Uni of finally conquer Leeds Beckett after 14 years of loss

Finally, they’ve done it: despite losing the big finale, the University of Leeds have conquered Leeds Beckett in the varsity games for the first time in 14 years.

By James Brennan

Leeds Beckett 55 - 5  University of Leeds. Courtesy of Leeds Beckett

Leeds Beckett 55 – 5 University of Leeds. Courtesy of Leeds Beckett

On a bittersweet evening, the students of the University of Leeds can finally lay claim to the varsity bragging rights over their Leeds Beckett counterparts after eventually winning their first varsity title.

Leeds Beckett have dominated the Gryphons in the competition ever since its inception 14 years ago, winning each time. However, yesterday’s games saw the tables turned. The uni of teams came out in force to finally take the overall competition victory.

Blockbuster event

Varsity is an inter-university sporting competition that takes place each year between the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. The tournament is comprised of 59 competitive games in all sports ranging from korfball and water-polo to rugby and football. Split over two days the games are highly competitive and a blockbuster event in the annual university sports calendar.

Competition this year was much closer with the ‘Uni of’ team clinching the title by a single point over Leeds Beckett, winning 30 of the 59 games to Beckett’s 29 victories. The University of Leeds took victories in netball, volleyball and badminton  – meanwhile Leeds Beckett took victories in athletics, rugby and football.

“High levels of competition”

Anisha Wahid, a member of the Korfball first team said:  “There was so much tension at varsity yesterday. All the sports teams wanted to win for their university so there was high levels of competition throughout. I was playing korfball for the Leeds Beckett team and even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, it was still a brilliant day.” Unfortunately for Leeds Beckett, the ‘Uni of’ claimed an 18-13 victory to take home another point.


No finale joy for the uni of Leeds

Despite having lost their title streak, Leeds Beckett will take home the pride of utterly embarrassing ‘Uni of’ in the rugby union finale. The blockbuster finale, which was once again a sell-out, had seen the atmosphere build all afternoon. Headingley began to shut down with students taking over the area. The roads were closed and whole streets became footpaths, giving a sense of the scale of the event. In each of the beer gardens en route to the stadium, the abusive and sometimes very witty chants grew louder, taking aim at the stereotypes of each universities students.

Anisha Wahid said: “The rugby had an amazing atmosphere on both sides. It was an amazing way to end the varsity tournament.”

The finale is usually a close-fought game which is won by the smallest of margins. However this year was different. From the word go, Leeds Beckett dominated play eventually running out 51-5 winners.

Match report

Beckett scored the first try of the game inside the opening ten minutes, with John Okafor touching the ball down in the ninth minute. Beckett captain Connor Lloyd converted the following kick. This set the tone for the rest of the match as Beckett found holes throughout the Uni of defensive line penetrating it with ease. A penalty kick and further tries from Charlie Venables,Toby Francis plus Uni of’s Andy Brown led to a half time score of 22-5.


After the break, the same service resumed as the Beckett full backs danced through the Uni of’s defence. During the second forty minutes, the University of Leeds conceded a further five tries scored by Charlie Venables, Steffan James Jonny Keh and Kieron Davies. In the final few minutes of the match Leeds Beckett were awarded a penalty try for a foul during a scrum. The university of Leeds were unable to add anything to their tally after the break.

With the games over for another year, Leeds Beckett will have to wait for the 2019 events to claim back their crown.


About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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