University of Sunderland were unable to retain their Tees Wear Varsity crown as they fell to a heavy defeat to Teesside University on Wednesday.
The Wearsiders claimed wins in American football, cricket, netball and basketball. Rowing shared a point in contentious circumstances, adding to Sunderland’s equestrian victory from earlier in the month.
It gave Sunderland a final score of 6.5, which was dwarfed by Teesside’s tally of 16.5.
Both equestrian and snowsports took place before Wednesday’s final clash, meaning scores were tied at 1-1 by the time trampolining and archery kicked off the competition on Teesside’s campus – both ending in defeats for Sunderland.
But the netball firsts provided something to shout about early on as they edged Teesside 44-43, with Sunderland snatching victory with two scores in the dying embers of a game that saw both sides lead numerous times throughout.
The win was somewhat dampened by the 38-31 defeat for the netball seconds, and when both men and women’s hockey fell to 12-0 and 15-0 losses respectively soon after, it was starting to look like a steep uphill struggle for last year’s champions.
American football led the charge to drag Sunderland back into contention by racing into a 16-8 lead at Southlands, but a serious injury to a Teesside player saw the game abandoned. Sunderland won the point, but with ambulances having to rush to the scene, celebrations were naturally muted.
Indoor cricket provided another positive with a convincing win, chasing down Teesside’s modest total of 91-4, but points rapidly dried up in the afternoon after men and women’s football fell to a clean sweep of defeats to join men’s rugby, tennis, futsal and volleyball as sides who couldn’t add to Sunderland’s total.
Only rowing managed to take something from their event, though their half could easily have been a win after they appeared to beat Teesside in the women’s quad – only for the hosts to appeal on the grounds of confusion over where the finish line was.
It meant Teesside had already racked up an unassailable 13.5 points before the final session of the day, although Sunderland ended on a high with women and men’s basketball finding 62-56 and 63-50 wins respectively, either side of narrow defeats for cheerleading and dance.