This year’s varsity competition sees a record number of games being played on the final Sunday, so here’s two possible itineraries to help you soak in as much action as possible.
10:00am- Women’s Badminton 2’s, Sports Central
Newcastle University Badminton Club’s biggest and most hotly anticipated fixture of the year, The Stan Calvert Memorial Cup, looms just around the corner. The annual varsity event, held at Sports Central on Sunday 6th March from 10am-6pm, will be the culmination of a successful season for the club’s four teams. After training continually and tirelessly since university began way back in September, all the hard work comes down to this one remaining match.
Both the women’s 1sts and 2nds have already won their respective BUCS leagues, and will be looking to add the crown and bragging rights of a Stan Calvert victory to their year’s accomplishments. The 1st team have already bested Northumbria twice this season in their undefeated league campaign. But with the varsity match being held on Northumbrian soil, and with Northumbria’s reputation for boasting a raucous home crowd, they need as many supporters as possible to cheer them on to smash the Poly.
“Both the women’s 1sts and 2nds have already won their respective BUCS leagues, and will be looking to add the crown and bragging rights of a Stan CULVERT victory”
The Men’s teams will be looking to avenge last season’s Stan Calvert disappointment, an event in which the city’s lesser university fielded a couple of dubious players, including a former commonwealth games competitor, in their attempts to dethrone Team Newcastle. Will they call upon such ringers again this year in their attempt to retain the title? The only way to find out is by heading down to Sports Central and witnessing for yourself what is sure to be one of the most highly competitive varsity outings in recent memory.
“admission is free – and we guarantee for that price you’ll get your money’s worth”
How much will this day of racket sport entertainment set you back? Absolutely nothing; unlike the Stan Calvert Rugby or “Clash of the Titans”, admission is free – and we guarantee for that price you’ll get your money’s worth.
It would be fantastic to see as many of you Courier readers and friends and family of players down as possible to support the University in what is certain to be the most entertaining and competitive varsity match of all the action on display in this multi-sports competition.
12:30pm- Men’s & Women’s Fencing, Northumbria Sports Central
When it comes to the idiom, “I’m way out of your league” and Stan Calvert, the men and women of Team Newcastle’s fencing club certainly live up to the catchphrase. Both teams have led successful campaigns in the premier league, and with Northumbria’s own nowhere to be seen, it’s reasonable to say that the captains are looking optimistic about their chances on the 6th of March.
This season, the Men’s firsts have had an almost total team overhaul to deal with the loss of many of their ex-athletes graduating onwards and upwards. Despite this, they’ve managed to hold onto their position within the premier, a challenging task that has only been made possible by the determined efforts of Captain Matthew Grogan and his squad. More so, the Men’s sabre team stand currently undefeated, which is a fearsome accolade that should undoubtedly aid the men’s in their fight against Northumbria.
“This season, the Men’s firsts have had an almost total team overhaul to deal with the loss of many of their ex-athletes graduating onwards and upwards”
The Women’s firsts have led an equally challenging campaign in their quest for league domination. Led by captain Molly Jowsey, they’ve managed to take a very impressive 2nd place in the premier, conceded only a single loss and made their way to the cup semi-final, earning them the title of one the 4th best university teams in the country.
Currently, the only Newcastle team to have ever met a Northumbrian squad were the NCL Women’s 3rds. Twice. And each time they were able to knock them back with a comfortable ten point lead. And if that’s what the thirds could do, who knows how the NCL 1sts will get on.
“the Newcastle University Fencing Club hasn’t lost a Stan Calvert match for almost five years”
Overall, the winner of Stan Calvert is anybody’s guess. In itself, the Newcastle University Fencing Club hasn’t lost a Stan Calvert match for almost five years. With this longstanding win streak, and the 1st teams’ progress league-wise this season, it’s likely that they each have a strong chance of scoring another vital win for Team Newcastle, and with it, hopefully a chance to steal back the trophy.
4:30pm- Netball 1’s, Sports Centre
It was an unbelievable game at Stan Calvert last year, with Netball hosting the final, the first team lost out by one goal in the last few seconds, so It’s fair to say that NUNC are determined to take the victory in 2016. With an almost completely new first team squad, Newcastle have raised the bar of performance with Superleague players such as Emily Hollingworth, Jay Robinson and Hattie Grant.
