If you went to Varsity 2019, chances are, you wanted a booze up, was playing a match yourself, or fancied checking out enemy territory over the Severn bridge. The 21 fixtures on show were fantastic, of course, but if you wanted to see some real sights, then it was the student atmosphere that really got you hooked. For a start, if you don’t know who the girl banging the saucepan with a wooden spoon was, where have you been?! Bath supporters hurled some abuse, like “if you can’t spell uni go to Met”, but our Welsh comrades properly went for it. I found this out just as I was watching the first half of the women’s hockey and the Met boys behind me started complaining that they had already consumed too much beer for their bladders to handle. When one subsequently advised his friends “if you need to pee, pee on a Bath supporter”, I was praying they didn’t spot my Team Bath colours in front of them…
In fact, the number of times Met students chanted “I’d rather have a shower than a Bath” might have unwittingly caused the heavens to open… blame them for the poor weather. No doubt those security guards don’t like their job either – they looked ready to throw out even the soberest of fans. The Hawaiian shirts, face paints, and varsity t-shirts were out in abundance, especially in the sports arena. But if the food/drink tokens didn’t annoy you enough, perhaps it’s worth looking at your watch and wondering how many bevvies you can fit in before Score later. While it’s all fun and games, the lad culture can be slightly concerning. Hurling abuse at players and referees alike, such as someone calling the netball referee “a veggie in his spare time” (don’t ask), actually sounds quite nasty.
If anyone is still wondering why on earth Bath Uni even plays Cardiff Met for Varsity, well it’s not any clearer for us either. Regional rivalries have seen Bristol’s Varsity against UWE have their rugby matches banned for two years for explicit and derogatory chanting. It seems Varsity will always remain a mysterious and odd university tradition.
So here’s to looking forward to Varsity 2020 on Bath soil. While we might get invaded by the Welsh, surely the home crowd can keep the Met fans contained. If not, we might see our sports pitches taken over with maroon. Such a fate worse than death can only be avoided by a fifth consecutive win for the Blue and Gold.