VARSITY SPECIAL Your complete guide to Aberystwyth’s victory over Bangor in the biggest sporting event of the year
Photos by Tomos Nolan, James Ruff, Alex Tanton and Rebecca James
TEAM ABER CLAIM MOMENTOUS VARSITY VICTORY
FIRST BACK-TO-BACK WIN IN THE HISTORY OF THE WELSH VARSITY
The Rugby boys showcase the Team Aber spirit before their match up against Bangor
Sam Meadows Sports Editor TEAM Aber made history this year by becoming the first team in the Welsh Varsity to secure back-to-back wins. Aber defeated Bangor by an overall scoreline of 22 points to 13. The results were announced by Students’ Union President, Ioan Rhys Evans to a raucous crowd in the Union. There were huge cheers as Evans sent Team Aber into raptures. Bangor took > cricket
first blood on the previous Sunday (22nd), winning the Sailing on home seas, but Aber equalised Varsity on Wednesday (26th) with a win in the Riding. Varsity day itself began with the traditional opening fixture, the Men’s Cricket match. In a thrilling encounter, Team Aber won with the last run of the game, and it was all up from there. Win after win followed and Aber raced into an imperious 8-1 lead before our North > rugby league page 4
Wales rivals recovered somewhat to bring their overall total to a respectable 13 points. In the end, however, Aber’s win was never in doubt following the early flurry of victories, and an incredible score of 22 points, made for a fully deserved Varsity win for the Dragons. Evans congratulated the whole of Team Aber, as well as outgoing Activities Officer Liv Prewett, who in turn paid tribute to the Bangor team. Prewett was largely responsible > football page 6
Year 65 Varsity Special
for organising the excellent event, along with her team within the Students’ Union. The day was rounded off by the Men’s Rugby Union team, who took to the field to claim a well-deserved victory over a weaker Bangor side. It was a fitting way to end Varsity 2014 as Team Aber came together not only to support the rugby boys, but also in remembrance of Sean Morley, a former AU rugby player who tragically lost his life in 2012. > rugby union page 8
Sam Meadows Sports Editor WELL, Varsity 2014 was an absolute stormer. From the start, the fixtures were close and exciting. Across Aberystwyth, both Team Aber and our North Wales counterparts showed a huge amount of passion and commitment in their chosen sports. In truth, the overall score was harsh on Bangor, and the
nine point differential between the teams did not paint the full picture, as many of the games went to the wire. Three fixtures were won by only one point, and many more were incredibly close. There was a serious injury to American Footballer, Ciaran Campbell, which saw the game abandoned. He was rushed to hospital, but thankfully was up and about soon after and will make a full recovery. He even changed his Facebook profile picture to an image of him clutching a trophy from his stretcher. Here at ASM we tried our best to keep you all in touch with what was going on, and hopefully you enjoyed following our live blog and Bay TV updates. We were
Sports Editor News Editor Design Manager Content Editors Aberystwyth Student Media is the integrated student media organisation for Aberystwyth. We produce The Courier, Bay Radio and Bay TV. We operate independently of the Students’ Union and University; all of our content is produced by Aberystwyth students on a voluntary basis.
also pleased to invite Storm FM from Bangor back to Aberystwyth and they really did help with our coverage. Bay TV made ASM history, filming the entirety of a sporting fixture, which is now available on our website. Audio commentary (another ASM first) on the Rugby Union was played into the Cwtch, something that ASM can also be incredibly proud of. Having said that, it is our reporters who we are truly indebted to, and they were brilliant at giving us live updates from all the fixtures and writing the excellent reports that you can find in these pages. With the publication of this issue, we say goodbye to Varsity for another year. I for one, will miss it immensely.
