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University of Aberdeen Silence Noisy Neighbours

Updated: Jun 4

New format saw an enthralling 10 days of inter-city rivalry in which the University of Aberdeen reigned over Robert Gordon University


By James Kinnaird and Oliver Kennedy



The University of Aberdeen have successfully retained the bragging rights of the city as they defeated cross-town rivals RGU 16-10 to defend their Granite City Challenge title.


The annual varsity events takes place every spring and sees Aberdeen’s two universities (University of Aberdeen & Robert Gordon University) go head-to-head in over 20 sporting events to see who will be crowned the champions of the ‘Granite City’.


2024 saw a change from the usual one-day format, instead, the event was held over 10 days, with RGU playing host to the majority of events. However, despite the format change the event was no less enthralling. Ten days of intense sport, which saw the lead change hands serval times, culminated on the final day in which the University of Aberdeen narrowly pipped their noisy neighbours to the ultimate bragging rights. 


Rugby

The first big Wednesday of Granite City saw both men's and women’s rugby face off against RGU. Unfortunately, UoA men’s rugby was unable to field a team which handed RGU their first-ever men’s rugby win in Granite City, nevertheless, the girls turned out in force. A hard-fought game, on a very muddy Countesswells, ended 59-17 to RGU, a score that does not reflect how the game unfolded.


UoA started the game well with an early try from Sarah Tyrrell but RGU went into the break ahead. The second half saw two more tries from Holly Clark and Neve Young, but in the end, it was not enough to see off a very impressive RGU side. A disappointing result for UoA at the hands of a very talented opposition, but the girls will be back next year with the hopes of changing the story.


Women’s Netball

The hotly anticipated fixture saw a strong crowd inside RGU’s sports hall, for both home and away teams. Banners and noise welcomed the teams onto the playing court as the centre pass began the game. In the first 10 minutes, UoA shot off with a commanding lead, and by the end of the first quarter, they lead RGU 15-6. The second quarter saw RGU grow into the game better, and they looked dangerous on the counter attack.


Despite this, UoA extended their lead, finishing the second quarter leading 24-9. The third quarter kept a high level of intensity, and UoA were relentless in their scoring, with a 39-14 lead after 45 minutes. The final quarter was played at a slower pace, as the girls were tiring after a breathless display. The final score was 52-21 to UoA, showing their dominance in netball.



The Netball team celebrate their win. Picture Credit: Author

Women’s Water-polo

The women’s water-polo came next and was played in a compact pool at RGU. The referee initiated the swim-off, dropping the ball into the middle of the pool for both teams to swim after. Within the first minute, RGU came close to breaking the deadlock, but saw their shot rebound of the post. In the 7th minute, UoA took the lead when Anna McClafferty threw the ball past the keeper and into the next. UoA held on to the slender lead until the end of the first quarter.


The second quarter saw an RGU resurgence, with the home side scoring 3 goals, including a spectacular ranged effort, to take the lead into the third quarter. UoA attempted to mount a comeback, with two more goals from McClafferty and one from Izzy Litt, but RGU were still on top with a 6-4 lead coming into the final quarter. Late goals from Isabel Augustine, Leia Davison, and Erin Atherton pushed RGU all the way but it would be the home side who would finish the game victorious, the final score being 8-7.


A tense moment. Picture Credit: Author

Golf

This year's Granite City golf match saw the teams battle it out on Murcar Links in the north of the city. The game was changed from the usual 10-man format that has been played in recent years, instead opting for an 8-man 4-way head-to-head match play. University of Aberdeen were looking to bounce back after their first-ever defeat in the competition last year. But it was not meant to be for UoA as RGU ran out 3-1 winners after an incredible day of golf.


The matches got underway at 12pm with Andrew Wilkie of Aberdeen leading for UoA in a game that would go all the way down the last hole being won by RGU with an incredible 60-yard hole out chip for eagle on 18. The rest of the games were similarly close, with the first three groups deciding their games on 18, and RGU’s first three groups scoring 4 under par on the last hole. A deserved win for RGU with an incredible display of golf from both sides that saw RGU secure back-to-back Granite City wins on the golf course


Athletics

One of the first events to get underway on the final day of Granite City was the athletics. Taking place at a chilly ASV, we got underway with the men's and women’s 100-metre sprint. In the Women’s race, it was Jane Davidson who took the win for UoA, while in the men’s it was UoA’s Aidan Grevemberg and Bradley Francis who ran out winners in both races.


