The women’s team secured victory but the men’s team were defeated by their city rivals at the AJ Bell Stadium.
By Sam Cooper
I’m in position here at the AJ Bell Stadium. In somewhat overcast conditions, the mens MMU team are out pitch side taking their customary snapchats.
It’s the women’s teams up first with the 17:30 kick off fast approaching.
REF WATCH: They’re out warming up.
To the sound of studs clacking against the concrete floor, the MMU women have arrived.
The first few spectators are taking to their seats. The gentleman to my right has plumped for a diet coke, personally I feel the temperature is warranting a bovril.
No game is complete without an awful DJ. He is currently blaring out the Cheeky Girls which must be their first airtime since 2003.
The MMU women are now out on the pitch warming up. UoM have yet to make an appearance.
And here they are! The UoM team are out to cheers from the crowd.
Off we go!
It is UoM who are on the front foot in the early stages.
The first scrum of the night is won by MMU but UoM continue to push them back.
TRY! UoM number 15 shows a good turn of pace to get past the defence and put her side ahead!
The conversion is converted by the UoM number 10.
The MMU fans in the crowd try to pick their team up and it works as they manage to get out of their own half.
MMU are piling on the pressure and UoM are forced to hoof it into touch.
Since the try it has been all MMU.
The MMU number 3 is having a word with the ref
A MMU line out is stolen by UoM and they make a good march up the pitch.
Chants of “Manchester is wonderful” have begun. Given the two teams playing it is hard to know who they are cheering for. Maybe they’re neutrals?
UoM are awarded a drop ball and kick it into touch in the far left corner
Sub for UoM, number 4 for number 17
An MMU player is down injured which brings a stop in play.
and she can’t continue. number 7 leaves the pitch and number 4 replaces her
The ref seemingly likes the sound of his own whistle as he blows for a scrum then blows again to redo it.
and again, the scrum will be retaken
A great breakaway from MMU number 13 brings them high up the field.
MMU number 3 scores the try!
But they fail the conversion!
It has been a fair even contest as we hit the half hour mark. A failed conversion aside, the teams have been pretty level.
In true curse of the commentator fashion, as soon as I posted that update MMU went surging up the field!
UoM sub number 12 off for number 20
It’s MMU now on the foot, looking to go ahead for the first time in the match.
The MMU fans are certainly the louder of the two, they’ve even brought cheerleaders
MMU continue to push high up the field but can’t quite breakthrough.
Not to be outdone in the cheerleading stakes, UoM have also brought some complete with matching bee mascot.
At half time, it’s been pretty even between the two sides. UoM started stronger and got a try for their efforts. MMU came back but failed to convert the conversion meaning it remains 7-5 to UoM
The half time break gives me a chance to let you all know that the temperature is steadily dropping. The decision to bring my woolly hat that is usually reserved for mid January is becoming wiser and wiser by the minute.
No time for cold though as the second half begins!
UoM swapped number 3 for number 16 at half time
and now UoM makes another sub. The player coming onto the field wasn’t ready though so she swapped shirts with the player leaving meaning the UoM number 7 was replaced by the number 7.
That’s the second of the night for number 15 but number 10 is unable to convert.
The biggest cheer of the night as the linesman takes a tumble
Like they did in the first half, UoM have started the brighter of the two.
The MMU physio has been very busy tonight. Yet to see any magic spray though
Another sub for UoM. Off goes 5 and 14, on comes 23 and 19
The MMU fans have started the “Iceland clap” which is giving me horrible flashbacks of Euro 2016.
After UoM bright start, it returns to being an even contest. MMU have struggled to get out of their half but will be happy that UoM have failed to increase their lead.
Away from the game, one of the ambulance team is taking a picture with the UoM cheerleading squad.
Another injury for MMU, this time it only appears to be cramp and the MMU physio isn’t needed.
TRY for UoM!
A scrum is won by UoM and number 8 powers her way to the try line!
Another failed conversion means the score is
UoM sub: number 1, number 6 off, number 17, number 18 on
More cramp for one of the MMU players.
Number 11 off, number 21 on for UoM
Despite being fewer in number, MMU fans have been the louder but the UoM fans pipe up with chants of “UoM! UoM!”
UoM are really piling on the pressure now. I don’t think MMU have been out of their own half in this second period.
An injury break arrives but this time it is UoM
With time running out, MMU really need to get the ball rolling on their comeback.
All about controlling the game for UoM now, a 12 point lead is a good cushion to have at this point.
A scrum right in front of the goal is given to UoM, could be a chance to kill the game off.
No it is not! MMU defend well
FULL TIME: UoM win!
University of Manchester the deserved winners here as they dominated the second half.
The winning women celebrate in front of the UoM crowd!
The mascot bee is getting involved
So with the women game concluded, the eyes turn to the mens. Just under 45 minutes till kick off.
