Club Doncaster Sports College hosted partners DN Colleges Group (Doncaster College and North Lindsey College) for their annual varsity day at the Eco-Power Stadium yesterday in glorious sunshine.
The event, which gave 93 sports students the opportunity to ‘play on the pitch’ at the home of Doncaster Rovers FC. The Varsity comprises men's and women’s matches between the two colleges, as well as a Club Doncaster Sports College in-house game.
Game 1 - Ladies Varsity
DN Colleges arrived at the Eco-Power Stadium as current Varsity champions and looking for back to back victories over the Sports College Ladies Academy. The game started at a frantic pace with both sides calving out good chances in the early stages, but after 20 minutes, the deadlock was broken when Chloe Anderson capitalised after a set-piece was only half cleared and the forward was on hand to slot the ball home. After the goal, Club Doncaster Sports College Ladies settled into the game and Anderson was on the scene again to claim her second and then spectacular third in a quick fire hattrick to make it 3:0.
Another veteran, Mille Croft, then came into the game, matching Anderson with three unanswered goals, all of which were excellent finishes, leaving Cusworth in the DN Colleges net, little chance of preventing them. With the clock running down, DN Colleges claimed an audacious consolation goal which turned out to be the goal of the day and made the score 6:1.
In a wonderful moment of footballing poetic licence, captain, record appearance holder and Sports College veteran, Ellie Mortimer, in the final minute of her final appearance for CDSC finished off a superb passage of play to claim the seventh and final goal for CDSC, who ran out 7:1 winners, claiming the Varsity title for 2023.
Game 2 - Men's Varsity
Club Doncaster Sports College Men's 1st XI came into the Varsity game against DN Colleges with a perfect record of 5 wins out of 5, but knew they would face a stern test against a talented and experienced DN Colleges side. After a cagey opening, the Sports College scored a goal against the run of play through Graves, then a quick fire brace from Swaby, followed by a Holdcroft strike saw CDSC settle into the game.
A 5th goal was scored by Graves, to complete his brace and soon after, Willard made it 6:0, and seemingly all over, however, DN Colleges had other ideas. A penalty for DN College just before half time offered some hope and this was followed by another penalty conversion just after half time and then a fine solo effort had the Sports College on its heels.
The turning point in the second half came as DN Colleges hit the bar with a fantastic effort and Will Gomes from the Sports College popped up at the other end shortly after to slot home for 7:3. In the final 10 minutes, Ashton Jacques scored to make the lead unassailable and the Sports College retained the trophy for another year.
Game 3 - Inter-Sports College Varsity
Two squads of 15 Sports College students faced off against each other in a bid to claim the Patrick Queen Trophy. In a game played in a fantastic spirit, the Blues had an opportunity to go ahead via captain, Matthew Thompson, but his penalty was brilliantly saved by Ryan Roe. Shortly after the penalty miss, the Blues edged ahead with an astute finish from Harry Westron; this would prove to be the first of a hattrick for the first year marksman.
A goal from Weston looked to have made the game safe for the Blues, but Nemet and Christie reduced the arrears, and but for a string of excellent saves from Aarlan Kitching, the score could have been very different. At the death, Liam Rouse scored a penalty in his final game for the college to seal the win and with it, the trophy. Final score at the Eco-Power, 5:2.
Adi Turnpenny, Principal of Club Doncaster Sports College, said: "The Varsity gave the students a once in a lifetime opportunity to play on the Eco-Power Stadium pitch and it was an event enjoyed by all."
He added, "It was also a chance to celebrate the fantastic partnership between Club Doncaster Sports College and DN Group."
Students had a matchday experience worthy of the first team including use of home and away changing rooms, lining up in the players tunnel, matchday media and even a matchday programme. The honours on the day belonged to Club Doncaster Sports College, winning the Men’s trophy and Ladies trophy but, more importantly, it was a day where lasting memories were made for all the students involved.