Derby Day 2016

Just a quick post on the biggest sporting event of the year.

Yesterday (20/04/16) was Derby Day, the day of the year in which the greatest varsity rivalry in the country is fought out.

UEA vs Essex Uni.

Never before has there been such a fierce rivalry as this.

Last year UEA hosted and it seemed the whole campus got involved. Even someone such as myself who has barely even looked at a sports pitch since leaving school found myself surprisingly caught up in the team spirit. And of course, the day was made all the sweeter by UEA’s victory for the third year in a row.

Well I am pleased to say that for yet another year UEA have been able to hold onto their crown!

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Despite it being hosted down in Colchester this year there was still a great buzz around campus, and by all accounts celebrations continued well into the night.

As I said, I’m not a particularly sporty person myself, but it’s fantastic to see just how many sports teams we support here at UEA. The teams which made the journey from Norwich to Colchester included everything from archery to pole dancing, and from rugby to ultimate Frisbee (although I’ve never been sure what the ultimate bit meant…).

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I look forward to seeing Derby Day come home again next year, and just maybe I’ll be able to get through my whole degree at UEA without us having to hand the cup to Essex…

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Derby Day 2K15

Two universities, both alike in dignity,
In fair UEA, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

There are many famous university rivalries, Oxford and Cambridge, King’s College and UCL, but none match the fervency and passion of that between UEA and the University of Essex. (Although King’s did once steal and hold to ransom a mummified head that belongs to UCL…)

If you did not know of the enmity which exists between these two institutions you would perhaps be surprised by how seriously it is sometimes taken – it is not only students but staff who perpetuate it, this year Essex Uni parked a van outside our campus during one of our open days to advertise theirs. Shocking behaviour indeed.

But this usually theoretical rivalry breaks out again each year on what is known as Derby Day, a day of sporting competitions hosted alternately by the universities. Just about every sporting society takes part and each victory scores a point for the team’s university.

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UEA hosted this year and I am happy to report that for the third year running UEA have won the trophy, and not by a small margin (42.5-19.5!).

Generally the day was one of good sportsmanship, although towards the end tensions were running high and Concrete (the UEA paper) seemed to be reporting a lot of yellow cards.

The calm before the storm...

The calm before the storm…

Throughout the day, the campus square was given over to festivities and general merrymaking (e.g. slightly inebriated students attempting to do the bungee run) and by the evening, with victory in the air, things were pretty wild – as one of my friends put it, ‘It looked like the last days of Rome’.

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If, like me, you are not of a generally sporting disposition, then Derby Day is a strange experience. University pride dictates that you cheer along and maybe join in with the odd bit of singing but, what with the weather still being very cold, doesn’t extend to actually watching a full hockey game…

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As Essex are hosting next year I probably won’t have to worry about it for another two years, so until then all that remains to be said is congratulations to all who took part, rather you than me.