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James College dominate Autumn term calendar

York's sportiest college living up to its reputation in first term of college sport, dominating the majority of disciplines

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Image Credit: Luke Snell

FOLLOWING A DOMINANT performance in last year’s Varsity from Derwent in the A seed and Vanbrugh in the B, football in autumn term has had a completely different makeup. Goodricke 1s lead the table unbeaten in their five matches with 15 points and James are in second with nine points. It’s looking likely that the two top seeds from last year will play as the third and fourth seeds going into the qualifying tournament for Varsity. This will undoubtedly be a feisty final tournament. Perhaps, sides like Derwent 1s, who performed well in many big games last season (winning the College Cup and the Varsity A seed match), will be able to out-perform the unbeaten Goodricke on the big day. We look forward to that next term.

In the women’s college football, sides have struggled with fielding teams, and the weather has forced matches on 22 Acres to be postponed or can - celled. Last year’s A seed from Varsity; Langwith, failed to field a team against last year’s B seed Alcuin in their most recent fixture. Alcuin have performed well in their first match winning 7-1, alongside James college who outscored Alcuin(not fielding their regular 7) 14-1 the week after. We will look to another exciting qualifiers weekend tournament to see the women’s sides battle it out to try and secure Varsity spots.

Rugby always proves an aggressive match up, both on campus to qualify for Varsity, and against the very cocky Durham sides such as Grey College- who were easily dispatched by James rugby last year 29-12. Derwent took the A seed in Varsity last year but narrowly lost out by only a point. James rugby are currently topping the table, winning the repeat of the Varsity seed decider against Derwent 24-7. Both sides will definitely battle it out with the other three men’s rugby-playing colleges to try and win both varsity fixtures next February.

Women’s rug - by has been making good ground, with teams such as Alcuin hosting somewhat regular training sessions, including a session for York Girl Can week. Hopefully with some help from UYWRUFC as they had last year, the college women’s rugby teams can perform better than this time round. It will likely be in a touch tournament as it was in 2019. Durham have a very prominent college women’s rugby system so hopefully this year will be a good start for York to challenge that.

Netball is proving to be a very tight league this term, except for the ever-present James college team who top the table with 15 points (unbeaten in all five matches so far). They took the B seed last year and won their fixture 29-20 against St Cuthbert’s college from Durham. Last year’s A seed Derwent find themselves in a difficult situation coming towards the end of term. They are drawing on points with two other colleges, Alcuin and Goodricke, but they do have a game in hand on 23 November against Halfiax 1s- who currently have zero points. Netball simply takes the top two sides from division one so it is likely Varsity will see the same sides it did last year but swapped round in terms of seed.

College mixed hockey shows a similar picture, with James mixed 1s dominating the first term table, with 18 points, winning all six of their matches. They thrashed Collingwood College from Durham 5-0 in last year’s Varsity and are looking very likely to qualify and do similar to whoever they come against. The college hockey Varsity side is looking to be different this year with the top four teams qualifying to play against Durham’s respective colleges. This is where the real battle comes into play in the division. Alcuin mixed and Constantine mixed find themselves respectively in fourth and fifth, both on seven points from the same amount of fixtures. They face off, in what will be a very important varsity deciding fixture, on Sunday 24 November.

A key deciding sport last year was badminton which is also dominated by James mixed 1s. Last year’s Varsity was the most successful away day in history (despite the overall loss) York will be looking for a strong home performance. The support will be huge, given the reputation, especially of Derwent fans, which will be known to Durham students and hopefully the dominant James College will generate similar support for the event. Varsity at home will prove to be a real highlight of next term’s sporting calendar. It’s looking likely that James College will be dominating the majority of top seeds. Overall, they are living up to their reputation as the ‘sporty’ college, currently occupying the top sport in men’s rugby, mixed hockey, netball and badminton.

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