Apparently there is going to be a race between the two mascots
The great mascot race of 2017 is in doubt as they have been unable to find the mascot of MMU. Clearly he has not taken the result of the match well.
The MMU mascot has been found! He appears to be a bird of some kind
I mean, if anyone has any ideas on what kind of bird they’ve got for there I’m all ears
While the mascots prepare for their big race, the mens teams have emerged.
The mascot race was no contest as the unspecified bird of MMU destroyed his UoM counterpart
The UoM cheerleaders are now out on the field.
Reviewing cheerleading routines is not exactly in my wheelhouse but I’d give it a solid 8/10.
Nice touch from the UoM fans as they boo the MMU cheerleaders.
So just under 15 minutes until kick off, a reminder that the women’s team won the earlier contest 17-5
Last year’s encounter between the two sides saw MMU defeat UoM 10-5
The crowds are flowing in. A security guard was talking to me pre-game about how they had trouble last year so this time round the MMU fans are on one side of the stadium and the UoM fans on the other.
The MMU cheerleaders have formed a tunnel for the players to come down. 7 minutes till kick off!
MMU emerge from the tunnel to Kanye West
UoM are taking their time to come out of their changing room
and here they come!
It’ll be MMU to kick.
First scrum of the game
It’s a penalty kick to MMU
and MMU take the lead! Number 10 notches 3 onto the board
A good surge upfield from MMU number 13
Scrum in the centre of the pitch, UoM struggling to get going.
UoM finally get out of their half with a line out in the far left corner
Too much on a throw from the UoM number 15 as the team loses a chance for a try
MMU get control of the ball again and look to push upfield
Big cheers as the ball is kicked out of the stadium
Try for MMU!
Continuous pressure results in number 5 scoring the try.
But UoM are right back at it, forcing a line out close to the try line.
It comes to nothing though and MMU can clear.
Seating appears to be becoming an issue as rows and rows of people wander the aisle looking for a place to rest their bums.
UoM again look to get some points on the board. A line out in the far left corner could be a way back into the game
and they do find the try! Number 5 squeezes it over the line and number 15 converts
UoM are awarded a penalty but it is narrowly missed!
A high tackle and there’s a bit of handbags between the two sides
UoM are awarded another penalty, more central this time
and number 15 makes no mistake!
UoM firmly on top now
A chance for a try is denied by the referee, deeming there to be a foul in the process.
Number 8 of UoM leaves injured. Number 20 replaces him.
A penalty kick for UoM is again narrowly missed
Just past the half hour mark and after a strong start from MMU, it’s been all UoM.
A chance at a penalty here for MMU but it’s a long way out
But number 10 makes it!
That was the last kick of the half as the penalty puts MMU ahead at the break.
So the scores at half time
On the balance of play, UoM can feel hard done by to be going in at half time down but it is only the one point.
The cheerleaders of both sides are back out again.
And the second half begins
MMU try for the drop goal but it goes wide
Sub for MMU, 12 off for 20.
MMU have started the better in this second half.
A scrum deep in UoM territory is looking dangerous
UoM defend it well though
Chants of “UoM” begin again
Those charts were quickly quietened though as MMU score the try!
A scrum resulted in number 5 getting his second try of the night.
The conversion is completed by number 10 and MMU look dominant in this second half.
UoM will need to turn this game if they want to avoid a result similar to last year.
It’s an uphill battle now for UoM as MMU number 10 converts another penalty giving them a 21-10 lead.
UoM push up to try and claw a way back into this game, line out deep in the right corner
and they manage a try but no wait, the referee disallows it. The teams proceed to get at each other’s throats.
It was all handbags though and play resumes
UoM trying to up the pace and claw back this 11 point deficit
MMU have an injury break. These stoppages won’t help UoM in their quest back into the game
The crowd animosity is bubbling, yet to see any streakers.
BALLS OUT OF THE STADIUM COUNT: 2
Line out on the far side
Close to 15 minutes left to play, score still 21-10 in favour of MMU
Crowd trying their best to encourage the team but they haven’t looked like scoring this half.
The first yellow card of the night goes to MMU and UoM push upfield!
A scrum won by UoM pushes them closer to the try line but they can’t quite make it!
MMU defending well here
UoM number 13 makes a great charge from deep!
For his efforts, he takes a knock that needs attention.
aaaaaaand that brings the first streaker of the night.
G4S staff did not seem to keen on chasing him and the streaker returned the stand of his own free will but I doubt he will be allowed to return to his seat.
Back to the game, UoM can’t make anything of their scrum.
Game over! MMU win 21-10
MMU fans flood the pitch, the UoM fans are not happy.
Similar to the women’s game, it was a dominant second half performance that won it. MMU started on the front foot and didn’t really let up, increasing their halftime lead of 1 to 11. They run out 21-10 winners in the 2017 Varsity.
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