Rowdy scenes as Bristol win Varsity Darts for the first time
‘The greatest comeback since Lazarus’
History was made last night when the Bristol University Darts team triumphed over their UWE counterparts for the first time in history.
After years of successive defeats- including a 7-1 drubbing last year- the "magnificent seven" stormed back from being 2-0 down to take the title in an absorbing encounter that ended with a mass stage invasion.
The sell out encounter saw over 500 students cram into Walkabout bar, with the bulk of the crowd coming from UoB. Spectators wore an array of costumes to galvanise their heroes, ranging from classic football shirts and jelly beans to a pizza slice and a human dartboard.
With professional darts MC John Fowler overseeing the proceedings, the night got off to a bad start when the bar ran out of Carling owing to unprecedented demand for double pint glass beer servings. The mood worsened when Bristol lost their first two games, despite valiant chants of "Oh Seb Al-Hariri", "Hey Baby" and "Maino Maino" from faithful supporters.
The third match however saw all that change. A stunning 2-0 victory for Charlie 'The Club' Ebdon was the start of a great fightback for Bristol, with the partisan crowd in fine voice and spirits. An inflatable guitar appeared from nowhere and Ebdon held it triumphantly aloft.
The next game was the Captain's Match, with UoB captain Rob Angel taking the stage in typically flamboyant style to the tune of Robbie Williams "Angels". Another 2-0 victory followed swiftly and with the scores level, the crowd sought to assist their heroes by chanting "Virgin! Virgin!" every time a UWE player came up to throw. "You're shit, you're poor, your mother is a whore" was one of the less tasteful chants heard whilst the return UWE chant of "I would rather be a poly than a cunt" was met with "I would rather be a cunt than a poly".
Game 5 saw hotly tipped Bertie Lloyd pull off a nail biting 2-1 victory against his UWE counterpart and Bristol took the lead for the first time. As his chosen tune- James Blunt's "You're Beautiful"- rang out around the venue, Lloyd received the adulation of the crowd, intoxicated on £2 pints and the imminent prospect of a historic victory. A 15 minute interval followed in which a sunglasses wearing crowdsurfer was forcibly dumped on the floor by security.
In a shock upset, Nathan 'the Northerner' Clarkson thereafter narrowly lost 2-1 to his UWE opponent, ensuring a mouthwatering seventh game climax between Bristol third year Neil 'The Mountain' Stephenson and Martin Clayton of UWE.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Exuding all the calm of a Zen master, 'the Mountain' strolled through the delirious crowd to take his place on the stage and earn his team a place in the history books. The first game was over in a flash, Stephenson remaining unphased by the near delirious crowd.
The second followed swiftly thereafter and as John Fowler declared Bristol the winners, pandemonium ensued as ecstatic UoB students erupted in a fit of near hysterical joy. The stage was mobbed, pints were thrown, tears were shed and hugs were shared.
Captain Angel made an emotional speech, the trophy purchased the previous day was raised aloft and the seven players all 'took a knee' in the middle of the stage. One UWE student tried to start a fight but was swiftly ejected by three burly security guards, to the cheers of the surrounding Bristol supporters.
The victorious team bundled into a taxi and headed for Bargs, to sup on free drinks and toast their shared victory. The first Varsity event was over and as scores stand it's 1-0 to Bristol in the seven month long series.