#BUvSolent Varsity 2017

Varsity events have always been part of my life, from a young age I grew up watching Keele University versus Staffordshire University in football, and of course Varsity doesn’t just stop at football, a lot of sports compete for the overall title.

For the three years that I was a student at Solent, there wasn’t anything that resembled a derby of any kind. Bitter city rivals University of Southampton offered up a friendly rivalry on nights out and on the sports field in the occasional BUCs fixture, but their Varsity battle was against Portsmouth, leaving Solent without opposition… until 2016.

So nearly 365 days after my final hand in, Solent and Bournemouth went head to head in the inaugural Varsity at Chapel Gate (Bournemouth Sports Club) and home to Bournemouth Sports FC of the Bournemouth Saturday League for any ground hoppers reading. Last year’s Varsity was a great day, I felt like a fraud as a former student spending the day pretending for one more day and getting sunburnt in the process. This year was no different, sunburnt again and another day of watching sport, and two years since I graduated.

As far as my football season goes, the day also offers a great chance to watch three games in a day, two men’s games (12pm & 3pm) and a women’s match (5:30pm). So here goes…

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The Ground

Home of Bournemouth Sports, I feel compelled to write something about the ground. Chapel Gate is an awesome place. It has everything, which makes it a great venue for Varsity. Not only does it boast a couple of football pitches, there are artificial pitches for futsal, netball and hockey. Outdoor space for volleyball, rugby pitches, American football and cricket pitches not to mention the indoor areas for squash and table tennis.

Spread over a couple of other sites the two universities were competing in tennis, basketball, rowing and equestrian, a top day of sport all round.

Chapel Gate’s main football pitch has an uncovered seating area that probably sits around 100 people, apart from that there is a metal barrier running down one side either side of the dugouts and the rest is open space, pitch level, uncovered standing. For the level that Bournemouth Sports play at, their ground probably doesn’t need to be much more than that really, I am not sure if the seated stand is only in use for Varsity as my only two visits have come for this event and not a BSFC match day.

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 Bournemouth University Seconds 1

(Sam Adetiba)

Team Solent Seconds 2

(Dion Gibbs, Matt Hammond)

Attendance: 50 (approx.)

Chapel Gate (Pitch Two)

Solent kicked off the day in style with a win in the football. Despite losing Varsity overall in 2016, Solent won all their football matches and looked like they would repeat the feat after goals from Dion Gibbs and Matt Hammond secured a tight 2-1 victory over Bournemouth.

Player/coach Gibbs put the visitors ahead from the spot after former Cardiff City winger Tyler Roche was tripped in the box.

Hammond, who has mostly played for the third team this year, doubled the lead for Solent in the second half before BU pulled one back with a fantastic solo effort by BU striker Sam Adetiba.

The game was not for the faint hearted in the early kick off, very little happened before Roche was fouled in the box with 20 minutes on the clock. The Welsh winger had done well to take the ball into the box before inviting a little trip from the Bournemouth defender, giving the referee no choice but to award the penalty. Gibbs stepped up and tucked the ball into the corner, despite the BU ‘keeper diving the right way.

Hammond nearly doubled the lead shortly after. Right back Steve McKenna had done very well to get into the box and he fired the ball across goal and Hammond couldn’t make the desired connection to put the ball into the box.

Just before the break, Solent ‘keeper Max Boulter made a great save to keep his side ahead when Bournemouth’s full back (wearing number 51), broke free on the wing and fired a good shot at goal.

Solent made a change at the back, Roche made way for Toyeeb Babatunde in a straight swap on the left wing. In a matter of minutes after the restart, Solent doubled the lead when Babatunde played in Hammond on goal who neatly struck the ball diagonally across the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner.

The home side replied almost instantly, Adetiba scoring a spectacular solo effort. The forward twisted and turned and dummied his way past the challenges of three Solent defenders before cutting inside on the corner of the box and curling a shot into the top corner, way out of Boulter’s reach.

Solent had a long time to hold on to the lead and rode their luck at times. Boulter making a good save at the back post to deny a Bournemouth shot.

Boulter was then called into action again when a long throw into the box bounced through the box and after a Bournemouth attacker got a touch, Boulter managed to tip the ball onto the post and away.

It was back to the wall for the Sparks as another home player went close with a volley from a corner that Boulter had to tip over, the Solent first team ‘keeper was in inspired form.

With Boulter determined not to be beaten again, Solent just had to hold on and the final chance of note fell to Gibbs who curled a sweet free kick at goal that the ‘keeper had to tip around the post.

2016/17 Games: 132

2016/17 Grounds: 69 (11)

Total Grounds Visited: 158 (42)

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Bournemouth University Firsts 3

(-)

Team Solent Firsts 3

(Tyler Roche, Duarte Martins, Silvano Obeng)

*Solent win 4-3 on penalties

Attendance: 500 (approx.)

