Time has come to hand over my notepad and pen as the season is over for university rugby. It comes a couple weeks sooner than we all would have hoped for courtesy of COVID-19. But my goodness, what a three years it has been.
As a nervous Fresher I stood at The Folly to report on some of the third team fixtures following an email asking for students on my course to report on university sports.
My first year reporting didn’t feature many games as I started to settle into a new way of life, living away from home and adapting to university lifestyles.
Fast forward to my second year and I started to find my feet and introduce myself to Director of Rugby, Chris Downes and embark on reporting on the first team fixtures.
It was during my second season of reporting that the first team were promoted from Western 1A into Prem B in comfortable style and claimed their fourth consecutive varsity win against Worcester University and what a varsity it was.
Throughout that season, all home games were attended and even an away trip to Cardiff with my housemate helped me in building my confidence in reporting and gain more work for my portfolio.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
There were 14 men for the final quarter of the varsity fixture and the scores were all level at 13 all at half time. The sheer belief and determination that the boys in blue showed in the final 20 minutes was something spectacular, and they earned themselves a 14 point cushion. As the game played on it was clear that despite their red card, the result was only heading one way and that was Gloucestershire’s as they claimed a 41-30 victory.
If you have been to university and followed a sports team and experienced varsity then you will understand the electric atmosphere that runs throughout the players, squad, supporters, everyone.
For at least 80 minutes, everyone is incapsulated in the game, enjoying life and forgetting any of their troubles or dissertations they need to submit the next day. This year due to COVID-19 varsity has been postponed and is unlikely to take place in the near future. Although I don’t play, me along with so many others are saddened at missing out on making these memories that last a lifetime.
Great to talk to @Downesy3 after @UGRFC 4th consecutive varsity win yesterday. What a game. 13 all at half time and 14 men on the pitch with 20 minutes still to play. #bleedblue pic.twitter.com/jJPhsestKg— Katy Homewood (@_katyhomewood) April 11, 2019
In my final season, things got slightly more difficult as the 1XV struggled in their new league, but nevertheless, the determination and desire was still alive within the players.
This season has certainly been a contrast to last year’s from reporting on the ultimate highs to have some tough games to recover from. The experiences that I have had and the lessons I’ve learnt about reporting on a rugby team will stay with me throughout my journalism career.
Good to get @Downesy3 reaction following @UGRFC loss to Hartpury 3s this afternoon. An improved performance in the second half and a lot of positives to take away #bleedblue #uogsport pic.twitter.com/w9jbLrJ8Ra— Katy Homewood (@_katyhomewood) December 4, 2019
University rugby is like no other. Trying to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced the atmosphere is hard. Though I haven’t played the game, going to fixtures every Wednesday has made me feel part of a team like no other.
It has had its highs and lows, from a nervous Fresher scared to ask for an interview to being the first person on the pitch after the final whistle to get the match reaction. But one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
So, to everyone I have interviewed or those I begged to hold my phone to record the interviews, thank you. Reporting on UGRFC has been the best thing I have done throughout my three years at university and I will always, always remember it.