• The Gaudie

Aberdeen's blue and gold reigns once again

All the highlights from this year's jam-packed Granite City Challenge

by Tom Molnar

image courtesy of AUSA

For the city of Aberdeen, it’s the biggest sporting event in the calendar! Blue and gold takes on purple and white. Over 500 athletes across 29 matches, Wednesday’s Granite City Challenge was another jam-packed sports fiesta. And the result? Echoing last year’s event, the University of Aberdeen does one over Robert Gordon University, retaining the trophy for another year. For the most part, it was a one-sided affair, with those in blue coming out on top 20-9. However, like every great sports occasion, the day didn’t come without drama, thrill, joy and upset.

At 9:30, the day commenced on the ASV outdoor track with athletics. Over three hours, athletes competed against one another but, overall, Aberdeen outran RGU 65-20 for the title of athletics champs. Notable performances inclue Jorma Blank, who got a personal best in long jump with 6.05m, as well as Eszter Csorba, who got first in long jump and third in her 1km and 150m events. Last year, RGU beat Aberdeen in men’s rugby for the first time in 16 years, but this year’s fixture saw a dominating performance with a score of 47-17 to Aberdeen. Men’s hockey also went Aberdeen’s way with a solid 6-0 victory for the men in blue, but women’s hockey was far more nerve-wracking. After the match ended 1-1, sudden-death penalty flicks decided the fixture, the fourth consecutive time this has happened. RGU sadly couldn’t succumb to the pressure and lost, crowning Aberdeen women’s hockey champs once again. A similar story was said about women’s football, which went straight to penalties after a 2-2 draw. Here, Aberdeen scored all five goals but a save by Aberdeen’s goalkeeper Melia Marquez meant RGU lost for the third year in a row. Sadly, men’s football couldn’t replicate what the women did, losing 3-1 with a side mainly comprising of 2ndXV players. In the pool, Aberdeen dominated with a 130-53 victory in swimming, and both of Aberdeen’s waterpolo sides came out on top in their Granite City fixtures, with the men winning a rough game as well as the women swimming comfortably to victory. In the weights room, Aberdeen out-lifted their rivals in purple, with second-year Sam Marchbank squatting an outstanding 200kg whilst weighing only 81kg himself. This achievement is very meaningful to him as he missed this mark at his last competition, inspiring the whole weightlifting team to triumph over RGU. Close by, on Kings Pitches, two lacrosse matches took place throughout the afternoon. The first saw a mixed-team game due to not enough of both women’s teams being available to play. Therefore, some of the men’s 1stteam players joined for a fun game that resulted in an easy 29-1 Aberdeen win. Later, RGU and Aberdeen went head-to-head in men’s lacrosse, but Aberdeen showed exactly why they’re in the top Scottish BUCS league with a 14-3 finish. Finally, for Aberdeen’s squash team, it was a comfortable 4-1 victory over RGU, keeping our place as champions of the squash court once more. 

It wouldn’t be Granite City Challenge without some sort of controversy, this coming from the basketball court within Aberdeen Sports Village. The men’s basketball match saw a close encounter, with Aberdeen only up by 2 after the second quarter. However, the lead got bigger and bigger and the Aberdeen men came out victorious. The women’s match, on the other hand, was where controversy arose. The ladies in blue were completely dominant throughout, with each quarter the deficit growing steadily. Unfortunately, the game was called to an abrupt end with 4 minutes left on the clock due to a clash with the badminton event, as their courts are shared. Although the Aberdeen women’s team was up by over 20 points, it was still a “huge let down” that the game could not continue until the very end. It is reported that this clash with badminton was not so much ASV’s doing but AUSA’s, as the timings was organised in advance. Despite the score line, it is still unfair to both women’s basketball teams playing and a disappointment to see this sudden end to a great performance by Aberdeen’s women’s basketball. As for the badminton, RGU did very well and maintained a lead throughout, winning 9-3. Also, the University of Aberdeen narrowly lost to Robert Gordon University in the rifling event, with close scores of 743/800 and 766/800 respectively. The other events RGU won were gymnastics, shinty, ski/snowboard, table tennis and trampolining. 

Whilst the University of Aberdeen was declared the winner of this year’s Granite City Challenge at the big reveal on Wednesday night in nightclub ATIK, one of the biggest events between Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University is the annual Aberdeen Boat Race. It was held Saturday March 23rdon the River Dee, and it was the 24thtime this event has taken place. The event consisted of three races: the alumni race, the 2ndcrew race, and finally the 1stcrew race. It was an exhausting day for all crew members from both universities but the outcome goes Aberdeen’s way this year, coming out on top as victors. Not only this but, for only the third time in the history of this annual boat race, the University of Aberdeen won all three races. A truly special accomplishment on its own. Katie Sugden, the current Secretary of Aberdeen University Boat Club, took part in the 1stcrew race and reflected on their victory over RGU: “That was a very memorable race. I feel AU kept their power down and had a positive ethos throughout to keep the lead.” 

Although the Granite City Challenge does not count towards BUCS, it does show just how big a presence sport has for the city of Aberdeen and its two major universities. It is a spectacular day that summarises the tremendous achievements that have gone on throughout the academic year for all sports teams from the two universities. While the event can be seen as a day of rivalry, it is one that truly celebrates sport and how it impacts so many university students. Nonetheless, the University of Aberdeen once again came out victorious in a superior performance of 20-9, and, for another year, the granite city reigns blue and gold.