University 1st XV Win Varsity 2018 | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

University 1st XV Win Varsity 2018

Sport Editor Olli Meek reports on UBRFC's win against the Medics in Varsity 2018

UBRFC took the spoils in this year’s Varsity match with a 47-10 victory over the Medics.

Varsity is an annual match where the University 1st XV Rugby Union side take on the Medics 1st XV for campus bragging rights, taking place this year on the new Bournbrook 4G pitch for the first time.  A strong crowd turned out to watch a highly physical contest in the incessant drizzle of a Friday evening, the precipitation not doing much to help the dwindling temperatures.

Prior to kick-off the crowd were treated to a performance from the MedSoc Dance troupe and the Red Bull team were down doing their part to pump up the atmosphere.  The Medics then entered the field of play to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack”, followed shortly after by the University side who were buoyed by the larger contingent of the crowd and the electronic symphony of Darude’s “Sandstorm”.

The toss took place between captains Barnaby Hayward for the Uni and Adam Mackie for the Medics. This resulted in the Uni, playing in red, attacking the Mech-Eng end from East to West, and vice versa for the Medics in their navy with gold hoops.

The patient build up play from the Uni making an immediate statement of intent for all to see

UBRFC took kick-off, the forwards immediately making their impact at the breakdown and their presence felt by the Medics’ pack.  This heavy pressure resulted in scrummages on either side of the pitch, the patient build up play from the Uni making an immediate statement of intent for all to see.  It was not long before this paid off for them, with outside-centre Josh Amadi going over in the corner and fly-half James Chaumeton adding the conversion to get his kicking game off to an impressive start with a challenging nudge.

The Medics hit straight back upon the restart, their renewed vigour resulting in a penalty in the middle of the pitch just shy of the Uni’s ten-metre line. The brave decision was made to kick for the posts, but as they say if you don’t buy the ticket you can’t win the lottery.  It was not to be this time though, as the score remained at 7-0. The Uni then added insult to injury as they went up to the other end of the pitch and scored, with full-back Rich Galloway breaking the line on the left wing and powering over the line after a short run in in the 13th minute.  Chaumeton was again on hand to convert, this time from the other side of the pitch, making the score 14-0.

The tries kept on coming for the Uni, as only 15 minutes later their score was again boosted by Josh Amadi just shy of the half-hour mark.  This was to the delight of many supporters who had turned out for the Uni side, and Amadi’s name could be heard all around Bournbrook being sung for the remainder of the game.

At last the Medics scoring drought was quenched, with the next score of the game going to them.  Undeterred by the consistently increasing deficit that they needed to make up, they kept plugging away in the middle third until such point that the discipline and resilience of the Uni side was broken and they gave away a penalty in a promising position.  This was successfully put between the posts to get the Medics on the scoreboard and make it 21-3 after 30 minutes.

The reprieve for the Medics was not to last long however, as number 8 Will Onslow-Wyld and second-row Bill Fisher scored on 31 and 35 minutes respectively, to make the score a whopping 35-3 to the Uni at half-time, Chaumeton maintaining a 100% conversion rate from the tee.  It was unfortunate for the game to be at this stage already because everyone who turned out wanted to see a tense and close-cut competition, but barring a complete meltdown from the Uni and some superhuman improvement from the Medics, Varsity 2018 was already wrapped up.

The tries kept on coming for the Uni, as only 15 minutes later their score was again boosted by Josh Amadi just shy of the half-hour mark

Half-time saw the mascots for either side race each other from the try-line to the half-way line, which Rory the Lion won for the Uni.  This was not to be the end of the pleasantries between the two however, as part-way through the second half an off-the-ball incident occurred where both mascots heads were removed and both could be seen sprinting up and down the touchline after one another with the aim of retrieving the aforementioned body parts.  From afar it was unclear what caused such animosity between the two- it was hard to tell whether the punches being thrown at one another during the first half were out of genuine malice or were playing to the whims of the excitable pitch-side crowd.

The second half was a far more subdued affair than the first had been, with both sets of players starting to tire, the urgency displayed was considerably reduced.  With this in mind it was also time to make some substitutions- for the Uni trying to protect their significant lead, and for the Medics trying to get as many points on the board as possible in the remaining 40 minutes.  The first of these for the Uni was in the second-row, where Matthewman was replaced by Lort, and then Grundy came off the wing for Maxwell-Whiteley, who spent most of the remainder at fly-half.

After a long period of back-and-forth between the two sides with a reasonably equal share of possession, it was again the Uni that opened the scoring in the second half with a try and conversion that was rolled over in the corner by the forwards.  Predictably, Chaumeton followed up with a successful conversion and UBRFC were in dreamland at 42-3 to the good.

Soon afterwards however, the wait was finally over and the Medics perseverance paid off, their first and only try of the game coming mid-way through the second period much to their relief and celebration.  It did look for much of the match as though they may not reach the white line at all in the game, so to have achieved this target was no mean feat for the team. Mackie then stepped up to convert from a tough angle and take the Medics score into double figures for the first time.

It was then time for two more Uni substitutions and they brought on Jones and Proctor for the final knockings.

Barring a complete meltdown from the Uni and some superhuman improvement from the Medics, Varsity 2018 was already wrapped up

The final action of the game was for arguably a man of the match performance from Josh Amadi to be rounded off with his final try, completing a memorable hattrick.  The perfect end was not to be had however, as the conversion did not make it and the score remained at 47-10 to UBRFC.

This was how the match finished then, a resounding victory for the University 1st XV, who have re-cemented their place at the top of the pecking order and brushed the cobwebs of the Medics victory of two years ago away.

Congratulations must go to all of the boys involved for their hard work in getting to this point, and of course commiserations to the Medics side who fought valiantly but could not match the aggression and team cohesion of the University side.  This should not overshadow, however, what has been a positive season for the Medics with a good cup run and some solid performances along the way elsewhere.

With both sides almost at the end of their seasons, all that is left to be said is congratulations to both on their campaigns, and we will see you next year for Varsity 2019.



13th March 2018 at 9:00 am

Images from

Olli Meek