Next up was the shotput where RGU fought back placing first, second, and third to ensure a point on the board. Another point was secured for RGU when Luke Davidson narrowly beat Jack McKinnon in the men’s 1km, while Emma Jenkins rescued a point by winning the women’s 1km. In the end, after a long day of sport, it was UoA who were victorious on track, retaining their Granite City title for the third year running.


UoA athlete mid throw Picture credit: Aberdeen University Student Union

Women’s Football

With results going down to the wire on the final day of fixtures, both men’s and women’s football matches became vital for the outcome of the Granite City Challenge. The girls kicked off first, in front of a strong crowd at the Garthdee Astroturf. UoA, in their white change kit, kicked off the game. A tight opening 10 minutes preceded, before Aberdeen were awarded a penalty when the striker was dragged down in the box.


Striker and captain Caitlin MacFarlane dispatched the ball into the bottom right corner to give UoA the lead. From there on Aberdeen didn’t look back, with MacFarlane grabbing her (first) hattrick and Poppy Lyon adding a fourth by half time. MacFarlane grabbed her 4th and 5th goal before RGU replied with a fantastic strike, making the score 6-1.


MacFarlane completed her second-half hattrick by the 73rd minute, and despite UoA going down to 10 with an unfair red card, Aberdeen completed their dominance with another 2 goals from MacFarlane before full-time. A 9-1 score gave coach Scott Duncan the send off he deserved, as he steps away from the club after 15 years.


Scott Duncan celebrates Aberdeen scoring. Video Credit: Author

Men’s Football

The men’s game was played straight after, and a crowd of at least 150 formed on the hill outside. An early flurry of goals has the score at 2-2 in under 20 minutes, before Daniel Agnew slotted home a clever free kick routine to give Aberdeen the lead. UoA added another before half time meaning the score was 4-2 to the visitors. A rowdy RGU crowd went mental when 2 quick fire goals levelled things up yet again, and the came became nervy as full-time and the prospect of penalties approached.


Scott Logan looked as if he had won it for Aberdeen in the 92nd minute, only for his shot to rebound off the post. It would be penalties to split the teams after a fantastic fixture. Aberdeen would take first, and both teams slotted home 4/5 meaning sudden death. Aberdeen would miss their penalty, giving RGU a chance to win. The nervous player stepped up and smashed the ball home, giving RGU a dramatic victory. A pitch invasion ensued, as RGU celebrated their win.


Daniel Agnew slots home for Aberdeen. Video Credit: Author


Mixed Kickboxing

UoA had a strong performance throughout all the 11 matches and finished with a clear win of 6 points compared to RGU’s 2 points, with 2 draws and a no contest. After 6 matches UoA were leading 3-1, with two exciting close matches ending in a draw. UoA’s win streak was continued by Xingyu Mu and Jan Witte taking the score up to 5-1 with only 3 matches to go.


Although UoA’s win was all but confirmed, that didn’t stop RGU from bringing their all to the remaining matches. The 9th match was hard-fought from both sides with the crowd going wild the entire time, the result was a comeback from RGU with the score now at 5-2.


Egi Stocca, UoA’s Captain, had a strong showing against RGU, repeatedly knocking his opponent off balance, and bringing back another point for UoA. The final match looked to be going in RGU’s favour until an unfortunate injury for RGU in the 3rd round caused an early finish and a “no contest” to be called, resulting in a final score of 6-2 to UoA.


A draw. Picture Credit: James Martin

Finally, we here at The Gaudie wanted to extend our thanks to all the sports teams from both universities who were so accommodating to our reporters allowing us to gather photos, videos, and interviews.


Additionally, a special mention to Andrew Croll and James Martin, with whose assistance we were able to cover so many events in person. We look forward to working with you all next year!

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