Warwick have lost Varsity. Once upon a time, stringing together that very set of words would have proved unthinkable. Much like “Leicester City are Premier League champions” or “Buster Douglas is the heavyweight champion of the world.” However, without attempting to sound like a party pooper of epic proportions here to rob readers of all sporting joy, Coventry snatching victory is no longer beyond the realm of possibility.
In recent years whilst we’ve continued to mercilessly mock our magenta clad enemy behind cries of “smash the poly,” “one day you’ll work for me” and other choice insults probably a tad too below the belt to print on these pages, our old foes have slowly but surely closed the gap. In fact, when all was said and done last year, a last second victory at the Ricoh to cap off a Warwick win did little to hide the fact that proceedings were at times a little too close for comfort.
Coventry snatching victory is no longer beyond the realm of possibility.
We spent much of the weekend trailing, before claiming the lead just past the midway point of “Super Saturday”. As Sport Editor for last year’s edition, I can honestly say the the scene at times was surreal. Pre competition smugness gave way to surprise, which soon turned into panic. Whispers of “Coventry are actually winning this?” began to sweep campus as we prepared to face the prospect of relinquishing a 25-year-old stranglehold tighter than my grip on an Arts Centre Panini.
Last year’s much discussed downsizing of the competition to include only first teams saw Cov bring their a-games, proving that, in some events, the top end of their talent pool is just as strong as Warwick’s. They waxed our boys on Ice in a controversial Hockey opener behind a team allegedly consisting of former internationals, quietened the home crowd at the Sports Centre in a bruising Men’s Basketball encounter and, perhaps most painfully, overturned a three goal deficit to win a Women’s Football clash dubbed ‘Covstanbul’ after Liverpool’s famous 2005 Champions League triumph in Turkey.
Whilst we formerly held a clear advantage when Varsity was a lengthier affair consisting of more throwaway fixtures, this was a real battle with enough nail-biters to leave the former Sports Officer a nervous wreck.
Pre competition smugness gave way to surprise, which soon turned into panic.
This year, just like always, we’ll be rooting for our brilliant #TeamWarwick with as much purple fuelled fervour as ever; but we can’t kid ourselves. Things will be far from easy. With past experience close to heart, it pains me to admit that there is one irrefutable sporting truth that always holds true: All great teams must lose. Arsenal’s “Invincibles” fell at Old Trafford to leave me a tear-stained mess, and more recently, the 73-9 Golden State Warriors collapsed into thin air to drop a commanding lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Every ounce of Warwick in me prays it doesn’t happen. I’d rather sit on nails out on the piazza than be forced to watch it happen, but don’t be surprised if this is the year Coventry, yes Coventry, finally turn the Varsity tide.