Third time proved to be quite the charm at this year’s Challenge Cup as UEL beat Anglia Ruskin University to lift the trophy for the first time in the competition’s three year history.
With athletes competing in 19 different sports at five different venues, the stakes were high on easily the hottest day of the year so far. But the rising mercury did little to deter competitors from either university in the outdoor events. Not even American football, where the teams were covered in enough layers and helmuts to insulate an ice pack. Indoors, Sportsdock came alive with crowd-pleasing basket, competitor-bruising Tae Kwon Do and an especially breathless team rowing event that seemed much more fun to watch than to participate in. Approximately 400 spectators turned out to watch the proceedings at some point or venue during the competition.
The title was already decided long before the final events of the day: the ladies’ and men’s football games at Hackney Marshes, which were both won by UEL (7-0 and 5-0 respectively). Admittedly, lack of motivation on behalf of ARU may have set in by this point with no cup to play for! But all players and supporters enjoyed the end of the afternoon, with music on the sidelines, a free BBQ for the athletes and smaller games of football and rugby breaking out amongst the fans. The final score across all events was 14-5 in UEL’s favour, with ARU’s five victories coming in women’s badminton, indoor rowing, men’s volleyball, netball and mixed hockey. By the time the day drew to a close, no one could deny they were privileged to have been part of one of the most memorable events of the academic year so far.