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Sam Meadows firstname.lastname@example.org Kisha Matthew email@example.com Laura Say firstname.lastname@example.org Mitch Rushton, Harry Taylor, Alex Pike, Tom Davies, Poppy Tester
Reporters: Ed Cullen, Alasdair Park, Robert Sheargold, Sarah Thornhill, Dave Webber, Andrew Simpson, James Ruff, Jack Hocking, Joe Benton, Nick Robinson, Cassie Smyth, Caleb Spencer
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CRICKET GET TEAM ABER OFF TO WINNING START Ed Cullen Aber: 94 Bangor: 93
AS IS GROWING to be the norm, the first blood was fought over by the cricketers, and in a cruel twist of fate, I landed myself with a job reporting on a sport in which I honestly wasn’t sure of what was happening. Indoor cricket’s rules are ever so different to those of normal 20/20 or test cricket. However, it didn’t take away from the atmosphere brought to the match, if not by the chance of an early out in the second over, then by the animated support from Team Aber on the sidelines. Aber bowled first, and the air of silence usually reserved for exams in the Sports Cage fell for the first bowl. By the third over I’d lost count of the scores on the doors and was simply getting into the spirit of things; Aber’s Rugby Union champions to be giving the batting
SWIMMING Alasdair Park Aber: 22 Bangor: 6
ABERYSTWYTH University’s Swimming Club emerged victorious from this afternoon of enjoyable competition at Aberystwyth University Sports Centre. Honourable mentions to Captain Millie Farmer, who won every race she swam. Bangor, by their own admission, are an improving outfit and have some work to do to compete with Aberystwyth. Nonetheless, Bangor won the men’s 50m freestyle amongst other victories.
lions their best insults before every ball. Bangor however remained resilient and quietly put together mostly singles and few fours until the eighth over when it appeared they decided to turn it on. New batsmen emerged and with them came five boundaries. Lucky then that, come the first bowl of the ninth over, captain James Gale took it upon himself to pick up a loose ball and hit the wicket dead centre from ten metres. Bangor continued to rack up singles, but ended with a score of 93 for Aber’s cricketing dragons to chase. Aber maintained a conservative start, keeping pace with Bangor’s beginning, but by the fourth over, even the umpires were asking for scores. Aber slowly picked up the pace with Joe Waylett picking up almost a third of the final tally on his own. With just two overs to go, Aber needed fifteen runs to win, and it was looking good until Bangor upped their game and Bangor were always up against it after losing both relays at the beginning of the match, and the first individual race, thus finding themselves 5-0 down. Aberystwyth definitely benefited from a group of committed and talented swimmers who have consistently tried to perform to their best for the University. Tom Kelly’s breaststroke and Fiona Clarke in particular on the last leg of the women’s 50m freestyle relay were very impressive, swimming high in the water with minimal breathing, a skill that requires a high input of time and effort to perfect. The spoils go to Aberystwyth, with a 22-6 victory, to Bangor, the goal of improving and growing for their rematch on home soil in 12 months time.
LACROSSE Sarah Thornhill Aber: 7
Bangor: 3 AFTER a slow first quarter which saw Bangor gain a three goal advantage, Team Aber’s Women’s Lacrosse picked up the pace in the second, stealing the win with the final score being 7-3. Captain Sophie Cath expressed her delight with the turnaround, saying: “Everyone put 100% into the game and it was the best we have played. I could not be a prouder captain.” Scorers Cath, Kate Armfield, Sophie McGill and Zoe Guilford stole victory for Aber as their goalkeeper Rebecca Pear made brilliant saves.
Bangor: 17 Aber: 0
THE ULTIMATE Frisbee game was a high intensity fiasco of stall counting, stacking and surveying. A determined Bangor lead Aber entirely, taking the win with a surprising 17-0. Aber MVP James Pickering said, “Despite the score, we think that just enjoying the game is at the heart of what this club is all about.”
bowled an out. Aber hit the final over needing ten runs, and after five balls needed just one to win. Bangor bowled fast to Mike Jones who sneaked it off to his left for one. Aber took the win by one run, and the red hoodies began a chant which would last for the rest of the day.
Tomos Nolan Tomos Nolan
TEAM Aber Men’s Lacrosse were keen to beat Bangor and retain their title from last year, however with a final result of 18-8 to Bangor, they couldn’t quite make it happen. Aber Captain Dan Sheaff said, “We did not play how we normally do. Bangor were just better than us on the field.” Aber’s scorers, Lewys Wheeler and Jimmy Hatswell, scored four each respectively and there were special mentions to Aber goalkeeper Luke Hamilton, who put in a spectacular performance.