Training with such strong players every week has really lifted the team’s quality of play and means that whatever happens, you will be promised a good game at Stan Calvert. Captain Georgia St Rose has done an outstanding job with the first team all season as she has worked hard to keep them motivated and working as a strong unit no matter what challenges they have faced. Not only will she do a great job leading her team on the day but she will also give her best performance in centre court as nothing is better motivation than a bit of poly-bashing.
“whatever happens, you will be promised a good game at Stan CULVERT”
Another player who is guaranteed to bring her A-game is Hollie Joyce a first year to the club who has had an absolute stormer of a season at goal attack. The whole club has been working hard with extra court and fitness sessions throughout the weeks leading up to the big game. Club Captain Laura Brady is certain that the game is going to go well and has said “recently we have been training well and we’ve got a lot of determination in the club to bring it back”.
“now that the game will be played on home turf at the sports centre, there is nothing stopping Newcastle from finally getting back the win”
It’s been a rocky season for the first team as they took a while to adjust to their very new and fresher weighted team. However countless games have proven them as a worthy team in the prem as every week they fight their hardest against the best universities in the country. This really will be a game you don’t want to miss as the Newcastle-Northumbria Netball rivalry is one of the most intense out of any of the sports you will see in Stan Calvert.
For the last three years the match has only been lost by a single point and now that the game will be played on home turf at the sports centre there is nothing stopping Newcastle from finally getting back the win. The Newcastle University Netball club prides itself on the support which it gives to its teams as every week we make sure we are there to cheer on each other’s games. And Stan Calvert will be no different, in fact the entire club is going to bring more spirit than before.
So if you want to add to the great atmosphere and see passion, sweat and poly tears head down to the sports centre at 4:30 on Sunday 6th to see Newcastle come one step closer to taking back the Stan Calvert cup.
3.00pm- Men’s Hockey, Coach Lane Sport Centre
Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated Stan Calvert matches of 2016, the Men’s Hockey clashes will see the continuation of an ongoing battle between NUMHC and Northumbria. Newcastle’s 2nd team have been tussling it out with the poly’s 1’s in BUCS league Northern 2B.
As is tradition with the varsity competition, the two 1st teams will lock horns. Newcastle’s 1’s are themselves involved in a race for promotion from Northern 1A. Their fate will be decided when they face Liverpool, just three days after the Stan Calvert fixture.
“As is tradition with the varsity competition, the two 1st teams will lock horns”
In the meantime, focus switches to Sunday’s match, which should prove a stern test for NUMHC, despite their opposition’s inferior league status. The 1’s go into the match on the back of two successive BUCS defeats, the latest coming in unfortunate fashion after losing on flicks in the BUCS Trophy to Leeds, who compete in the league above Newcastle.
Northumbria also lost their last game, beaten 0-3 by Durham 3’s in the league, which crucially kept the door open for Newcastle’s 2nd team to steal the league title on the last day of the season. The poly currently sit in pole position, ahead only on goal difference, but a win for NUMHC’s 2nd string would see them leapfrog Northumbria into first.
The 2’s will be hoping for revenge after being denied victory in their previous league meeting in the dying seconds, that game ended 2-2. The two sides go head to head on the 16th March at Coach Lane.
“Stan Calvert might then provide the Newcastle 1’s with some well-earned respite from the stresses of BUCS”
To add to the drama of the final day fixtures, The Courier understands that the 2’s will only be granted promotion if their colleagues in the 1st team can also guarentee promotion from Northern 1A, to avoid the two meeting in the same division.
Stan Calvert might then provide the Newcastle 1’s with some well-earned respite from the stresses of BUCS. That said, they’ll be hoping to get one over on their city rivals. The 1sts match gets underway at 4.30pm at Coach Lane Sports Centre, home of Northumbria, and is preceded by the 2nds match at 3pm.
Newcastle’s 2’s should make light work of their Northumbria counterparts, who are struggling in Northern 5B.
