There is nothing like the agonising wait for revenge to inspire athletes to run half a second quicker or to tackle with the intensity that is sometimes missing from routine league matches.
That is what made the Derby Day victory for UEA last year all the more sweeter. Essex had been clear winners in 2012’s annual meeting, ensuring that 2013s effort, on home soil, would be a chance to prevent the unthinkable for UEA. Two straight Essex wins.
It wasn’t just the quality of the opponents that stood in UEA’s way of reclaiming the honours in March 2013. Heavy snowfall had thrown some of the outdoor matches into jeopardy, with five of the outdoor matches forced to be moved to different locations.
While American football outfit UEA Pirates saw the encounter with their Essex counterparts called off completely, volunteers worked hard to clear the tennis and netball courts. Their efforts were rewarded as both the netball first and second teams won their respective matches just prior to a hail storm.
By quarter past two, UEA appeared to have run away with proceedings, with the women’s and men’s badminton team having claimed victory and ballet and futsal not far behind in seeing off the visitors.
Fifteen minutes later, the downtrodden Essex finally claimed their first victory of the day, as the pole dancing team were edged out by 37 points.
As the women’s football team earned a 2-1 win at Colney Lane, the Sportspark was bouncing after the men’s hockey side came out on top in a 5-4 win.
There was slight confusion for the UEA cyclists after the officials needed extra time to determine who the winners were in the time trials amid awful conditions. Eventually, the win was awarded to the home side as UEA began to romp towards a crushing victory over their rivals.
Despite the women’s hockey team surrendering a 1-0 lead and eventually the game 3-2, the trampolining group won to all but ensure the title was UEA’s.
In arguably one of the matches of the day, the UEA men’s basketball team came from 33-26 down at the interval to win 63-59, sending the Sportspark into raptures.
While the hundreds of spectators set to amass on the Essex campus will be hoping for this year’s Derby Day to emulate the drama of 12 months ago, the participating UEA teams would undoubtedly settle for a series of scrappy wins if it means returning to Norfolk with yet another Derby Day win in their back pockets.
Concrete will be providing live coverage of all of this year’s games via the twitter feed (@concretesport).