TEAM ABER RUGBY LEAGUE OBLITERATE OPPOSITION Dave Webber Aber: 50 Bangor: 6
IN THE EARLIEST kick off at Blaendolau Playing Fields, Aberystwyth men’s rugby team ran out comprehensive winners against Bangor, who despite not giving up, lacked the quality possessed by Team Aber. The tone was set by the home side right from the start, who on kicking off chased hard down the field to put a strong tackle in on their Bangor counterpart. In the following phase, a pass from the Bangor scrum half was dropped, showing the shakiness of the Bangor backs. It therefore was not surprising when Rebecca James
in the sixth minute, Aberystwyth scored their first try through Rhodri Jones. After seventeen minutes, Aberystwyth had scored three more tries, the pick of which saw a fantastic bit of ball handing as the ball worked it’s way across from the right to the left through some quick hands in the middle to be well finished by Joe Freeman. Good kicking by the aforementioned Freeman made sure that the additional points through conversions kept the scoreboard ticking. By half time Aberystwyth had added another try from Lewis Donnelly and found themselves 26-0 up. Aberystwyth were unrelenting in their pressure in the second half, and it only
took two minutes before Ethan Dearden touched down Aberystwyth’s sixth try. With fresh legs provided by players on the side line, Team Aber pushed on and scored another four tries, the best of which came from a fantastic kick and chase down the line by Matthew Bartlett. The game began to show an increase in handling errors and penalties, and Bangor got themselves a consolation try that followed some expansive passing which was converted to make the final score 50-6. Aberystwyth will have been disappointed to concede the late try, however, they dominated throughout and played some great rugby league that pleased the watching crowd.
IF THE CRICKETERS had gotten off to a nervy start, it was the women of Aberystwyth who put Aber firmly in charge of the competition. They may have kicked off late, but Aber wasted no time in netting the first points almost immediately. From the minute they went one up they never lost the lead, and ended the first quarter firmly in charge of the game at 12-4. This certainly wasn’t a case of Bangor not turning up, Aber were simply brilliant on their day. Not a single player had a bad game, and with Bangor seemingly holding the height advantage, Aber had the pace. The second quarter opened with Bangor once again wasting chances, with Lorien Chadwick making a nuisance of herself in defense, repeatedly blocking
chance after chance for Team Aber, only to send it back up for the field for the frankly prolific Aber attackers. Bangor were not however being made to rue missed opportunities, Aber made it 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, before Bangor even got a sniff at the net, and even then, Aber responded immediately with another, and another to finish the half 28-10 leaders. Bangor started the third quarter better, taking three baskets for Aber’s one. Aber’s movement was better though, and on the break, captain Lucy Purser set up countless more baskets. Aber finished the third quarter 3519 up, and then simply finished the job. While Bangor attempted to get their act together again, and for once began defending well, they wasted too much time in front of Aber’s basket without scoring. In the end it was far too late and the match ended with a trouncing. It had only just gone midday and Aber already had their fingertips on the trophy.
2-7 down, to take the match; 11-7, 11-6. The day’s only five-game match followed, with Aber’s Lloyd Fisher winning an incredibly close contest. Fisher won the match, and was quick to congratulate his opponent after the long battle. At this point, spirits were high in both camps, with Tomas Awdry rousing the Aber team with some inspiring speeches. Aber were unlucky to lose some later games, with Josh Waterhouse and Gwion Jones falling to defeat at the hands of talented Bangor opposition. The day then turned again in Aber’s favour as Joe
Laird and Tim Lill both demonstrated great skill around the court to win what were again closely contested matches. With the win already secured, the excitement was still high around court as Aber’s captain Thomas Penberthy took to the court, unlucky to eventually lose 3-1. After the match, Penberthy told us: “He [my opponent] is just a good player, he forced my mistakes”. Aber emerged victorious overall with a 7-3 win, and Penberthy commented on his team’s enjoyment of the day, saying that everyone had played well.
