Posted on 1 December 2011
James visited Durham University this term for a competitive sporting weekend against host College Collingwood.
The annual tournament originated in 2009, when the two college presidents and sports captains saw an opportunity for their students to experience student life at another university whilst playing competitive college sport.
It was James who hosted the opening event against their newfound rivals in February of 2009. Thirty-five Durham students were welcomed by the College who had arranged for a joint social in City of York, before commencing the competition on Saturday where Collingwood narrowly came out on top. Since 2009, the tournament has aimed to remain an annual event, however due to adverse weather last year, the weekend was unable to take place.
Nevertheless, with ideal weather conditions as well as excellent organisation from Ellie Woodcock, Jess Brown and Charlotte Bradley of Collingwood, this year, the two colleges could battle it out once again.
It was Collingwood’s turn to host this unique weekend of competition and camerarderie between the two colleges, and after James arrived late on Friday evening for their exclusive night in Durham, the stage was set for a comprehensive programme of sporting contests to be followed on the Saturday.
Seven fixtures were fought out ranging from squash to mixed lacrosse with each side securing three wins and a draw apiece resulting in an honourable draw overall to finish the weekend.
Collingwood scraped an early lead and set the tone for a dramatic day with a 10-7 tie-break victory on the pool table, but James responded with a comfortable 4-1 win in the squash.
The first half of the lacrosse was played with the mixed rules of no ‘checking’, which Collingwood were noticeably uncomfortable with. Despite the reintroduction of tackling into the game for the second half, with gallant efforts from Munro Robertson and audacious skill from Izzi Mattick, James were able to hold their impressive lead, finishing in a 6-2 thrashing.
Aaron Rolph, a James tutor and mixed lacrosse star found the tournament extremely enjoyable and was pleased to see the partnership reunited.
“When you play university sport, it can be very serious, so it’s nice to be able to play competitively in a friendly and fun atmosphere,” he said.
In the football, however, Collingwood A produced a solid performance winnng 2-1 against James. Collingwood 1st XI produced a solid performance, winning 2-1 against James firsts. A late equaliser from an extremely controversial penalty allowed Collingwood to clinch a draw in the seconds game against the visiting James side.
The netball court was the setting for a dramatic climax, as Collingwood A’s eased to an 18-9 triumph giving them the overall lead. The netball held an especially spirited rivalry as Lauren Woodcock, of James was forced to stand against her own sister, and co-organiser, Ellie. Their relation did not however, make the competition any less heated, a tie or win was all that Collingwood needed from their netball B team to secure the overall win. The girls battled hard through the quarters, never distancing themselves by more than a goal or two. In the end though, it was James who managed to come out on top in a 19-17 finish, thanks to an incredible shooting performance from first year Alison Pullan.
After the game, both colleges expressed relief as well as pride in their teams, in what to proved to be an exceptionally exciting final chapter of the tournament.
The trophy was shared at the presentation ceremony in the Collingwood Bar that evening, where Professor Joe Elliott, Collingwood Principal, praised the event’s atmosphere. Provost Neil Lunt of James College mentioned their intentions of the return leg in the new year.
“We’re looking forward to the return leg to see if the Collingwood rugby team is all it’s cracked up to be!” he said.
James’ incumbent vice-chair, Alia Khalil and College Tutor Aaron Rolph must be thanked for coordinating the teams, fixtures and arrangements that made the away fixture possible, though, Aaron expressed enthusiasm for a bigger and better return event.
“The tournament was a huge success, but was only the beginning of what will hopefully establish itself to be one of the most exciting and comprehensive sports fixtures, for both colleges, all year.” he said.
James are now eager for Collingwood to make the trip to York next year, where the two colleges’ sporting reputation and rivalry will once again be put to the test.