Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

2022 West London Varsity: Team Brunel secures the trophy

Posted on 1 April 2022 by Felipe Lima

With a pandemic and lockdown seemingly behind us, students from Brunel University and St. Mary’s University faced off yesterday in the highly anticipated West London Varsity.

The expectations were high for both sides as the sporting history and calibre of athletes within each camp, runs deep in the legacy of both of these establishments.

Historically, the safer bet would lay on University as Brunel. This year’s host have been victorious a total of eight times, while St. Mary’s have only registered three overall wins since the first edition of this competition.

But did the current students actually understand the significance of this rivalry? With a vast majority, having never had the opportunity to participate in this event, they had a tricky time knowing what to expect.

A day full of action

With over 15 different sports in the schedule and a lot of matches to be played, the day started early. St. Mary’s students started making their way to the Brunel campus as early as 6am and for most of them, it would be a longer day than they had wished for.

Brunel started strong and quite quickly built up a comfortable margin in the overall. In the morning session, out of the 12 points available, Brunel were able to secure 10.

The story was almost identical in the afternoon session. St. Mary’s could not keep up with the ruthlessness that ran across the majority of the home teams.

In the end, the overall score of the event saw Brunel finish on 24.5 points and St. Mary’s on 5.5 points. A dominant and impressive display by the home teams. But, was there more to be told than first met the eye? Certainly so.

A few incidents that happened during the day, left some of the spectators confused and disappointed: A cancelled match and an abandoned match. Was this a true reflection of what both Universities’ talents were capable of? It could be argued that St. Mary’s left some gas in the tank by leaving a lot of the athletes and players at home.

It’s impossible to ignore a few facts. With the nature of Varsity, if you are the hosting University, you are able to choose the events, which undeniably offers the opportunity to showcase your best and most talented sports.

It’s also entirely possible that travelling between campuses may have also put some of the athletes off. We saw a fraction of the St. Mary’s Athletics team turn up, a Women Football’s and Men’s Volleyball teams turn up with no substitutions and players having to play across a couple of different sports throughout the day in order to make up the numbers.

Another consideration may lay in the fact that, student’s budgets and economic power are increasingly being squeezed. The price of petrol and everything else, having to pay for a T-shirt, which served as an entry ticket even if you were competing, on top of a already pricey club membership, could have priced a few of the essential players out.

This combined with a relatively short-notice in releasing information about the event may have left some athletes with no options or no opportunity to earn the means for this opportunity.

Dominant Brunel

This, in no way, shape or form discredits the dominance of most of the Brunel’s teams. Apart from a convincing win from St. Mary’s Rugby League team, the Lacrosse mixed team, the Weightlifting team and a close and competitive win from Men’s Futsal and Netball first team, the remainder of matches were competently and comfortably won by Brunel.

There were a couple of draws here and there but the only match where everyone lost, was the clash between the Men’s Football second teams. The unfortunate actions from some players and some fans of both sides, caused a very unpleasant scene. A full out brawl broke out in the middle of the pitch and with this violence the following outcome was inevitable.

The referee responsible for this match, had no other choice but to prioritise his and the safety of the players involved and ended up abandoning the match. A faint stain in an event which was almost entirely exciting, thrilling, full of energy and containing skilful sporting action.

Though it’s a very long time in the future, it is certain that players and athletes are already looking forward to competing again. Fingers crossed the first-timers have got the bug for it and enough years left on their degrees to be able to participate again next year. This time, hosted at St. Mary’s University.

For St. Mary’s, it’s back to the drawing board and never too early to start thinking about next year’s edition and how to improve the chances of a closer overall score. For Brunel, remains the glory and bragging rights.

The celebrations are likely to have gone right into the early hours of today so all that is left to do is to congratulate Brunel on winning the West London Varsity 2022.

Scores on each sport

Athletics (W1): Brunel 19-12 St. Mary’s

Athletics (M1): Brunel 32-22 St. Mary’s

Badminton (W1): Brunel 4-1 St. Mary’s

Badminton (M1): Brunel 5-0 St. Mary’s

Basketball (M1): Brunel 89-83 St. Mary’s

Basketball (W1): GAME CANCELLED

Cheerleading: Brunel win

Cricket (M1): Brunel win by 64 runs

Football (W1): Brunel 3-1 St. Mary’s

Football (M5): Brunel 2-1 St. Mary’s

Football (M4): Brunel 0-0 St. Mary’s

Football (M3): Brunel 2-0 St. Mary’s

Football (M2): Brunel 2-2 St. Mary’s GAME ABANDONED 

Football (M1): Brunel 5-1 St. Mary’s

Futsal (W1): Brunel 9-6 St. Mary’s

Futsal (M1): Brunel 2-4 St. Mary’s

Hockey (W1): Brunel 2-1 St. Mary’s

Hockey (M1): Brunel 1-1 St. Mary’s

Lacrosse (Mixed): Brunel 1-21 St. Mary’s

Netball (W2): Brunel 34 – 21 St. Mary’s

Netball (W1): Brunel 36-42 St. Mary’s

Rugby League (M1): Brunel 10-60 St. Mary’s

Rugby Union (W1): Brunel 31-5 St. Mary’s

Rugby Union (M2): Brunel 81-3 St. Mary’s

Rugby Union (M1): Brunel 67-15 St. Mary’s

Table Tennis (M1): Brunel 16-0 St. Mary’s

Tennis (W1): Brunel 5-1 St. Mary’s

Tennis (M1): Brunel 6-0 St. Marys

Volleyball (W1): Brunel 3-0 St. Mary’s

Volleyball (M1): Brunel 3-0 St. Mary’s

Weightlifting (Mixed): Brunel 164-207 St. Mary’s

Find some of the highlights from the day on the video below

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