Would you believe us if we told you Sammy Siddique had never been to Varsity before this year? Well believe it, because it’s true. What better way for a Swansea student to lose her Varsity virginity than to attend the 15th anniversary of the grudge match? Here she recounts her day as a soldier in the green and white army…

A green wave descended upon Cardiff that day.  A little girl screamed as she looked on in horror as the mass found its way closer and closer in to town.  The crowd’s smiles fell as they realised what it was.  Varsity.

It wasn’t really that horrific I promise! The atmosphere was actually a pretty lively one and generally friendly.  Even the chants of “Cardiff girls make more noise, when they’re [fornicating with] Swansea boys, with a knick-knack paddy-whack give a dog a bone, go on Cardiff [kindly go] home!” were meant lovingly I’m sure.  This was my very first Varsity and I found myself thinking, “Why have I never been before?” It was time to make up for all those years I’d missed: Postgrad style!  I had my T-shirt, ticket and tattoo transfer and boy was I excited!  I have to admit, as a Cardiff girl born and bred, it did feel a bit strange to be walking around clad in green and white, joining Swansea’s massive army.

The support was fantastic, though I’m not sure I can say the same for Cardiff as there were barely any students wearing red to be seen.  Obviously they were hiding out in their union as Swansea washed over Cardiff and took over all bars and pubs in the vicinity.  Cardiff was literally overflowing with students; it was madness I tell you!  Over 14,000 tickets were sold this year and I can bet Swansea bought most of them. When we did encounter some Cardiff supporters however, we noticed a minor discrepancy between the dates on their t-shirts and ours… Cardiff’s said 1997 – 2011 while Swansea’s was emblazoned with 1996 – 2001… some simple maths later, and the realisation dawned that Swansea had indeed got the dates wrong. Yet this didn’t quite put the dampener on our day, if anything, it made for a bit of extra banter. Elena claimed: “Don’t you think it adds to our charm somewhat?”

Elena and I nabbed a lift to Cardiff with Xtreme Radio’s Tom Upton on his “Banter Bus” (also dubbed as Clive at one point).  There was indeed banter and several delightful tunes to be heard as he floored it 62mph, the Banter Bus’ maximum speed, down the M4.  So minibuses can’t go that fast apparently but nonetheless I had my green and white scarf and I was excited!  We did manage to catch some of the rowing and as fun as it was to cheer for Swansea until my voice was sore, we unfortunately didn’t bag a win.  It turned out that not only had the seat(s) broken on the Novice Women’s race it had done so on the Novice Men’s as well, indicating a possible funding problem where Swansea Rowing is concerned. Nevertheless, even as it became clear we wouldn’t win, we carried on cheering, because that’s what supporters do!

Later, inside the Millennium Stadium, it was immense and while they still separated Swansea from Cardiff (a wise choice perhaps?) the crowd was still buzzing.  Probably due to all the alcohol they had consumed during the day and their energy levels running on McDonalds or on some other form of takeaway.  There’s no need for real food at Varsity, don’t be so silly!  I was rather jealous of the people in the VIP Press Boxes above us as at the beginning but I have to be honest with you, as the night progressed I was loving my seat two rows from the front amidst the cheering Swansea supporters with their customised T-shirts, scarves and those jingly jester hats which I was so tempted to buy.  I also have to say, props to our cheerleaders for getting their kit off to reveal “S.W.A.N.S.E.A” written on their tops.   The night grew colder but we didn’t care, we were… what’s the word?  WINNING!  And indeed Swansea won Varsity 2011 and on the 15th anniversary as well.

And as the winners took their victory walk around the pitch, the red sea had parted and sunk out of the building, desperate not to meet a Swansea supporter on their way out. If I knew Varsity was this much fun, I would have gone every year!

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