Heriot-Watt takes back Varsity Quaich during this year's games

2011’s annual Varsity Day was held on Wednesday, March 16, and with 18 teams competing across 13 sports, was set to be the biggest Varsity to date.

With the sun shining and confirmation that all outdoor sports at Peffermill were to go ahead, it was shaping up to be a big afternoon of sport.

The Varsity Quaich, which the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University fight over every year, is awarded over the results of the five traditional sports - Men’s Football, Men’s and Women’s Hockey, Men’s Rugby and Rowing. It has been a permanent fixture in Edinburgh University’s trophy cabinet for the past three years.

The day kicked off at the CSE with Netball and mixed results. Edinburgh Uni 1sts dominated Heriot Watt 50-25; whilst it was a close match between Edinburgh Uni 5ths and Heriot Watt 2nds, with Heriot Watt managing to hold a 30-27 lead.

Other CSE fixtures were hotly contested, with Heriot Watt forcing a win in Squash when time was short, and Edinburgh controlling the Basketball match with a final score of 77-45. Edinburgh Men’s team also came through in a tense Volleyball match to win in five sets.

Down at Peffermill, the Women’s Hockey was well underway with a frustrating first half for Edinburgh University, being unable to capitalise on a number of chances.

Heriot Watt bucked up in the second half to win 1-0. Both football fixtures were more positive, with Edinburgh University winning both men’s and women’s games: 3-0 between the men’s 1st teams, Heriot Watt 2nds losing 4-3 to Edinburgh Uni 3rds on penalties after a full time score of 1-1, and the Edinburgh ladies dominating their football match 11-3.

With the weather becoming more overcast and the fog setting in, Edinburgh succumbed to pressure in the Men’s Rugby, losing 25-5. At this point, Heriot Watt were on course to win the Quaich, with a score of 2-1 in the traditional sports, and Edinburgh knew the pressure was on for the Men’s Hockey and final fixture of Rowing.

With Edinburgh Uni Men’s 1sts winning once and losing once to Heriot-Watt in their league this year, everyone knew that it would be a close match between these huge sporting rivals.

Edinburgh rose to the occasion and, with great chants and support from the crowds, they settled into the game and took the first half 4-0. Heriot-Watt’s effort in the second half were less impressive and Edinburgh were able to keep Heriot Watt from touching the score-line and won the match 7-0, and bringing Edinburgh up to 2-2 in the Quaich contest.

With everything resting on the Rowing, the tension mounted as the ergometers were manoeuvred onto the astro pitch, for the final fixture of the day.

However, it was soon clear that with slick changeovers and strong determination, Heriot-Watt would power through to win all three races and therefore regain the Varsity Quaich after three years with Edinburgh University.

Well done to everyone who participated, and thank you to all the supporters who made the atmosphere electric on the day. We’re already looking forward to next year.

For highlights, visit the Varsity Day website.

Elise P A Jackson, Edinburgh University Sports Union