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Later this evening, Coombe Dingle will host the highly anticipated Varsity matches in both American Football and Lacrosse, which for the first time in Varsity history have been combined to create a fantastic evening of sport under the floodlights. While these two sports may find most of their popularity at colleges across the pond, they are sure to put on a fantastic spectacle at Fortress Dingle.

Despite having a generally successful year, finishing with a winning record of four wins and two losses, Bristol University’s Barracuda will feel that they have failed to capitalise on what should have been one of their best ever seasons. The squad has shown glimpses of its quality throughout the year but came up short against their biggest rivals in Gloucestershire and Plymouth.

The Barracuda were unfortunate to have to play Plymouth so early in the season as the team only grew in confidence as the year went on. Having beaten the Bournemouth Bobcats 7-0 in a tight affair in mid-February, Bristol’s offence uncharacteristically failed to turn up against the Gloucestershire Gladiators, suffering an agonising 0-3 defeat.

Nonetheless, the Barracuda made it into the BUCS playoffs, going up against the Brunel Burners who had finished their season unbeaten with six wins. Bristol fought hard with a strong defensive performance and flashes of attacking brilliance from quarterback Paddy Sidwell and wide receiver Luke Carter but at the end of normal time the score stood at 15-15. The match went into overtime and was ultimately decided by the referees’ decision to call a fumble on what seemed to clearly be a Bristol touchdown. Brunel responded to this with an interception leading to a touchdown that won them the game.

Cuda in their playoff clash with Brunel Burners

In spite of their painful exit from post-season American football, the Barracuda have not lost faith and will go into this week’s varsity game knowing just how dominant they can be at their best. Bristol are yet to win in Varsity American Football, with their most recent loss of 40-18 still fresh in the minds of many current Barracuda players. With that being said, many are claiming that this is the year for Bristol and is their best chance yet to claim Varsity victory.

Also on the night, Bristol and UWE’s lacrosse teams will clash and there will be no shortage of confidence for the home side. Bristol’s mens’ first team has been outstanding this season; winning their first league title in their history in the Premier South Division and ending the season unbeaten with ten wins out of ten. The consistency and tireless effort of the team throughout this year will inevitably give them a boost going into this big rival game.

Men’s 1s crowned the UNDEFEATED South Prem champs today! #winnersalwayswin #theyallbleedmaroonintheend #wearebristol

A post shared by UoB Men’s and Mixed Lacrosse (@ubmlc) on

Bristol’s ladies firsts have had a tough season, finishing fourth in a very competitive Premier South division. However with more wins than losses on the board in this campaign and playing against a UWE team who play three divisions below them in Western 2B, the team will be confident of bringing a victory home for Bristol.

Bristol lacrosse has a proud history in the Varsity series but they’ll have to avoid complacency at all costs if they plan on keeping this winning tradition. There will certainly be a lively atmosphere at Coombe Dingle on Friday and all the teams are sure to put on more thrilling performances on the pitch.

Friday Nights Lights will undoubtedly be one of the most intense events of this year’s Bristol Varsity series. The fierce rivalry of Bristol’s Universities will finally reveal itself in all its brutality, with every crunching tackle and explosive cut the two sides will give everything to take their side closer to being crowned this year’s Varsity Series champions.

Tickets are available at for £5 or tickets can be bought for £7 on the gate. The gates open at 5:30 so get down to Dingle to cheer on Bristol! #embracetherivalry

Cheer on Bristol in this year’s Varsity and get involved by using the hashtag #WeAreBristol and  follow updates of all the events on our social media:

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