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Each year students from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE) go head to head in a series of sporting events held across the city in the name of fun, rivalry and fundraising.

This year the line-up is bigger and better than ever before and Epigram will be there to bring you coverage of all of the events.

Bristol’s two universities commence battle on 16th March, starting with Ignition, Bristol’s fundraising event before the sporting action gets underway over the weekend.

The first major event for your calendar is Saturday 18th March where Bristol’s oarsmen will race in the 22nd Varsity boat race in Bristol Harbour between 11am and 3pm. Six crews are due to race including the Men’s first and second eights and the women’s eight. Bristol lead the overall record for the trophy 13-8 but UWE’s men’s eight hold a 13-7 advantage over their Bristol counterparts.

The following week will see a real festival atmosphere descend on Bristol as ‘Varsity Week’ properly kicks off. The evening of Wednesday 22nd sees the Bristol Colour Run at UWE’s Frenchay Campus before the darts the following night and subsequent after-party at Walkabout in the city centre.

While it might not be Michael Van Gerwen or Phil Taylor throwing the arrows, it is surely a night not to be missed – the Epigram Sport team will be there to party if that is not enough to convince you to be there.

Up next will be the ‘Friday Night Lights’ at Bristol University’s fortress, Coombe Dingle. Many a name have made themselves heroes here and the American football and Lacrosse clubs will be hoping to write their names into folklore.

‘Friday Night Lights’ is followed by basketball and Varsity Fight Night on Tuesday 28th at Bristol Student’s Union’s Anson Rooms. The boxing promises to be a raucous event – expect to see some tense fights and plenty of away support from across the city.

If you are susceptible to a bad hangover then get an early night after the boxing as Wednesday 29th is ‘Varsity Day’ where every sports club and every team will do battle with the old enemy. The day comprises of over 1,500 UoB students taking to their pitch, court or pool.

Varsity’s flagship event, the men’s and women’s rugby, this year takes place on 30th March at Ashton Gate, which now seats 27,000. Bristol’s men should be confident – a thumping 55-7 league victory over UWE on February 1st has cemented their position at the top of Division South A with UWE languishing in 6th place.

Bristol’s women have not been in the best form, recording only 3 league wins this season but will still be hopeful of beating UWE, who remain two divisions lower than them. The Varsity Rugby Match has a long history, and in the six years that the match was co-ordinated by Oxfam from 1996 until 2002, the event raised over £50,000.

Once again expecting a massive crowd, this year’s change in location promises to add extra spice to proceedings. Both Bristol and UWE have produced world famous players who all once competed in this varsity fixture.

UWE can boast England man-mountain Simon Shaw and tricky Scottish fullback Hugo Southwell while 2003 World Cup Winners Josh Lewsey and Kyran Bracken both represented Bristol in the 1990s. The final event of the Varsity season this year, again held at Ashton Gate, sees Bristol’s men’s and women’s first football teams take on UWE, but only after the Easter break.

Bristol’s men will feel confident going into the tie, particularly if their good form continues which has seen them climb to the top of their league this season. The match is likely to be tight with UWE, who are also in decent form, lying second in their division.

Bristol’s women will face a tough task to overcome a strong UWE side. Two points separate the teams in the Western 1A division but in the league UWE got the better of Bristol, winning 3-1 when the sides met in early February.

There is no doubt we are in for a sporting treat and everyone at Epigram Sport will cheering on the Mighty Maroon and hoping for yet another comprehensive UoB victory.

Get involved during Varsity using the hastag #WeAreBristol

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