Varsity 2017: Super Saturday clashes create #TeamDMU sporting history

A sensational basketball double was the headline maker as #TeamDMU reigned supreme on Super Saturday, clinching a 10-3 Varsity lead going into Day 4 of the annual series.

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Women's Basketball Club, who before this season had not won a single game in two years snatched a 45-40 victory from the University of Leicester (UoL) to win their first ever Varsity fixture at Leicester Arena.

Women's Basketball

Men's Basketball were also victorious in the final match of the day at the home of DMU partners, the Leicester Riders Basketball Club, adding a Varsity win to their British University and College Sports (BUCS) title success which they secured on Wednesday evening.

And, they weren't the only history makers on Day 3 as Men's Volleyball claimed their first ever Varsity title since their formation, Women's Badminton eased a 7-1 win and Archery were right on target throughout their fixture to all claim vital points.

The DMU Pitbulls Women's Secretary and Forensics Science BA (Hons) student Emilie Fairnington said: "We've made history tonight as this is the first time women's basketball has ever won a varsity.

"Talks from the Vice-Chancellor and hard work with the Strength and Conditioning coaches have really made a difference and it's paid off today.

"My family has come down from Scotland for this, staff from my faculty are here and I'm so proud the whole club have come together and we've been able to put on a show for them all."

Coach Tahir Hajat has made a real difference to the club this year and Emilie said: "He is like an angel who has been sent from heaven. He's made a real difference to our performances and we're all so thankful for his support."

Men's Basketball

Though Men's Basketball were league winners on Wednesday evening, they were far from favourites going into their Varsity fixture, but they battled their way into contention late on before bringing Super Saturday to a dramatic conclusion.

They fell behind in the opening quarter and were down in the second, before a peppering of points and tired UoL legs drew them marginally ahead.

Coach Igor Mirkovic did all he could to ramp up the atmosphere in the arena and the #TeamDMU faithful duly obliged pushing the Griffins ahead and ahead and ahead.

Approaching the final few minutes they continued to extend their lead right up to the buzzer comfortably defeating their opposition 61-49, cue the wild celebrations.


Captain and DMU Health Studies BA (Hons) student, Karlz Balbuena said: "I feel great obviously as for a long time we were down out there, but we’ve managed to turn it up, use the crowd to our advantage to develop momentum, grinding out a win.

“We all played our heart out and left everything on the court and this has been by far my most enjoyable experience at DMU.

“Our coach is incredible, he really knows how to get us to ramp up our game and he knew we could go out there and do it and we did it for him. I am so proud.”

Seven points were up for grabs on Super Saturday and #TeamDMU took Day 3 5-2 overall, UoL picking up their points with two narrow victories in the women's volleyball and men's badminton.

The action all kicked off with Women's Volleyball at Leicester Arena with the DMU Dragons Women's Volleyball team taking a marathon first set 33-31.

They lost the following two 25-20 and 25-7 respectively, before offering themselves a lifeline with a sensational 25-17 win in the fourth.

The fifth set decider was tense right up until the final point, but UoL took it 15-11 to pull the overall Varsity score back to 5-2.

Women's Volleyball

Within minutes, magic number five was reached by the women's badminton club as they went 5-1 up with two games remaining. They went on to win 7-1.

Captain and DMU Accounting and Business Management BA (Hons) student Rhiann Morley, said: "It feels incredible to win our Varsity today and so emphatically.

"For me personally, I'm so glad we managed to pull a special victory and end my time at DMU with a bang.

"We are all delighted that we were able to prove everyone wrong and win by such a significant margin.”

Women's Badminton

Next up were Men's Volleyball who were confident of victory following a win over the same UoL team in BUCS mid-week.

They were victorious in straight sets; 25-17, 25-14, before an extremely close and competitive third ending 30-28.

Captain Bruno Iglesias said: "It feels amazing to have won in another straight set victory against Leicester after beating them in BUCS on Wednesday.

"It is also the very first time that Men's Volleyball have won a Varsity since we formed six years ago, so we've made a bit of history today.

"We feel very honoured to have so many people here supporting us today and we're delighted we could put on a show for them.”


Men’s Badminton followed taking UoL right to the wire, but failed to clinch that all important Varsity point, losing out 5-3.

In the break at Leicester Arena, news came in that Archery had taken a fiercely fought fixture at The Watershed, 1502 points to 1453. 

Captain Ash Marvin said: “It was scary around halfway through the second session, but we pulled it back at the end.

“An excellent performance from one of our novice members, Joe Staley, shot well above his normal capacity to give us a lead.

“We are delighted with the victory, it was a good effort from both teams, a fair competition and we are very much looking forward to next year.”

After an exhausting Super Saturday and a flurry of #TeamDMU points, the overall score stood at 10-3 ahead of a full Netball schedule, Swimming and American Football.

You can keep with events right across the Varsity series through our TwitterFacebook and Snapchat accounts, and follow the story using #DareToWin and #TeamDMU on social media. There’s also a dedicated Varsity 2017 webpage.

Posted on Monday 20th March 2017

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