There are multiple things that come to mind when thinking about the University of Leeds – LUU, Parkinson steps, Bakery 164, Fruity and Varsity!
For those who may not have heard of Leeds Varsity before, it is the annual sports competition between arch-rivals University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. The event begins in January with multiple fixtures throughout the year and culminates at the beginning of October with the traditional Rugby Finale at Emerald Headingley Stadium where more than 10,000 students gather every year to support their teams in winning the trophy.
As a final year student at the University of Leeds who hadn’t previously been to the Leeds Varsity Rugby Finale before, I thought this would be my last chance to attend this event and support my university team. I therefore got my ticket and so on the evening of the 2nd of October 2019, I was dressed in green and ready to go watch the game.
As soon as I got to the stadium with my friends, I could hear the excitement. Students, either dressed in purple (supporting Leeds Beckett University) or in green (supporting the University of Leeds), were cheering and singing their favourite chants before the start of the game. The mascots were also on the pitch, trying to excite the crowd before the players came on. The game kicked-off soon after and the atmosphere was truly electric. Imagine a stadium packed with more than 10,000 students cheering on their favourite teams.
Soon, we were 5 min away from half-time. The game had been so intense that it was difficult to keep up with what was going on. Both teams were focused and ready to do whatever it took to win the trophy. The score was 5-3 to Leeds Beckett at half-time, but that did not stop the Gryphon (the University of Leeds team) fans to continue cheering on to keep up the team morale.
The second half was not easy to watch either – as the game progressed, one could feel the pressure mounting both on the pitch, as well as in the crowd. Unfortunately, Leeds Beckett was leading with 25-9 and even though the Gryphons regained their composure and fought as hard as possible until the last minute, the game ended with a final score of 25-16 for Leeds Beckett.
Even though Leeds Beckett took the Varsity title this year, I am sure the Gryphons will be making a comeback next year and bringing the trophy back home. The game was still really fun to watch and the fact that University of Leeds students were all united throughout it was really electrifying. I would recommend that anyone studying at the University of Leeds attends the Varsity game at least once during their undergraduate/postgraduate degree as it’s a truly memorable experience!