Canterbury Varsity: See our wall-to-wall coverage here

Our team was very proud to cover Canterbury Varsity 2017. See all our live blogs here.

We were there from the first splash on Thursday morning to the last crunching tackle on Wednesday night.

CCCU’s teams did an amazing job representing our university against UKC.

We had such a good time covering every event live that we wanted to put all our content in one handy place so you could see it forever… Or at least until Canterbury Varsity 2018.

Our Canterbury Varsity 2017 live feeds

Here’s day one: Varsity 2017 live: Swimming at Kingsmead – as it happened

This was day two: Varsity 2017 live: Lacrosse, football and cheerleading at UKC

Lots happening on day three: Varsity 2017 live: Cross country, badminton, volleyball and basketball

Wall-to-wall netball on day four: Varsity 2017 live: Netball 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s all in action

Massive Monday: Varsity 2017 Monday live: Tennis, football and hockey – as it happened

Here’s day six: Varsity 2017 live: Equestrian, rugby and snow!

The finale: Varsity 2017 live: Last day!

We may have not taken the overall crown (always next year) but there were still some fine performances.

Women’s football and hockey 1s emerged victorious in their games while the rugby 1s double was done with stunning win from both teams.

The dates have not been decide for next year’s Varsity contest but Unified will be there again ready to cover all the action.

The history of Canterbury Varsity by Megan Manners

The Beginning

A long time ago, on February 19, 1999, when most of us were still learning how to walk, the elite players of two rival universities met under the glaring floodlights of the local rugby club to lay down the stepping stones of sport history – Varsity Rugby was about to begin.

“I can remember that it was raining, and both teams were rallied up.” 99’ President of Men’s Rugby, Ian Blackmore tells us. The first ever rival game between CCCU and the University of Kent kicked off, with hundreds flocking to the grounds to witness the birth of Kent Varsity.


‘Captain of the Ship’ Ian Blackmore, Co-Founder of Canterbury Varsity and Landlord of the Jolly Sailor 

The first two years of Varsity only included Men’s Rugby, similar to the trend of other university varsities around the nation. It was a war of bulky men in tight shorts charging at one another in the mud to win the grand prize – the Varsity cup. What else would you want, you may ask yourself. Or perhaps I let the thought of muscly legs and firm buttocks cloud my journalistic curiosity for a brief moment. The sporting marvel was on the verge of growing into something else than just men’s rugby.

And so it began.

The Middle

In 2002, a gentleman called John Bloomfield who was president of sports at the time, ran the idea of adding other traditional sports events such as football, cricket and hockey into the mix. He also incorporated a women’s division for each of the games.

“It was about encompassing other sports and getting everyone involved,”  The Jolly Sailor Landlord added.

“It got bigger and bigger every year. There’s squash, tennis, and even trampolining now, which is great because it gives everyone a chance to compete.’”

Over the last 16 years, 37 sporting events were added to the annual battle. With 38 sports events accompanied by first, second and third teams, Canterbury Varsity is the largest annual athletic event in Kent.

Originally aimed as a donation rally to Oxfam, Canterbury Varsity returned to its roots in 2014 when it contributed a proportion of its merchandise profit to Pilgrim’s Hospice.

The recent feature mannequin challenge was to show its support of LGBT month, demonstrating how both institutions celebrate diversity. Everyone has a place to play.

View Mannequin Challenge here.

The End – Continued

And so the grand event continues, with sport fanatics already prepping for next year. Of course, there is always a level of healthy competition involved when two titans start boxing.


When asked about the scales of the rivalry between CCCU and Kent, Blackmore said: “It’s always been friendly and everything is left on the pitch. Canterbury has been known as the underdog, and Kent as ‘looking down from the hill’, but its just good-natured banter. How sport should be.”

“We, (CCCU) have a better track record. They (Kent) may have better facilities.

“And a wider pool of students to choose from and extra funding.

“But that just makes us strive to be better. If anything, it adds to the value of playing. It isn’t just about just winning; it’s about being part of something.” Mr Blackmore said.

Watch more Mannequin challenges here

When is the next Canterbury Varsity?

Canterbury Varsity’s next contest is still being discussed. Last year’s contest took place in the term 2 self-directed study week.

It meant student participants and spectators did not have timetabled sessions.

Christ Church have introduced a new two semester structure for the 2017-18 academic year.

Organisers would like to avoid a teaching week if possible. They are trying to hold the showpiece sporting event later in the year to take advantage of warmer weather.

The poor cross country runners had to brave subzero conditions as an icy blast hit the city.

Whenever it happens, Unified will be there for every event to support our teams.

And who knows, maybe see CCCU finally snatch an overall victory. Aim high people.

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