Varsity on ice

The Big Match: University of Nottingham v Nottingham Trent University

Earlier this week I attended the annual Nottingham v Trent Varsity ice hockey match. It really is a fantastic sporting event and must be the biggest of its kind in UK higher education. With a sell-out crowd of over 7,000 the atmosphere was terrific.

Facing off

Facing off

It was a pretty good game too. Some of the rules remain a little unclear to the uninitiated but the level of enthusiasm from both sets of fans was a constant feature.


Under way

Trent Students’ Union magazine has a full match report. It’s not entirely even-handed about the outcome:

All we did know is, Trent lost. Not only that, but Trent lost by a solitary, lonely, tear-inducing goal, 4-3… having raced into a three-nil lead.

But, as disappointing as that is, is the ice hockey Varsity ever really about the result? Well, yes, I guess it is. It’s also about the occasion though, and, as ever, the Varsity event of the year delivered.


The celebrations begin

The infamous chanting didn’t take long to get going at the start of the night. The ever graceful University of Nottingham fans greeted the announcement of all the Trent players with a delightful, “SHIT!” but hey, as their favourite and not-in-any-way-shape-or-form irritating chant of “UNAAAAY” proves, ingenuity is not their strong point.

The chanting did get more creative (and boorish) and the cheerleaders did some pretty spectacular gymnastic routines to sustain the feverish excitement but the game was only going to end one way after that amazing comeback by the University.

The Nottingham Post has a slightly more balanced report on the match.

It's a win!

It’s a win!

There are of course many Varsity competitions around the UK but I do think this one is rather special.