Concrete caught up with UEA Tennis to see how they think they will fare in this year’s Derby Day. Ben Place, President of Tennis, explained how challenging it is to beat the Essex boys.

“I think playing Essex always poses one of our most difficult matches of the year. We know they have some top quality, with our firsts not having beaten theirs for quite a few years. We have gained a couple players that improve our squad, although I know Essex will have also improved.

“For the men it will definitely be tough, although our women’s team will be looking to make it two wins in a row after smashing them last year at home.”

One of the biggest changes this year is UEA only being allowed to take their first teams. Ben commented on this alteration, saying it was “nothing new” for their team: “Essex don’t have the court space to facilitate what we can back at UEA.”

Derby Day will officially be held on a Wednesday – when UEA hosts it on a Saturday. Ben said support for UEA will still be strong. He said: “I think Derby Day could happen on any day of the week and we would still get people heading down to support. It is disappointing that we are not allowed to take supporters with us, although I can understand the reasoning behind it after the incidents from last year.”

He continued: “At the end of the day, Derby Day is such a fantastic day which deserves to include everyone, but if a few individuals are unable to control themselves then it will and has led to ruining for the majority.”

UEA has proved themselves to be head and shoulders above Essex, boasting five consecutive wins from 2013-2017. Should UEA throw down the gauntlet to another university for a fresh challenge? Ben stated: “I think Derby Day with Essex is beginning to lose the great sporting rivalry as we just expect to beat them year in year out. It would certainly make for an interesting change-up to play against a better sporting university.

“I’ve heard Warwick are getting noisy…”