Ed Cullen Aber: 47 Bangor: 23
Above: Team Aber netball girls attack the goal; Below: The victorious netball seconds savour their victory
SQUASH Andrew Simpson Aber: 7
Bangor: 3 ABERYSTWYTH University Squash Club’s ten-man team beat Bangor 7-3. Tomas Awdry of Aber was victorious in the opener, winning the game 116, 11-8, 11-5. Aber followed Awdry’s win with a string of further victories, as Jack Cunningham and Matthew Hay defeated their opponents. Sam Batey then produced an inspiring comeback from
MEN’S HOCKEY SQUEEZE PAST BANGOR WOMEN’S FOOTBALL James Ruff Aber: 1
Bangor: 0 IT WAS AN ALL-OR-NOTHING game with high stakes, and Team Aber’s Men’s 1st team emerged victorious over Bangor in their Varsity game, with the final score 1-0 to Aber. Drawing a large crowd of both Aberystwyth and Bangor supporters from various sports, the scene was set for a very close and exceptionally fast game of hockey. The game began with a strong start from the Aberystwyth boys, captained by Rory Anderson, who were persistently testing the Bangor defence, but Bangor did not succumb to the pressure. The game took a strange twist as a Bangor player, the infamous ‘Number 37’, was given a green card for having his stick higher than his shoulder when intercepting an aerial pass, which is illegal and deemed dangerous in hockey. Team Aber continued to keep the play inside Bangor’s half, with Bangor making the occasional break and run at goal, often to be broken down by the Aber defence. Bangor’s defence was also performing well under the strain of the Aber attack, although both sides still managed to keep up the high speed of play. At half time the score was still 0-0, with the atmosphere starting to grow as both teams were determined to get a goal, which came not long after the restart. Bangor provided an own goal, with an assist from Aber’s Chris Hardy, to send the Aberystwyth crowd into a frenzy of cheering and bagpipe music. Yes,
bagpipe music. Shortly after, the cards came out again for ‘Number 37’ who had committed the same offence, resulting in a yellow card, meaning Bangor were down to 10 men for five minutes. The theme of carding continued as one of Aber’s players was given a yellow card for the same infringement, and another Bangor player was given a yellow too. Towards the end of the game the play started to get aggressive, with both Aber and Bangor making attacks at each others’ goals, and the frustration building up got too much for a Bangor player who was given a green card for reportedly swearing at the umpire’s decisions. The game came to an end with another yellow for Aber for intercepting an aerial shot too high. The celebrations after the final whistle were very loud as all the Aber supporters celebrated to the audience of a devastated and dejected Bangor crowd. When asked to sum up the game in one word, the Bangor Captain said “spirited”, which is very true as the Bangor team gave it their all. Alas it was not to be their day, as it belonged to Aberystwyth who finished their season on a big high.
WOMEN’S TENNIS Jack Hocking Aber: 12 Bangor: 0
AFTER a strong 12-0 victory in last year’s Varsity, hopes were high for Jade Skinner’s team and they certainly did not disappoint. The afternoon began with two convincing displays in the doubles, with the partnerships of Skinner and Lottie Vaughan, and Kerry Clare and Becky Antill both sweeping aside their counterparts 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets.
The women’s team momentum showed no signs of stopping as the singles
Dave Webber Aber: 3
Bangor: 0 A BRACE from Tash Hill and another from Grace Ticehurst secured a 3-0 victory for Aberystwyth over Bangor in the Women’s Football. Incredibly windy conditions at Blaendolau did not help the game. A slow start preceded a succession of corners which was followed by some brilliant combination play between Niamh Murphy and Holly Marshall which opened up the Bangor defence. The second half started much like the first one had finished, with neither team controlling the game, so perhaps it was unsurprising that the first goal came the way that it did. Within minutes, a poor Bangor goal kick was intercepted by Grace Ticehurst who played in Tash Hill. Stepping inside, she fired in a shot which nestled into the bottom corner after the keeper failed to react. Lifted by breaking the deadlock, Aber took control of the game and continued to put pressure on Bangor in and out of possession. Tash Hill then got her second, a 30 yard screamer, into the top right that was too powerful for the Bangor keeper to stop despite getting a hand to it. A defensive mix-up allowed Grace Ticehurst to get in and score the third with twenty minutes to go. Bangor failed to challenge challenge and Aber keeper Chelsea Maiklem had no major issues, leaving Aber to easily see out the rest of the game.
matches began. Captain Skinner made light work of her Bangor rival clearing her aside in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. Becky Antill also delivered a substantial straight sets victory 6-0, 6-4. Lottie Vaughan recovered from an early setback in her first set to win a third set tie-breaker 10-4, and Kerry Clare completed the rout in the final women’s match of the afternoon. Spirits have been high in the women’s camp this year as the four players finished with a strong BUCS showing, and another 12-0 flattening in Varsity. Only one set dropped in all six matches was the icing on the cake for a strong year for Aber women’s tennis.
