Last week, UEA won Derby Day for a record fourth time in a row with a hard fought 34-30 victory at the University of Essex’s Colchester campus. The result was far narrower than UEA’s 42.5-19.5 triumph last year on home turf, but despite being a much improved side, Essex still could not close the gap far enough.
UEA went into Derby Day with a 2-0 lead, earned by both the male and female rowing competitions. Early wins in women’s futsal, a 4-0 win, and netball, 31-22, stretched the away advantage to 4-1.
Successes by 3-1 in women’s table tennis, 14-6 in women’s lacrosse, 25-19 in a fierce rugby union encounter and victory in both the men’s and women’s cycling races helped UEA on to an overall win.
There was never a time when Essex were even level on the overall scoreboard, let alone coming close to taking a lead of their own. At one stage UEA held a 12-point lead over their rivals at 28-16.
Further highlights of the day included an annihilation in women’s rugby, where UEA triumphed 89-0. Swimming also proved to be a comprehensive 66-44 win, as did women’s water polo, a 7-0 UEA triumph.
Some of Derby Day 2016’s quirkier moments included the women’s team goalkeeper Georgie Sutton playing for the men’s Lacrosse team (after a late illness) and performing exceptionally well in their 12-3 win. Chants of “Oh UEA is wonderful” greeted anyone who ventured over to the AstroTurf, as the strong contingent of UEA sport team members cheered their colleagues on towards further glory in hockey.
A lack of co-ordination complicated the matter of proclaiming exactly when UEA won. As it turned out, the victory had been confirmed far earlier than anyone thought. A win in Badminton, which took place miles away from the campus, making live reporting difficult, had taken UEA ahead of the magic total of 32.5 points. Essex staged an extraordinary showing in many of the late events to bridge the gap significantly, and made the UEA margin of victory much narrower than it appeared to be heading towards for most of the day.
Women’s tennis was a draw, giving half a point to each side. Three potentially very exciting events were cancelled, American football, cheerleading stunt and boxing. American football was the most frustrating of these cancellations, with the match being cancelled on Monday 18th April (just two days before Derby Day). This was due to a referee not being provided for the game, which UEA have dealt with before in Bucs fixtures with official approval, but Essex refused to participate in those circumstances.
Overall Derby Day 2016 was a resounding success for UEA, and a bitterly disappointing experience for Essex. A fourth win in a row demonstrated the clear superiority that UEA holds in this fierce rivalry.
It is too early to start envisaging a fifth consecutive win, there are certainly some people who are already begining to hope. UEA showed no signs of slowing down and will no doubt continue their imperious form for many years to come.