First Fixture of Varsity 2016 Announced

Southampton Stags take on Portsmouth Destroyers on November 8th in the first game of the 2015/16 season

The first fixture of Varsity 2015/16 has been announced on Facebook this week and it will see the Southampton Stags lock horns with the Portsmouth Destroyers on November 8th at Wide Lane Sports Ground.

With several Varsity events scheduled to take place over the course of the next 9 months, our American Footballers will look to strike the first blow and get Team Southampton up and running against Team Portsmouth.

We caught up the President of the Southampton Stags as well as a few people at SUSU for a quick Q&A in order to find out what Varsity means to them and the importance of winning the first game of the year.

Lewis John Kelly – Stags President

In a confident mood: Lewis John Kelly is ready for Varsity

In a confident mood: Lewis John Kelly is ready for to start Varisty 2015/16 against Portsmouth

Q. Why is Varsity such a big thing for Southampton Stags?

A. Playing Portsmouth has always been a reals grudge match for the Stags. They’ve been our local rivals since we were founded and Varsity is always a really physical game. Both sides come out with something to prove

How important is it for Team Southampton to win the first Varsity game?

It’s pretty big. It puts us in a great starting position to go into Varsity weekend. The Stags always play our game way before the weekend so when we put up Varsity points early we feel like it has given Team Southampton the edge going in.

What is your best Varsity memory?

For me it has to be last Varsity. We were leading Portsmouth by one score late in the second half and they were only 5 yards away from our end zone. I intercepted the ball and ran it back for about 20 yards and we stopped Portsmouth scoring late in the game. To help the team out in such a vital moment was amazing and being part of the unit that secured our second consecutive win over Portsmouth was just incredible.

What is your worst Varsity memory?

Last year when I was working on the AU Council recording the scores and seeing Portsmouth starting to take the lead about halfway through the day. I was pretty nervous then and my shift ended before the final score was out, so I had to rely on rumour to try and find out who won. But of course Team Southampton pulled through.

So who is going to win Varsity this year?

Really? Team Southampton, no question!

Jamie Wilson & Katie Lightowler – Vice President Sports Development & Athletic Unions Officer

Champion: Katie Lightowler (right) proudly holds the Varsity trophy

Champion: Katie Lightowler (right) proudly holds the Varsity trophy after victory last year

Q. Why is Varsity such a big thing for Team Southampton?

JW&KL: It’s the culmination of our sporting year and one of the only days that we have the majority of sports competing on one day, united in the battle against Portsmouth.

Last year we had about 1000 competitors and over 500 spectators, and we are expecting this to rise considerably this year due to the event being hosted on our grounds – home advantage!

This year we are also launching some major campaigns around the event and we are hoping to see not just students, but also staff, lecturers, alumni and local residents at the event.

What is your role in the build up to Varsity?

JW: I work very closely with Ben Flett (Varsity Officer on Athletic Union Committee) to organise a lot of behind the scenes stuff that needs to happen in order for the event to take place. Things like first aid, getting the bar open and booking the facilities. I also liaise with Portsmouth to help make the event run as smoothly as possible.

KL: As Athletic Union Officer my role is primarily to support Jamie and Ben Flett in the organisation of Varsity. This year I’m mostly looking at the organisation of volunteers on the day and helping co-ordination of the promotion of the event.

How important is winning this first game?

JW&KL: Obviously it would be great to start with a win, but if the worst were to happen we have every confidence in the AU (Athletics Union) in reasserting our sporting dominance against Portsmouth.

What is your best Varsity memory?

JW: The build up to Varsity 2014 with the promotional video, Team Southampton kit launch and then a huge win was awesome.

KL: This one is fairly obvious, lifting the trophy as VP Sports Development in Varsity 2014/15 away at Portsmouth last year and then having the best night out ever afterwards.

What is your worst Varsity memory?

JW: Playing in the men’s Rugby 3’s match where we lost 60 something to nil was not the best memory of an otherwise amazing day.

KL: 2012/13 Varsity, finding out that we had lost Varsity against Portsmouth for the first (and so far only) time.

Who is going to win Varsity this year?

JW: Team Southampton

KL: No brainer – Team Southampton

Main Man: Jamie Wilson plays a leading role in organising this years Varsity

Main Man: Jamie Wilson plays a leading role in organising this years Varsity

So there you have it. The Southampton Stags are ready, SUSU are ready and Team Southampton are ready! The defence of our Varsity crown begins in just a few weeks at Wide Lane Sports Ground and the Stags are determined to strike early and get things up and running for Team Southampton in what is sure to be an entertaining and competitive match. Be sure to come along and support our American Footballers on November 8th and here’s to another successful year of Varsity.