SPARKS BRACE SEES “CLASSY” 10 MAN ABER BEAT BANGOR Joe Benton Aber: 2
Bangor: 1 A FAST start from Team Aber showed weaknesses in the Bangor defence early on with Tom Court rapidly closing down the opposition, giving them no time to play. It was a dominant opening and Aber looked like a side that appreciated the meaning of their Captain’s last Varsity, contesting and often winning any 50/50 chances. It was clear that the game at the hallowed Blaendolau playing fields had a spicy atmosphere with both teams eager to show their physical presence early on. Bangor linked together several short passes leading to a shooting opportunity which was keenly closed down by Aber’s Ben Jenkins who came into contact with both ball and man. Referee Mikey Brason, obviously not wanting to show a home side bias, deemed the challenge illegal and gave a straight red. A shocked Jenkins took the dubious red card well whilst the fans vocalised their thoughts on the seemingly harsh decision. Already filled with the passion deserving of the yearly derby, the
sending off had a clear effect on the Aber players. They were riled up and energy levels all over the pitch reached new heights. Mathew Perry showed why he’s Captain of Team Aber with great control on the ball and superb distribution. Continued pressure from Aber lead to a free kick on the ride hand side. The experienced Dave Daly stepped up and
whipped in a superb ball which was well met by Tom Sparks who placed it in the back of the net, much to the jubilation of fellow players and spectators. An assured Aber looked well worth their 1-0 lead and closed out the first half with composure and hardly seemed a side down to ten men. With the second half underway, Aber continued their strong performance with
BASKETBALL Robert Sheargold Bangor: 65 Aber: 38
POINTS lost early on from this fast paced Women's Basketball game proved to show that luck was not on the side of the skillful Aber team who fell to a hardworking and well organised Bangor team. There is no doubt that this highly anticipated match could easily have gone either way. The first tip off went to Bangor, which led to a quick penalty converted by number 44 who looked sharp throughout the match. The skirmishes of the Aberystwyth team paid dividends in the first quarter as they took an early lead. However, this was short-lived as much of the first quarter resulted in Bangor working the ball well and leaving number 18 open for an array of three point attempts in which she converted more often than not. Towards the end of the first quarter, the away side extended their lead through
neat play in transition, as number 44 in the ‘big man’ role dominated the key leaving Aberystwyth 7 points astray. The second quarter saw a brighter start from Aberystwyth, most noticeably Aber's Nicolina Chrysaphi, driving the net in the early encounters drawing two penalties and numerous lay ups, altogether energising the rest of the women who managed to pull it back to 22-20 mid-way through the period. For larger parts of the third quarter, the momentum favoured the Aberystwyth women whose well-constructed buildup was often squandered when it fell to the attempts on the net. This cost them dearly as they ended the quarter 20 points behind Bangor. Fresh legs was the theme of the last quarter, as the teams changed up to dire consequences for Aberystwyth. Countless half court steals and breakaways left Aberystwyth hanging out to dry, as the score rocketed to 65-38 which unfairly reflect a Bangor rout, when in truth it was a tighter affair for much of the game.
Bangor showing no real signs of a goal. About 30 minutes of much more cagey football passed with limited chances for either side until Aber’s Ryan Devlin played a superb through ball to Sparks who deftly finished for his second and a 2-0 lead. The atmosphere was electric and it was clear that Aber wanted this victory more than their North Wales counterparts. A rare break from Bangor late on in the game lead to a powerful strike on goal which was bravely blocked by Perry. Successive saves from the Aber keeper eventually left the ball at the Bangor number 11’s feet who took his opportunity, and side-footed into the goal, making it 2-1. With the goal coming late and Aber showing real composure, Bangor had no more chances for an equaliser. The final whistle blew and 90 minutes of exciting and enthralling football were over with Aberystwyth the deserved winners of the 2014 Varsity men’s football match. Captain Perry told ASM, “This is the first time we’ve beaten Bangor in Varsity and it feels amazing. So proud of the lads.” Excellent support from the fans and a superb attitude on the pitch meant that this will be one to remember for Aberystwyth and a long journey back for Bangor.