Chapel Gate (Pitch One)

Team Solent came from two goals down in the final five minutes to pull the scores level and beat Bournemouth on penalties to complete a remarkable comeback and continue Solent’s unbeaten streak in Varsity football.

The visitors took the lead in the first half through Tyler Roche (who had played 45 minutes for the second team earlier in the day). Bournemouth equalised just before the interval before Solent added two more goals in the second half and in cruise control for the victory.

Duarte Martins and Silvano Obeng scored late goals to force penalties before Max Boulter saved a decisive shootout kick to send Solent to victory.

It was a feisty start to the game in typical Varsity fashion as Martins was hauled over on the left wing as the Portuguese defender bombed forward.

Solent took the lead on nine minutes. Cairo Duhaney-Burton floated a long free kick from half way into the box and Roche chested the ball down in the box before poking the ball past the BU ‘keeper.

The hosts had a couple of good chances to pull the scores level, Boulter doing well to save a good shot from a BU striker.

Boulter then denied the same striker from a free kick from the edge of the box. The Solent stopper parried the ball away to protect his side’s slender advantage.

The woodwork came into the rescue for Solent after Randy Spence gave the ball away and Bournemouth’s number 49 pinged a great effort at goal, smashing the crossbar and back into play.

Just before the break, Bournemouth pulled a goal back when Solent failed to deal with a cross from #35. #34 shot straight at Boulter who could only block the sho into the path of #10 fired in the rebound.

It was all Bournemouth after the restart, Boulter again made a good save before #10 fired a free kick off the post as the hosts looked on top of the game.

BU #10 was causing all sorts of problems and he beat Tom Shann before putting a low cross into the box for #34 who took a touch before slotting the ball into the bottom corner to give the home side the lead.

The crossbar came the rescue again for Solent who were looking well out of their depth as BU continued to dominate. The home side then swapped ‘keepers moments before scoring a third to kill the game off. Number 34 again squeezing in a low shot after latching onto a pass into the box.

With minutes remaining, Solent went three at the back and pushed everyone forward. The ball was was sent over to the right side where Martins looked like he had overrun the ball out of play before sending a looping chip over the ‘keeper and into the far corner from an impossible angle.

The momentum had shifted and Solent were gunning for an equaliser and it came less than a minute later. A long free kick was sent into the box and Wessex League striker Silvano Obeng chested the ball and sent his effort zipping into the net to send the visitors into a frenzy.

The game went straight to penalties and after four good spot kicks, Bournemouth’s number 61 smashed his effort wide.

Solent made sure they scored all of theirs before Boulter saved #17’s effort to confirm the victory for the Sparks.

2016/17 Games: 133

2016/17 Grounds: 69 (11)

Total Grounds Visited: 158 (42)

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Bournemouth University Women’s Firsts 0

Team Solent Ladies Firsts 4

(Genevieve Lewis, Amber Siley, Vicky Carleton, Becca Moody)

Attendance: 300 (approx.)

Chapel Gate (Pitch One)

Solent Ladies completed a successful day for Solent’s footballers with a convincing 4-0 win over Bournemouth.

Goals from Genevieve Lewis, Amber Siley, Vicky Carleton and Becca Moody sealed the win for the visitors in one of the final sporting fixtures of the day.

In the Dorset heat the game didn’t create too many chances with the first goal coming from a deflected effort from Lewis on 18 minutes. Elizabeth Stanley sent in a corner that was dealt with poorly before the ball ricocheted over the line from a shot inside the box.

Solent’s Esther Lau-Mackaay then smashes the crossbar from range as the Sparks looked to double the advantage.

Four minutes later, Bournemouth then had their chance at goal, with the ball again bouncing off the crossbar from a cross/shot.

The home side had a couple more chances before the break, one shot hitting the side netting before visiting ‘keeper Lauren Webb made a great one-on-one save to deny a good attacking opportunity.

Despite Bournemouth having much of the possession after the restart, it was Solent who doubled the lead on 55 minutes, Siley turns and shoots at goal, the ball nestling into the back of the net.

The game looked comfortable for Solent and a two-goal lead looked like a steady hold on the game as Varsity was drawing to a close for another year.

On 71 minutes, Webb was alert to make another good save when she managed to keep out a corner. Minutes later Bournemouth had another chance but blasted the ball over the bar.

On 79 minutes, Bournemouth hit the post, which could have set up a nervy final ten minutes, however Solent were let off the hook again.

The game was dead and buried on 85 minutes when Carelton fired in a free kick that travelled straight into the top corner 30-yards from goal.

Moody rounded off the scoring on 87 minutes, replicating Carleton’s effort and scoring from a long-range free kick to complete a hat-trick of wins for the Solent footballers on a day where Bournemouth took the overall victory for a second year running.

2016/17 Games: 134

2016/17 Grounds: 69 (11)

Total Grounds Visited: 158 (42)

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