contributions through ticket sales and donations are greatly appreciated, and this year the competition is hoping to raise over £10,000 for charity, which will be divided between Broadreach House, and Teenage Cancer Trust – Murphmania. Broadreach House is an innovative and dynamic registered charity, offering treatment and support services for men and women whose lives have been adversely affected by addiction. Murphmania was started by Ben Murphy to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. Teammate, student and friend; Ben was sadly taken from us this year, but not before inspiring hundreds, even thousands of people with his courage, humour and strength against such adversity.

Ruth Titmuss, UPSU President, said: 

"Varsity 2016 has been incredible! We have seen excellent sportsmanship and amazing skill from the UPSU teams with great student support to keep the teams' spirits high. The added addition of the joint Out in Sport campaign this year was a great show of comradery between Plymouth and Marjon and though we were closely challenged by Marjon, at the end of the competition there can only be one winner. 

"I am absolutely thrilled that Plymouth took home the Varsity Cup once again and want to thank all the players for being so fantastic! The competition has also managed to raise lots of money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, this year's Varsity Charity. Come along to the Varsity Cheque Presentation to find out how much."

University of St Mark and St John offered a commendable battle, as halfway through the week, the university succeeded in winning four out of six matches. During a big Wednesday of sport UPSU managed to claim the lead in the championship by winning seven out of the nine matches on that day. It all came down to the last day where both institutions' first football teams took to the Plymouth Argyle pitch. It was at the last match of the championship where UPSU where able to secure the championship through penalties.

Full scores:

  • Indoor cricket: Marjon 58 for 4 v UPSU 60 for 1
  • Women’s water polo: Marjon 16 v UPSU 8
  • Women’s futsal: Marjon 4 v UPSU 0
  • Men’s rugby 2: Marjon 8 v UPSU 20
  • Women’s rugby: Marjon 11 v UPSU 8
  • Men’s rugby 1: Marjon 10 v UPSU 6
  • Men’s tennis: Marjon 2 v UPSU 10
  • Women’s tennis: Marjon 8 v UPSU 4
  • Mixed volleyball: Marjon 3 v UPSU 2
  • Men’s hockey: Marjon 1 v UPSU 5
  • American flag: Marjon 19 v UPSU 13
  • Women’s hockey: Marjon 0 v UPSU 5
  • Women’s lacrosse: Marjon 11 v UPSU 17
  • Men’s basketball: Marjon 65 v UPSU 88
  • Men’s football 3: Marjon 0 v UPSU 3
  • Men’s football 2: Marjon 2 v UPSU 3
  • Men’s lacrosse: Marjon 13 v UPSU 7
  • Netball: Marjon 20 v UPSU 26
  • Women’s football: Marjon 2 v UPSU 0
  • Men’s football: Marjon 1 (1 pen) v UPSU 1 (4 pen)