UON Secure Varsity Bragging Rights Yet Again

UON Women's Rugby Union team in a huddle
Rhys Thomas

For the eleventh time in a row, the University of Nottingham are Varsity champions. Victory in women’s basketball on Thursday night secured glory by an overall margin of 8.5-6.5. The 2023 series was one of intense drama from the incredible last-gasp turnaround in the Ice Hockey back in February to the heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat in the men’s football on Thursday night. To summarise it all, here’s our Varsity roundup.

It all began back in February at a packed out Motorpoint Arena, the optimal setting for a series opener. Thousands of students surrounded the ice hockey rink to watch UoN take on their bitter rivals in the first of 24 sporting events. Though a slow burner, the match ignited in the final third when UoN came from a goal down to flip the game on its head in the dying seconds and accomplish a ridiculously dramatic win. The bedlam on the buzzer was just a sign of things to come…

The main Varsity week began with American Football at David Ross, the Green and Gold army once again showing out in huge numbers to support their side. UONAF were looking to bounce back from their National Championship Final defeat in the week, and did so in style with a dominant 26-12 win.

But in Varsity, there must be a winner

It was a much tighter affair over at Nottingham Outlaws, where the women’s rugby union match had kicked off at the same time. The match ebbed and flowed in both directions, and when the final whistle came the side were in inseparable at 15-15. But in Varsity, there must be a winner, and this time NTU were victorious and took their first points of the series on penalty kicks.

There was more rugby action to be had later in the day, this time in men’s rugby league form. The side, having lost to UCLan just days prior in the BUCS National Trophy final, did extremely well to recover against Trent, and emerged victorious with the scoreline reading 30-14 in their favour.

Next up was Futsal, arguably the pick of the fixtures last season and may well have been again this year. UON found themselves 5-1 down at half-time, having been ruthlessly picked off by Trent. However, the squad rallied, and with the support of a raucous home crowd were able to pull things back to 6-6. It was deja vu for Trent, who also led a large lead slip and were forced to penalties in 2022. UON, with all the momentum, punished NTU and secured an incredible win on penalties as Varsity saw yet more late drama.

A day later, the universities took a win each in Lacrosse, UON’s women being successful after the men’s side had fallen to a narrow defeat to Trent on golden goal.

Super Wednesday saw an array of events on both University Park and Clifton Campus. UON secured a destructive 6-1 overall win in the DRSV events, recording victories in swimming, squash, canoe polo, table tennis, and water polo. Trent pulled out of the Korfball fixture and won Badminton. In the six Trent home events, the aggregate score was 3-3. 

Elsewhere on the Wednesday, men’s hockey fell to a shock 4-1 defeat, but the women picked up the pieces with a tidy 4-2 victory over Trent. Later in the day, UON Netball lost out narrowly to Trent 40-47.

Fortunately for UON, women’s basketball came in clutch and put a up a wonderful century of points to dismiss Trent

That all meant Trent trailed by three points going into the final trio of 2023 Varsity fixtures, meaning they could still salvage an unlikely draw. Events began well for them, though, putting on a dominant show to win men’s basketball and stealing the football fixture on penalties. Fortunately for UON, women’s basketball came in clutch and put a up a wonderful century of points to dismiss Trent 100-52. 

With that, the series was won by the University of Nottingham once more, though Trent certainly made them work for it. A win by the slender margin of two points means there is no out-and-out favourite for next year’s series, which will hopefully feature more sports and athletes than ever!

Impact attended a whopping 16 fixtures, and we can only thank our dedicated writers for committing their time

Varsity 2023 has been a pleasure to cover. Impact attended a whopping 16 fixtures, and we can only thank our dedicated writers for committing their time to reporting on some fantastic student sport action! Until next year…

Rhys Thomas

Featured image courtesy of @_.elizabethphotography. Permission given to Impact to use. No changes were made to this image. 


In article image 1 courtesy of @impactsport via Instagram. No changes were made to this image.


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