UEA stormed to their fifth consecutive Derby Day win on Saturday, comprehensively defeating Essex by 55 points to 15.
70 events took place across campus during the weekend’s competition in 35 different sports, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which made its first Derby Day appearance at the Sportspark.
UEA took the lead at the start of the competition, recording wins in both the men’s and women’s rowing at Whitlingham early on Sunday morning, as well as taking home the points in the mixed Korfball event on Monday evening. This success followed their crowning as BUCS National Champions just 24 hours earlier.
Although Essex arrived on campus on Saturday morning having closed the gap on the defending champions to just one point following a double success in the equestrian event on Wednesday, it wasn’t long before the home team cemented their leading position, quickly working towards the 35 points necessary for that record-equalling fifth trophy.
Proceedings were a little tense to begin with, as Essex claimed both of the first two available points of the day, with comfortable wins in both the novice and senior archery competitions taking their points total to four alongside UEA’s three. But any nerves were soon dispelled with early victories in the table tennis, squash and in the dance hall, with UEA taking four of the five available points in the dance competition, only allowing Essex glory in hip-hop. Dance points were also awarded to the UEA Angels, whose dance team won the Derby Day point for the first time in the varsity’s history.
The UEA women’s team began the trio of rugby fixtures with one of the most convincing wins of the day, thrashing Essex by 29 points to nil. However, they were in good company, as both of the men’s teams followed suit, with the second and first teams taking comfortable victories of 27-17 and 15-5 respectively.
As the day reached its conclusion and the win became more certain, excitement remained palpable across campus, none more so than at the Sportspark, where the UEA men’s basketball team triumphed in the nailbiting final seconds of the game. Nonetheless, a 64-62 margin in front of a raucous home crowd was enough to secure the point and inch UEA closer to lifting the trophy.
The action was not just confined to campus. Victory dances could be spotted across the county, as several events took place at other facilities.
Despite a loss in the pool in the water polo event, UEA lit up the water in Wymondham, dominating the swimming gala, and only recording a loss in one race throughout the afternoon. This string of wins meant that victory was declared relatively early at around 4:30pm, secured by a 1-0 victory at Colney Lane for the men’s first football team. A goal from Alfie Draper ultimately sealed the overall triumph. However, the celebrations were interrupted by reports of a headbutt from an Essex player and a pitch invasion after the final whistle. The victory was enough for UEA to clinch a fifth successive Derby Day trophy, prompting jubilant celebrations in the square.The trophy was not presented until all of the matches had concluded at around 8:30pm, by which time the party was in full swing.
Joe Zilch, Activities and Opportunities Officer and former head of the Sports Executive praised UEA’s victories. Commenting on the historic win, he said: “I am so proud of our clubs and how far they have come this year – every week they surprise and thrill me with their successes and passion. Saturday was UEA at its best – talented students from across the campus showing Essex how teamwork and achievement is done.”
UEA’s Vice Chancellor, Professor David Richardson, said: “We are very proud that UEA has claimed victory for the fifth consecutive time against The University of Essex. Congratulations to all who took part in Derby Day 2017.”