7:30pm- Men’s Football 1’s, Gateshead International Stadium
It’s that time of year again. Everyone in the university gets together to cheer on our favourite Newcastle teams against the old enemy, Northumbria.
Football has been a central part of the competition since its introduction in 1994, with Stan Calvert himself representing British Universities at the sport. More recently, over the last three years honours have been shared. Last years’ 2-2 draw was preceded by a 4-2 loss and a 2-1 win in 2014 and 2013 respectively.
It’ll be at the forefront of these lads’ minds that they’ll not only want to turn around the run of two consecutive Stan Calvert games without a win in the football, but they’ll want to prevent Northumbria winning their third consecutive Stan Calvert Cup for the first time in their history. This year they can do this as the main event.
To achieve this they’ll once again have to do the business as an underdog. Whilst Newcastle compete in Northern 1A, Northumbria are a commendable fourth in the division above. But it’s not all about league position.
Northumbria have only won one of their last six matches in 90 minutes, and Newcastle’s rivals have gathered a reputation as draw specialists in the league, something psychological that Newcastle will perhaps look to exploit.
In contrast, according to the ever-reliable STATZONE, up to the 13th of February NUAFC had won 11 on the bounce in the Northern Football Alliance; they also sit in second place in Northern 1A, winning three of their last six BUCS matches.
Both Newcastle and Northumbria lost their quarter-final ties in their respective cups this week, and we’ll have to wait and see how that has mentally affected the teams. However, Newcastle have a decent track record of bouncing back after defeats.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Newcastle last Wednesday as Manchester Met snatched the game in extra time, but there were positives to take from the recent cup run.
“fans can be rest assured that the chemistry between Walker and his established pacey strike-partner, Allan ‘The Nigerian Prince’ Owen, will prove pivotal, and perhaps decisive, in the upcoming clash”
Olly Walker has emerged as a clinical forward, taking up the goal-scoring gauntlet as he’s past 30 for the season. The 19-year-old, who models himself on Harry Kane, bagged two against Leeds in the previous round, and will look to continue his rich vein of form.
The striker will want to score in his second consecutive Stan Calvert match, and not many would bet against him. NUAFC fans can be rest assured that the chemistry between Walker and his established pacey strike-partner, Allan ‘The Nigerian Prince’ Owen, will prove pivotal, and perhaps decisive, in the upcoming clash.
Aside from these ‘top baggers’, Newcastle will also want their defence to be on the ball. They’ll want to ensure that Club President Jack Taylor hasn’t been too distracted by his campaign for NUSU President, but his teammates will make sure his plans for world domination are put on the back-burner as his attention is switched to Sunday’s clash.
When asked for the Club President’s thoughts on the game, he had this to say. “There’s no doubt it’s going to be a hard game but a challenge we relish as a club. We go into the game as underdogs but that’s something we enjoy as it takes the pressure off us. Being the main event this year really gives it an edge and is something everyone is absolutely buzzing about.”
On the team’s preparation he added “We have plenty of football at the moment in our Saturday league so it gives us ample time to prepare, however, it’s probably going to be a case of managing our workload to ensure we are fizzing for the game. Whilst we’ve not replicated our Wednesday form from last year we’ve been a force on Saturdays so we’ll be looking to take that through to the game. We really hope as many Newcastle students as possible get down as it will make all the difference on the night.”
Although Newcastle team will be the underdogs, Northumbria keeper Alex Newton doesn’t think it’ll be so one-sided. “It should be a close game. Newcastle have been performing well in the BUCS leagues and this will be their biggest game of the year, for our lads we have a fixture list of over 50 games so we will have to match their intensity and desire.”
Yet the keeper admits that being favourites will put Northumbria at a disadvantage. “Obviously the crowd, and the expectation on Northumbria being the stronger footballing university, puts the pressure on us so it’s a case of managing that and if we play to our ability I’m confident we’ll get the win.”
Northumbria’s Football President said, “everyone is buzzing for the match, especially with it being the finale this year. We’ve had a lot of fixtures recently and just coming to the end of that and topping it all off with a Stan Calvert win in front of that crowd would be perfect.”