On Wednesday 20th April, our University’s biggest rival; the University of East Anglia (UEA), came to the University of Essex to compete in our annual Varsity event… Derby Day!
Essex and UEA competed against each other for points in over 25 sports, from American Football to Swimming, in an attempt to become Derby Day champions! 1 point was awarded for a win and ½ a point for a draw, with the university with the most points winning overall.
I had personally been waiting for this event to come around all year! I went to Derby Day last year when it was hosted by UEA at their campus in Norwich and it was a brilliant event! Although we lost on that occasion, the team spirit amongst Essex fans was amazing and it was a really cool day to watch some sport and have fun with some friends!
So here’s a few highlights from my day at Derby Day 2016!
The Women’s Basketball match
Unfortunately, I had a class AND a deadline on the day of Derby Day, so I could only get involved in the afternoon. However this didn’t stop me from enjoying myself and as soon as I handed in my coursework, I headed down to the Sports Centre to catch the Male Futsal match with some of my friends.
Essex scoring in the Futsal on their way to victory
I hadn’t seen Futsal being played before, but it was such a great sport to watch! It’s like indoor football with a smaller ball and pitch from what I gathered! It was fast paced and, perhaps more importantly, Essex won! This was made even better because it meant that we were still neck and neck with UEA for the title!
Chilling out on the Squares
In between events, we made sure we spent some time on the Squares. On the day this was a hive of activity, with medals being awarded on an outdoor stage and people everywhere having a great time. People were having a drink, grabbing some food and generally enjoying the amazing weather that we were treated to on the day!
The outdoor stage with the Derby Day Cup and medals
Rebel, the Student Union’s media outlet, was also producing content throughout the day, including a live scoresheet which detailed the results as they were happening throughout the day. Even though we couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, by keeping track of the action online, me and my friends knew exactly what was happening and how the Essex Blades were doing.
Men’s Football 2nd
Later that afternoon, we made our way down to the Men’s Football 2nd Team match on the playing fields. The pitch was absolutely packed with fans from both sides and chants encouraging either team could be heard from everywhere.
A shot from the Football
To say that I and my friends got into the action was an understatement! We were chanting at the top of our lungs supporting Essex and when we finally scored a goal, everyone went totally crazy with people running onto the pitch screaming and jumping up and down.
Unfortunately, UEA managed to bag a late winner in the match to win the match 3-2. This along with a few other results going to UEA, meant that our rivals were beginning to break off from Essex and establish a lead. However, there was still lots more events to go and lots of chances for Essex to snatch the win!
I, like many of my friends, were a bit sceptical about going to watch the pool match in the evening of the day. After the excitement of the football, we thought that it might be a bit slow paced and mundane in comparison.
How wrong I was…
Me and a my friends showing our vocal support for Essex
We could have been back at the Football match for all I knew! There was loud vocal support from both sides throughout the match and the action couldn’t have been more tense. The action ran for over three hours and there were dozens of games played, each one as entertaining as the last! Essex managed to win the Pool, winning all 3 points from all three categories (men’s 1st, men’s 2nd and Women’s), putting Essex closer to winning the title.
After the whole day’s action, there could only be one winner and this time that was…UEA!
The final score was a narrow 34-30 win to UEA.
Sadly we didn’t win, but the day was much more than that! It was a great day to have some Essex spirit and enjoy an awesome day of events at the same time!
The Essex Dance team during one of their winning performances
However, next year we’re coming to get you UEA 😉