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Derwent retain College Sports Day title

Derwent took a narrow win in College Sports Day for the second year in succession, beating James to the win thanks to their success in the tug of war

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Images: Agatha Torrance

Derwent took a narrow win in College Sports Day for the second year in succession, beating James to the win thanks to their success in the tug of war.

After an afternoon of closely-fought track and field events, Derwent secured just a three point margin of victory over James, after scoring highly in the day's final events.

Derwent finished on 134 points, with James behind on 131 and Alcuin a close third on 122. Halifax were fourth on 82 points, closely followed by Langwith on 73, with Vanbrugh and Goodricke further back on 50 and 44 respectively.

The first points on the board came in the 400m, with Alcuin's Katie Penrose producing a dominant display shortly after a similarly impressive performance in the 100m heats. Derwent came in second place, with James just one second behind them on 1:19. The men's 400m race was also a close contest, Langwith taking the points there with a time of 54 seconds, Alcuin second on 58, and James third in 59 seconds.

Derwent's first success on the track came from Hannah Carter in the 1500m, who beat James' Claire Thomas into a distance second for a win in 5 minutes 56 seconds. But the Swans hit back in the men's race, the ever-impressive Richard Weeks finishing a commanding 12 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger from Halifax.

The men's 200m produced the closest race of the day, Halifax beating Derwent by 0.01 of a second with a time of 24.84, with Alcuin, who had been producing consistent displays in all races, in third. James won the women's race in 32.90, but Alcuin's consistency was paying dividends as they were tied with Derwent at the top of the leaderboard on 37 points each.

James began to mount their challenge for the title soon after though, an impressive performance in the women's 800m seeing them beat Goodricke into second by a whopping 17 seconds. Halifax took the men's race in 2:23.

In the women's long jump, Goodricke came out on top when Sarah Lane consistently held the highest score over the three jumps, producing 3.73m in her second jump, whilst her other two jumps were both 3.68m.

Elsewhere, in the men's long jump, Alcuin's Peter Kennick took the spoils as his second jump of 4.95m proved enough give his college eight points. At the end, however, Halifax's Alex Ulyet managed to match Kennick's longest jump but because Ulyet could only produce his best in the third and final jump, Kennick still remained the victor.

Back on the track, and the 100m finals produced few surprises. After dominating the heats earlier in the afternoon, Alcuin's Penrose and James' Andrew Jopson were comfortable winners, posting times of 14.65 and 11.44 respectively. Derwent came third in both races, with James second in the women's and Halifax runners-up in the men's.

Two gruelling 3000m runs were a great source of points James, Weeks producing his latest in a string of fine displays with a time of 10:24 in the men's race. The Swans also claimed second and third in the women's race, though Derwent took the eight points on offer for the win.

Ali Barber, who had just taken part in the women's long jump, was finding more luck in the women's shot-put. She produced over eight metres in all three of her throws, the largest of which being 8.75m in her final throw. Barber had remained one step ahead of her Vanbrugh partner Meg Phillips throughout, much to Phillips' frustration (but nevertheless she was overjoyed that Vanbrugh had come out as the winners).

As for the men's shot-put, James Traynor of James College came out victorious as he produced a whopping throw of 10.90m at the final time of asking. It was enough to blow all other contenders out of the water as Traynor gave James a valuable eight points for their overall score.

The relay events were the last of the showpiece fixtures on the track, and Penrose was again the star of the show in the women's 4x100m, bringing Alcuin home for the win there, two seconds ahead of Goodricke and James. And the day's premier male sprinter had similar success, Jopson clawing James into first place ahead of Derwent's Ed Kemp on the anchor leg. Derwent claimed their revenge with a sensational display in the 4x400m relay, running out comfortable winners over Halifax.

Meanwhile, Langwith took their first big points of the day in the Ultimate Frisbee, with Derwent second and James in third. That success clearly left them wanting more, and it came in the 400m powerwalk as the Langaroo sped to victory there; but with the points determined by the number of participants taking part from each college, Derwent were the predictable winners, with Langwith second.

That meant that with only the volleyball and tug of war results to come in, James were leading on 123 with Derwent just three points back, setting up a tense finish to rival last year's titanic clash.

The tug of war produced one of the most entertaining and physical spectacles of the afternoon. As each college worked its way towards the final, several colleges began to shine through as clear favourites. Langwith dominated both James and Halifax, whilst they brushed their Hes East rivals Goodricke aside with ease later in the day.

Alcuin were also finding large amounts of success in the tug of war. Most impressively, they edged out a 2-0 win against Langwith. Derwent were also paving the way to success as they remained undefeated throughout the day. After whitewashing James and Vanbrugh, the university's oldest college soon found themselves up against their long-standing rivals, Langwith; Derwent outfoxed their old neighbours by reacting quicker from the off to win 2-0.

In order for Derwent to win the sports day as a whole, they would have either have to win the volleyball tournament, or failing that the final of the tug of war. After Derwent smashed Goodricke 11-0 in the quarter final of the volleyball, winning the tournament through this pathway was looking more promising.

However, they came unstuck in the semis against a well-drilled Wentworth side, the eventual volleyball winners, and so the tournament now rested on Derwent's success in the tug of war final. Otherwise, James would be crowned champions.

In the best-of-five final, Derwent were faced up against the impressive Alcuin. The Owls had forged an impressive unit with good technique, however Derwent had more weight behind their side of the rope. Their 'heave' rhythm chant was ultimately what pushed them over the line as they found themselves 2-0.

And Derwent made no mistake in their final tug, a 3-0 win making sure of a second successive Sports Day title.


Final Standings


Derwent - 134
James - 131
Alcuin - 122
Halifax - 82
Langwith - 73
Vanbrugh - 50
Goodricke - 44

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