WOMEN’S RUGBY Harry Taylor Aber: 32 Bangor: 0
IN A ONE-SIDED fixture, Team Aber Womens’ Rugby team dominated their opposition, going on to win 32-0. The home side focused a lot of their play through the centre of the field and it was through this tactic that the game’s first try was scored after 10 minutes, some hard work allowing Aber to get the ball over the line, although the conversion was missed. A sin-bin for Bangor’s number 10 after a high tackle followed with Aber going in to the half-time break in the lead 10-0. The second half continued in the same vein after the break, with Aber being frustrating to watch at times, and the score could have been far higher. But the highlight of the game came mid-way through the half, most-valuable player Hannah Parry going on a scintillating 30 yard run past five players to get the try.
TEAM ABER SECURE WIN IN TIGHTEST OF ENCOUNTERS Nick Robinson Aber: 59 Bangor: 58
IN A BREATHLESS contest, Aberystwyth Men’s Basketball team staved off a late Bangor fightback to secure their first Varsity victory in five attempts. Bangor rallied incredibly from a huge 13 point deficit in the 4th quarter to move within just one point of Aber with 1.6 seconds left on the clock. Yet after a tense combination of missed free throws and Bangor jeers and general un-sportsmanship, President David Geddes told me of how great it was to “finally get a win over Bangor”. Aberystwyth battled and matched up to Bangor’s strength and guile in the opening two quarters and moved into a comfortable 33-28 lead, thanks
SHOWDANCE Cassie Smyth Aber: 641
Bangor: 541.5 ABERYSTWYTH Show Dance beat Bangor University in seven out of nine different categories. Team Aber won both the beginner and advanced ballet routines and Aber’s beginners secured the win in the tap battle. The advanced tap got even more heated with increasingly technical steps, Aber danced a fun 1920’s number, but ultimately Bangor’s technical army style tap was a little sharper and triumphed. The lyrical/contemporary round also showcased a lot of talent with Bangor choosing a dark, contemporary style and Aber taking a lighter, more lyrical approach. Both universities (Continued from back page) the pick-and-drive before unleashing flanker Colin Overend for a try in the corner. A herculean effort from fly-half Jones almost added another two points, but Aber entered the half 12-3 ahead. Bangor’s scrum was consistently and categorically dismantled in the second half, yet the Bangor defence remained resolute. Aber stepped up the pressure, using big ball carriers such as Dan James-Walter, Llywelyn Williams, Nick West, and Howells in an attempt to give
to a dominant MVP Matt Jones’ 9 points inside the paint. President Geddes had a superb first half, blocking main threat Bigley with a huge knock-down, whilst driving through a sea of bodies to claim a decisive lay-up and subsequent free-throw. Into the third quarter, and it was ‘all good in the hood’, as Aber held a ten point lead throughout. Fresher, Derek Hood, took to the floor and disposed the shot of the season, much to the delight of the team and crowd, dancing past a screen and flicking a gorgeous windmill layup over the outstretched arms of 3 Bangor players, twice the size. One Bangor baller took this personally as he unacceptably floored an unprovoked Hood, resulting in a technical foul. Aber struggled in the fourth, only hitting 9 points, with two travelling calls allowing Bangor back in to the
match. With noise levels increasing, the notorious and outspoken Bigley pulled a huge 3-pointer with just 8 seconds to spare for Bangor and it was hearts in mouths time for all inside the packed gym. Despite four missed free throws from Morgan and Geddes, Aber held on, with Morgan dedicating the victory to Scott Gordon who suffered a horrible injury earlier in the season. Purely for the history alone and four tortuous years of defeat, I think this can go down as the performance of Varsity. Captain Lindane Dube and charismatic coach Jan Ruzicka will undoubtedly be proud – and quite rightly so.
danced beautifully but Aber’s more classical style was ultimately victorious, knocking them out with stunning turn sequences and fantastic choreography. In the final stage of the competition both of the beginner jazz teams brought high energy routines to the stage, however it was Bangor who won the round with their 1950s inspired dance. Towards the end of the event, Bangor showcased their skills with a fast paced routine, but Aberystwyth’s atmospheric jazz number had the crowd dancing along, the perfect ending to this year’s Varsity Show Dance Event.
