With College Varsity in just over a month’s time, where the best of York and Durham’s college sport teams face off, to Roses in May, Europe’s biggest inter-university varsity between York and Lancaster, and the end of some tumultuous BUCS leagues and cup competitions.
York Sport Union President Franki Riley, told York Vision that this year’s College Varsity is going to be “bigger and better than ever”.
“[The two year gap since last College Varsity] gives us a really good opportunity to just go crazy with it, which is absolutely fantastic. That’s why people should really be looking forward to it.
“We’re adding a charity fundraising element to it that we’ve kind of never done before. It’s going to be streamed in The Courtyard and Glasshouse as well. We’re adding an opening and closing ceremony kind of vibe.
“I’ve really wanted to make it sort of less like the little sibling to Roses this year and really elevate it. So it’s just the biggest and best showcase of college sport.
“I think we’ve seen fantastic things from college sport already this year, you know, the Hes East charity match, the Derwent vs James weekend that they did. So I think the excitement’s there, it’s kind of buzzing and this is the real standout event for everyone to go and see.”
Looking ahead to Roses, with the first full version of the event for three years set to be held in Lancaster in May, Vision asked Riley what we have to look forward to.
“Honestly, I am so interested to see which way it’s gonna go. I know that we’re having a fantastic year, we’re sort of highest in the BUCS rankings that we’ve been at this point, at least recently, as far as I know.
“We’re kind of both starting from scratch again, but we don’t know what Lancaster has been like for the last couple of years. We only know what we’ve done.
“So I don’t know which way it’s gonna go. We’re really gunning for that Roses away win, because it would be the first since 2008.
“The home team always gets a home advantage from the spectators, we always get this question every year that people think that the home institution changes the points every year, we absolutely do not. It’s the same every single year.
“It genuinely is, it’s just when you know that you’re playing with your people behind you, it just gives you this boost that is just something else.
“That’s why we need as many of our own spectators to get over to Lancaster as possible and level up that playing field because we’re definitely capable of winning.
“We just need that extra boost behind us to remind us of everyone that is supporting us in doing that.”
It’s not just student sport events that are making a long-awaited comeback in 2022, with York set to host matches in the delayed Rugby League World Cup, including both women’s semi finals.
Riley said: “Rugby league feels like the smaller sibling to rugby union, and I’m going to keep my personal opinions on this out of that. It’s a sport that’s big in the North, and rugby union is generally bigger in the South.
I think it just flies under the radar a bit, we don’t have a [student] rugby league club here, so it’s a really good chance for students to go and see a sport that doesn’t normally get a big platform.
“York as well is not known for its big sporting events. We’ve got a really good rugby league team in the city, but apart from that, there’s just not an awful lot here.
“So for us to be picked to be able to host this kind of event is just a really unique opportunity.”