2019 offers a lot to look forward to for UEA’s sport clubs. We have two undefeated Hockey teams in the local leagues, an undefeated Rugby side who top the BUCS table, Football teams making the whole of Norfolk sit up and take notice in league and cup, plus several teams heading to national competitions to take their place among the best university teams in the country. Add to that a whole load of fundraising events and initiatives aimed at encouraging students to take part in sport, plus the packed first week of May which includes Derby Day and Alumni weekend, the New Year is shaping up to be a very good one indeed. Concrete caught up with some of the key figures in UEA Sport to ask what they are most looking forward to in 2019…

‘2019 is going to be an exciting year for Judo. It’s our second year at BUCS which we are incredibly excited about, with a few first time BUCS fighters. We are also hosting a couple fundraising events, including one for The Matthew Project this January.’ – Neith Charlesworth, UEA Judo Secretary and Coach

‘As a club we’re looking forward to building on last semester’s amazing work. With two teams winning 12/12 games in the league and the indoor team taking the regional title, we’re in a great position to get at least two of our four local league teams promoted. And starting this semester top of our BUCS division, as well as still alive in the cup quarter final, leaves us with a real possibility to have an extremely successful 2019. But of course our highlight of 2019 will be Derby Day, where we’re looking to take down Essex for the seventh time in a row!’ – Fraser Smith, UEA Men’s Hockey President

‘If I had to give my top three sport events, I’d say UEA Strictly is well up there; it’s UEA Dancesport’s annual event where sports club members are coached in a variety of Ballroom and Latin dances and come together to perform in the LCR, which is being held on 18 March. It’s really great to see all the clubs come together and try something different. I’m also really looking forward to the Sports Awards where we’ll be celebrating the year’s achievements from all our clubs, which is always a great night. And finally, it goes without saying that now we’re in 2019 Derby Day will soon be upon us! This year it’s our turn to host the annual varsity against Essex University and we’ve been working closely with their SU to plan the best Derby Day yet, so I’m really looking forward to 1 May.’ – Oli Gray, UEA SU Activities and Opportunities Officer

‘I’m looking forward to Cambridge’s Lacrosse team coming down to Colney Lane in the league on 30 January. It’ll be the fourth time we’ve played them this season and it’s always a good game. Our clubs have a very friendly relationship off the pitch which is nice. The boys also have a very good chance of staying up in Midlands 1A, a result they would have been delighted with at the start of the season after promotion last term.
‘The women have two huge league games both home and away against Derby this semester, and are also through to the quarter-final of the Conference Cup which promises to be a great occasion at Colney Lane. I also can’t wait to see if the men’s first and third Hockey teams can end the season unbeaten, if the footballers can bring home some silverware, and, of course, I’m already counting down the days until Derby Day – can we make it seven in a row overall, and can our Lacrosse men finally get the win they’ve wanted for years?’ – Tony Allen, Concrete Sport Editor

‘As a club we have so much to look forward to in the upcoming year. Kicking it off on 6 February at 8:30pm in the Sportspark we have our annual showcase. This will be the first opportunity for people outside of the club to view our new routines, including the routine that our competition team will compete with nationally, as well as two performances from Show Squad. Cheer Stunt is also extremely excited to announce that we will be once again organising the Blind Date event, which was hugely popular last year – details to follow soon. On top of this we look forward to continuing to cheer at American Football games, have bake sales, and, of course, we also have Derby Day to look forward to.’ – Nicole Bellamy, UEA Cheer Stunt Show Squad Captain

‘UEA Sport are excited to announce a new innovative range of activities available to UEA students to help enhance their physical and mental wellbeing. ‘Navigate Norfolk’ activities begin this January and include trips to a range of Norfolk beauty spots such as Horsey and Cromer, regular dog walking sessions on campus, and recreational cycling sessions around Norwich. These are a great way for students to try new things and enjoy being active.’ – Joseph Skeet, UEA Sports Coordinator

‘At the heart of UEA Sport’s participation programmes is The Ziggurat Challenge; UEA’s unique intra-mural sports competition that sees its academic schools compete in over 20 different sports across the academic year. The School of Biology are currently in the lead, but it could all change this semester as academic schools compete in a wide range of sports; from the more traditional badminton and archery, to the slightly more unconventional zorb football and tug-o-war. The Ziggurat Challenge is free to take part and open to anyone, just get in touch with us if you have any questions or want to participate.’ – Bayley Wooldridge, UEA Sports Coordinator

‘After an amazing first semester the future is looking bright for UEA Sport on the competitive side. Ending 2018 in 40th place in the BUCS championships is testament to the hard work and dedication of the students and coaches so far. The second semester sees UEA Sport represented in a huge range of cup competitions; it’s time for our individuals to shine, and we’re all really excited to see how far we can go. In addition, we’ve got the inaugural Alumni Challenge Weekend taking place at the end of our festive week of sport (4-5 May), and will be finding out who our next cohort of Scholars will be.’ – Sophie Thomas, UEA Performance Sports Manager

‘We’ve got so much to look forward to this semester in Trampolining, including some great socials and competitions, and especially Derby Day. We compete in Cambridge on 2 February and BUCS takes place this year on the weekend of the 30-3 March. We’re even planning a charity bounce for later in the year, so keep a lookout!
‘The Spring semester is always an exciting one for Dancesport, with one of our biggest competitions at Blackpool on 23 February, Derby Day, and of course, UEA Strictly! UEA Strictly is the highlight of our year, and we look forward to seeing everyone taking part. We’ve also got some great socials lined up, and the annual Dance Show. There’s also the UEA competition coming up soon on 26 January, with entry open to anyone who wants to compete as long as they’re a student.’ -Claire Bilsborough, UEA Trampolining Social Secretary and UEA Dancesport Media Representative

‘Next semester should be a good one for the 2s and the club in general. Despite some hard games towards the end of last semester, we’re looking forward to and feeling positive for our last three games in the coming weeks, which will be very influential for where we finish in the league. After our last match on 6 February we’ll hopefully get a few more friendlies in to give freshers even more game time, and after that we’ll be preparing for Derby Day!’ – Michelle Ward, UEA Lacrosse Women’s 2s Captain

‘We are excited to see the progress of our BUCS team in the Midlands Conference Cup. Having made it through to the quarter-finals, it will be a tough but hopefully rewarding semester! There’s also Derby Day of course – we are hoping to continue our winning streak after last year’s 8-0 thrashing! A personal highlight for me is that I’m very excited to continue fundraising for Meningitis Now. With a total of just over £1,000 raised so far, we are keen to reach even higher – all fundraising events will be advertised on our social media. Annual Dinner is set to be a key night in the UEAHC calendar. With a range of awards from team specifics to ‘Golden Stick’, it’s set to be a fun night for all!’ – Katie Beauchamp, UEA Women’s Hockey President

‘Football on the whole here is in a really good place. For the men, we have an opportunity to really do something good this year. We can finish the Saturday league and get promoted, win the local cups, win the BUCS leagues, and win the BUCS cup. Essentially, winning! We could come away with eight trophies. It could be a really positive year.’ – Paul Neary, UEA Head of Football

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