Jones a platform to work on the outside. There was a period of around five minutes in the second half where Aber were camped in Bangor’s 22, meeting stubbornness with siege. The siege succeeded in the end as flanker Connor Ward powered over for the decisive try, which was duly converted by Jones. A minute from full-time, Aber converted a penalty to make it 22-3. After the game, Bangor lock-forward George Morris was in a sombre mood: “I’m really proud of us, we played our
Alex Pike Aber: 6
Bangor: 5 TEAM Aber arrived at the Sports Cage hopeful of repeating their 5 – 4 win from last year. Spectators were helpfully told not to get shot, to which they responded with a cheer, and from this the excitement grew. All the sets took place at once and as the first few pairings came to a close, neither side were particularly looking like a clear leader. When the judge announced the final score, it was revealed that there was only one point in it, and Team Aber were declared the victors, the Aber Archers extending Aberystwyth’s Varsity lead with a 6 – 5 win. hearts out, just gutted we didn’t win, that’s all”. Commenting on the specifics of their loss, he added that “The scrum didn’t go our way, defence went well, but they played off our mistakes really”. Captain of Aber, Matt Spicer reflected on the game: “in the first half, we didn’t play very clinically. But second half we played with composure even though we had a few things go against us, but overall, I think we deserved to win that”. He paid tribute to Bangor, adding that “Bangor’s defence was very good, especially since last year”.
ABER RUGBY UNION TRIUMPH 22-3 WIN OVER BANGOR ICING ON THE CAKE FOR TEAM ABER
Men’s First Team Captain, Matt Spicer, surges forward to bring the trophy home for Team Aber
Caleb Spencer IF THERE was any doubt as to the importance of Varsity, then the atmosphere at the rugby club last night will have put to bed any such thoughts. The venue, the home of Aberystwyth RFC, was a superb choice for the Men’s Rugby Union and especially on such a beautiful spring evening with such a volume of vocal and passionate supporters. Three unanswered tries from Sam Howells, Colin Overend, and Connor Ward secured what was, in the end, a comfortable 22-3 victory for Aberystwyth. Some heroic, and sometimes brutal, Bangor defending certainly gave them
a run for their money, and if it wasn’t for Aber’s clear dominance in the scrum, Bangor might have had a better platform from which to attack. Early Aber pressure invariably came in the form of the ball-carrying abilities of loosehead prop and manmountain, Sam Howells. Although his storming runs did relieve some pressure on the backs, Aber’s handling errors and a missed kick to touch cost them much of their hard-earned possession. In the tenth minute of the game, Aber were penalised for a late tackle and the penalty was coolly converted by Bangor fly-half and captain, Dom Hogan, making it 0-3. With Bangor smelling blood,
they continued to put pressure on the Aber defence, and in the 15th minute they were rewarded with another penalty from 30 metres directly in front of the posts. On this occasion, Hogan was unable to convert and there was a palpable sense of a missed opportunity amongst the Bangor fans. Some exciting hands and footwork from Aber captain Matt Spicer, full-back Will Lowe, and winger Chris Dennehy brought Aber deep into opposition territory only for a crucial pass to be dropped. From the resulting scrum near Bangor’s five-metre line, a big Aber push won them the ball within striking distance and Howells was able to receive the ball at pace, and power his
way through for Aber’s first score. Aber fly-half Patrick Jones was able to convert from a tricky angle to make it 7-3. The turning point in the game came five minutes before the half, when Bangor winger Ethan Morris was put in the sinbin for a dangerous tackle on Aber winger Dennehy. There were immediate and loud cries of protest from large sections of the crowd and Dennehy was forced to exit the game prematurely due to injury. Aber were clearly determined to punish Bangor for their indiscipline and the opportunity came about a minute from half-time. After winning their own line out on the Bangor 22, Aber utilised (Continued on page 7)
Varsity coverage produced with thanks to Sam Meadows, Mitch Rushton, Kisha Matthew, Rhian Hughes, Harry Taylor, Laura Say, Nick Robinso, Cameron Smyth, Alex Pike, Andrew Simpson, Ed Cullen, Poppy Tester, Tomos Nolan, Tom Davies, Rebecca James, Lauren Roberts, James Ruff, Sarah Thornhill, Alex Tanton, Ryan Owens, Cassie Smyth, Alasdair Park, Adam Bright, Caleb Spencer, Joe Benton, Jack Hocking, Dave Webber, Robert Sheargold, Finn Shillitto, Nadine El-Amani, Huw Carey, Andy Burridge, Aisling Gallagher and thank you to Liv Prewett and the Activities Office.
The special edition of the Courier, covering the 2014 Varsity between Aberystwyth and Bangor