UEA head into Saturday’s Derby Day events with a slender 3-2 advantage over the University of Essex following victories in the rowing, korfball and a defeat in the equestrian event. It means UEA go into Saturday requiring 32.5 points to claim a fifth successive Derby Day title.
The official timetable of events began last Sunday when the two universities headed to Whitlingham to face off in the men’s and women’s 8s rowing competition. The men were up first and true to form put their Essex counterparts to the sword, crossing the line 57 seconds ahead of their beleaguered opponents. With the first point secured, the women’s team then stepped forward and after a strong start opened up a convincing lead on the glistening Whittlingham waterways, eventually triumphing by a huge one minute and 37 second margin.
With a sixth consecutive UEARC victory over Essex in the bag it was down to the mixed sex korfball team to continue the UEA dominance on Monday night at Sportspark. After UEA initially went 2-0 up in the contest, Essex fought back to draw the scores level at 2-2 before taking a shock 3-2 lead just after half time. UEA, though, soon exhibited the quality that had seen the side crowned BUCS National Champions just 24 hours earlier and quickly reversed their fortunes, going 4-3 up in a matter of minutes. A slick passing move then saw UEA turn defence into attack to take a 5-3 lead and from then on in the hosts never looked back in the contest, securing a comprehensive 12-4 victory to complete a stunning two days of success for UEA Korfball.
Following the early success of korfball and rowing there were high hopes for the UEA Riding Team on Wednesday with their competition taking place at the Weston Equestrian Centre in Weston Longville. With the horses proudly displaying their rainbow laces around the bridle, the UEA girls gave it their best effort but were unfortunately beaten by the away side as Essex claimed their first points of the Derby Day schedule. This event counted for two Derby Day points and as such almost entirely wipes out UEA’s early dominance. There was one bright spot for UEA rider Chelsey Cordell, however, who achieved individual second in the jumping competition.
It means that going into Saturday’s main event on the UEA campus, it is UEA who hold the advantage with a narrow 3-2 lead.
The weekend’s programme of events begin at Sportspark at 10:20am on Saturday when the archery competition gets underway, and that is followed at 11am by a whole raft of sports including American football, dance, netball and squash. Elsewhere the opening games of the football and rugby events kick-off at 12pm over at Colney Lane on what should be a whole afternoon of terrific grassroots sport.
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