Hi, I’m here with Angus Taylor, our Athletic Union Officer, in the lead up to the Stan Calvert; Angus, are you excited?
I am incredibly excited about the Stan Calvert. It’s been a really big part of my three years at university playing sport and was one of the main things I looked forward to, so it’s a real honour and pleasure to help organise it. Additionally, I just think this year will be a very good, competitive year and hopefully we can reclaim the cup which is – obviously – rightfully ours.
How do you feel about the headliner having changed from netball last year to football this year?
I think it was good last year to try out netball, and it was a fantastic game, but for whatever reason, whether it be people’s opinions of the sport, or the fact that it was held on a non-mutual venue at Northumbria’s Sports Central it didn’t quite work out which was a shame. I think it’s a natural choice then to go with football, if you can’t do rugby, as it is a very popular sport… Obviously I am quite biased coming from a football background, but I do still think that it is the right decision. I personally think we’ll be able to get a large crowd out to Gateshead Stadium, which is a very high-quality stadium and easily accessible by metro, so fingers-crossed we will get a big following from that, from both universities.
So what can people expect to be different this year than last?
We tried to get as many fixtures on the final Sunday as possible, which I think is imperative as last year, everyone knew by the final Sunday morning that Northumbria had taken the lead. So trying to get a lot of fixtures on that Sunday is important. Also the number of fixtures has once again decreased, quite disappointingly, because Northumbria are unwilling to participate in as many sports as possible. So cross-country has been pulled, both male and female, and women’s cricket. Archery was also meant to be happening for the first time, but now Northumbria has dropped out. Mainly, I feel incredibly sorry for our athletes who are being prevented from competing in the Stan Calvert, but I also feel very sorry for their athletes who are also now unable to compete. I hope for their sake that they have been fully informed why they’re not allowed to compete.
Are these sports that have been cut ones that Newcastle would have been expected to win?
Yeah, I think we would have been favourites to win these. Read into that what you will…
So is that even more reason then for students to come out and support the remaining fixtures?
Oh, absolutely. At the moment we sort of have that backs-to-the-wall mentality, it feels very ‘us versus them’. We are the underdogs, so I massively urge and appeal for people to come and watch as many fixtures as possible. Like I said, there are a large number of games in particular on the last Sunday, they have all been timed and staged so people can watch as many of them as possible before heading to the final event in Gateshead. I think this time the Newcastle students really need to buy into the Team Newcastle mentality and unity, which is something that Newcastle do very well, really getting behind all the different teams.
Any final words?
Well, just that we really do have to win that cup back. It should be a very competitive year, despite the loss of several sports that we might have been favourites for. If you look at the BUCS tables for all the different sports, we are in with a real fighting chance and we need that proverbial twelfth man, or twelfth supporter, to come down and cheer for our team right until the final event.