Thank you and good night

Well, that’s it for another year. Varsity has come and gone and left happy memories and serious hangovers for many! This last post is to say thanks to all of you who visited the blog…I hope you found it both useful and entertaining. Remember to turn out in support for next year’s Varsity team, who travel to Keele to defend the title. For even more reflection and match reports, check out this month’s GK News, which is out in the Union Shop. Thanks again, Brad

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Mixed Lacrosse produced excellent display to take victory

Staffordshire’s mixed lacrosse team produced their best display of the season to retain the Varsity shield for the third year running with an 11-9 win.
The result means the mixed lacrosse team remain unbeaten at Varsity but this tie was the closest yet.
In the end it was the team spirit of the players and their die hard attitude that won the battle for Staffs, as they refused to give in and pulled away in the final quarter. By that time, emotions were running high for both teams and it was Staffs who managed to control their’s efficiently enough to take victory.
In a feisty game there was a number of controversial moments, however Staffs could brush aside their disappointment of two disallowed goals but Keele were not able to do the same when feeling aggrieved about fouls not given.
Having gone into the final quarter a goal up, Staffs kept pushing forward and got their reward as their tired legs produced two goals. This created a three goal cushion and immediately prompted Keele to call a time out.
During this 30 second break the contrast in teams, and indeed universities were highlighted better than ever before. While Keele ran in clearly arguing and despondent with each other, Staffs were joyous joking and eager to win.
After this point Keele managed to pull one back but the Scorpions managed to keep possession well and see out the match to help Staffordshire to a historic Varsity win.

Captain Carly Edwards enjoyed four goals in her last competitive game for Staffs, Marcus Howe grabbed three, Nick Thursby two and there was a goal each for Jack Tew and James Anderson.

For photos of all the events on the day click here…

Visit this website to check out all the photos from Varsity.

Photos of the day were taken by Martyn Reid whose website is http://www.martynreidphotography.co.uk

Staff’s Basketball lead by example

It was a clean sweep for Staff’s basketballers as both the men’s and women’s teams picked up victories against their Keele counterparts.

In a Sports Hall packed with fans, the women played their game first in what proved to be a very interesting spectacle.

The first quarter proved very tight, with both teams etching to keep mistakes to a minimum. However, by half time it was Staffs who had developed a healthy six point lead.

The ladies kept the pressure up and increased this lead in a third quarter that wasn’t short of quality or controversy. Referee Steve Webb had to stamp his authority on the game after Keele consistently protested against his calls, causing prolonged stoppages.

This failed to deter Staff’s ladies and the fourth quarter proved to be a white wash, as Staffs powered on to seal a triumphant 64-45 victory.

The Men’s game began with Staffs knowing they had to win to ensure Keele didn’t steal the overall Varsity Cup. With the scores six sports to five in favour of the visitors, b-ball captain Malcolm Kandulu knew his side had to perform.

And perform they did. With a crowd already bolstered by the ladies’ victory, Staff’s male basketballers stormed out of the blocks, finishing the first quarter with a commanding lead.

In the second quarter, Keele managed to get back into the game, tying with Staffs half way into it. However, a reshuffle of the Staff’s team, plus great defensive displays by Malcolm and Jonny, allowed the home side to up the intensity once more and to ensure they went into the break with a healthy eight point lead.

In the third and fourth quarters, Staff’s domination and class really started to show. Dan S, Luke and Sam showed great attacking credentials, while Cyrille conducted the game from the centre brilliantly, helping the home side establish an unassailable lead.

A huge cheer from the many fans packed into Stan Matts follwed the signalling of full time, and it was now left to the footballers to bring the Varsity Cup home.

If Carlsberg did Varsity endings…

Men's Football celebrate after winning 2-1 to take the Varsity Cup back to Staffs

Men's Football celebrate after winning 2-1 to take the Varsity Cup back to Staffs

…it would probably be a lot like this one!

Under the watchful eyes of Phil Dowd, Staffordshire University Men’s Football took on Keele University in a game that would decide the fate of the 2009 Varsity Cup.

The game began at a hundred miles an hour, with every player desperate not to make a mistake in front of a massive and vocal crowd. For the first 20 minutes, chances were few and far between, with both teams struggling to play any possession football.

Dan Calliste clears under pressure from Keele's striker

Dan Calliste clears under pressure from Keele's striker

However it was Keele who began to find their rhythm first, as they began to pepper goalkeeper Dan Calliste with tame shots. This kick started Staffs, and it was after some good football down the left hand side from Anthony Weldon and Fergus McIntosh that created the games best chance. McIntosh got to the byline and pulled the ball back only for James Smith to shoot over with a difficult left footed shot.

Staff’s began to get a hold of the game but it was Keele who made the breakthrough. Staff’s failed to clear and after some sloppy defending, a Keele striker broke through on goal. His shot was saved by Calliste but the rebound was tapped in by Keele’s number 8, who reacted quickest in the box.

Staff’s heads were down and Keele started to knock the ball round comfortably, creating more chances for their energetic strikers. With all this possession, Dowd’s half time whistle was a welcome sound for the Staff’s players.

The second half began at a much calmer pace with both teams opting to play keep ball on a large pitch. Staff’s central midfielders Ben Antcliff and Sefa Atay started to control the game from the middle, working the ball out wide as often as possible.

Staff's players celebrate Connolly's equaliser

Staff's players celebrate Connolly's equaliser

It was from a wide position that Staff’s found the breakthrough. Mcintosh won a corner after more good work down the left wing. Atay drilled the ball into the box and it fell kindly at the feet of substitute Kieran Connolly, who had only been on for five minutes. He cut the ball onto his right foot before smashing home to equalise.

Staff’s tails were now up, and with the crowd behind them they pushed forward, looking for the winner. With all five substitutes now on, Staff’s were looking very fresh, and it was again from a wide position that they grabbed the winner.

Subs Dan Royle and Alex Richards combined well down the right hand side before Richards crossed into the Keele area. Confusion followed as Keele’s goalkeeper and defender struggled to clear before the ball rebounded in off McIntosh’s knee to send the crowd into ecstasy!

Staff's players celebrate in front of the crowd after McIntosh's goal

Staff's players celebrate in front of the crowd after McIntosh's goal

Now 2-1 up, Keele began to push forward in a desperate attempt to salvage an equaliser. Their best chance came after a low cross wasn’t cleared properly and again rebounded out to a Keele player. This time, it was Staffs who reacted quickest, with captain Steve Johnson heroically blocking a certain goal.

Solid defending and some exemplarary goalkeeping from Dan Calliste meant that Keele could not find a breakthrough and it was Staff’s who were cheering on Dowd’s final whistle.

Legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks was there to hand out the medals as the champagne began to flow for Staffs, who bring back the Varsity Cup to the LRV!

More photos and video to come soon…

We are the champions!

What a day! Staffs Uni have done it and brought the cup back home, and in dramatic fashion!

With the two Universities drawing 6-6 going into the final event, it was down to the football teams to battle it out to see who would be Varsity Champions 2009.

With Staffs 1-0 down at half time, the stage was set for an almighty comeback. With the incredible Staff’s crowd getting behind the team, Kieran Connolly equalised before Fergus McIntosh bundled home to ensure the cup made its way back to the LRV!

Reports of all the sports, plus photos of the day’s events to follow…

VARSITY HAS ARRIVED!

The big day has arrived. Teams are preparing. Crowds are gathering. Beer is cooling. Referees are assembling. Equipment is being checked. Programmes are being bought. Weather is being analysed. Chants are being learned. Today is the day that Staffs beat Keele. Today. Is. VARSITY!

Varsity has arrived

Varsity has arrived