Well, what a day that was! We were blessed with bright sunshine and some stunning sporting performances for Derby Day 2019. The sunburn and hangovers will be more than worth it for those of us who were lucky to witness and be part of another amazing UEA day.

On days like that it really seems as if campus has been given a lift, I think.

With the cancellation of Pimp My Barrow, Derby Day was the one event this year which really had the potential to bring together UEA. And it delivered. There’s no doubt that in a lot of areas this year has hardly been a wonderful one for UEA, but sport has bucked the trend. And the power of sport to excite and inspire campus can’t be underestimated when you look back at the pictures of the packed Square and pitch sidelines rows deep with spectators.

And for the seventh year in a row, UEA emerged victorious. There were individual highs and lows – personal success stories and individual club triumphs which a sixteen page pull-out could not hope to scratch the surface of.

My club, Lacrosse, recorded a double-victory for the first time in our history as the men finally overcame Essex. For years they’ve been hoping it would be their year to match the women and in 2019 it finally was. The team was fitter, better prepared and hungrier than ever and they came out with a dramatic late win. The women made it nine Derby Day victories in a row – an impressive run to keep up.

There was no shortage of drama elsewhere either. Men’s Rugby was a close affair which ended in a great win for UEA to cap a superb season for Fraser Harrop’s club. Some of our leading lights in local leagues this season like Squash, Korfball and Netball picked up wins in the Sportspark, Netball’s 31-30 win was particularly tense, Squash’s 5-0 and 4-1 scorelines particularly comfortable. Swimming also triumphed 11-0 and Climbing claimed wins across the board. Cheer Stunt made up for a disappointing last competition with the Derby Day win the club wanted.

Men’s Hockey made much lighter work of Essex than they did last year with a comfortable win, while you can read Madeleine Bracey’s account of a tense Cricket match which UEA won with a six off the last ball. Essex forfeited women’s Hockey, but with a few UEA players bolstering their ranks, the teams still played a friendly match which was one of the day’s best spirited events.

We saw pitch invasions, passion and the fruition of a lot of hard work, capping off the most successful year in UEA sporting history.

And it’s been a privilege to have been a part of it. Thanks to all our contributors this year, the clubs we’ve featured, Oli Gray, everyone in the UEA Sport office for all their help and the individuals who have helped make Concrete Sport what it is. And if your club hasn’t had too many mentions this year, make sure you get in touch with my successor who I’m sure will be happy to get you involved next season!

All the best,

Tony Allen, Concrete Sport Editor 2018-19.