Glasgow University secured a seventh Taxis Cup in succession in dramatic circumstances as they narrowly defeated their closest rivals Strathclyde on a memorable day of sport across the city.
In recent times, Glasgow have made a habit of defeating their arch rivals by the narrowest of margins in the biggest sporting day on the calendar and as the day progressed it became apparent that 2017 would be no different. It proved a tumultuous day of sport with Glasgow relying upon some key victories from the Riding, Hares and Hounds, and Trampoline Clubs as more established teams failed to live up to expectations in disappointing defeats. This included the Men’s Rugby Club, whose defeat 7-17 to Strathclyde in their decider crushed any hopes of the team achieving an unprecedented treble as they aim to add the BUCS Trophy to their League title. Victory in the Men’s Rugby was one of a number of unexpected Strathclyde wins which left the final result hanging in the balance.
“Well obviously delighted. Seven in a row is a massive achievement, so a massive well done to everyone of our athletes who competed today.” Remarked a relieved GUSA President, Ruari Thomson. “A massive well done to Strathclyde and Caley too. It was much too close for my liking but we are just delighted to get away with the win.” Thomson could not help but show his delight in front of the gathered crowd at Scotstoun, the main host venue for this year’s event, as a dramatic day came to a memorable climax and a despondent Strathclyde were left to rue missed opportunities to end their Taxis Cup drought.
The day began in promising fashion for Glasgow as the Riding Club retained their title for a third year in-a-row to match the victories of the Ski and Snowboard and Hares and Hounds Clubs from last week to give champions a healthy lead heading into the afternoon of sport and on course to retain their title with ease. However, spurned on by their wonderful team spirit, Strathclyde suddenly began to turn the tide their way and impressive victories in the Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Hockey events, and most surprisingly in the Men’s Rugby had Glasgow on the backfoot as events kicked off at Scotstoun. The hapless Glasgow Caledonian University found themselves already down and out by this point and would only muster four second placed finishes across twenty-one events. Although that was two more second places than last year, a number of damaging defeats, such as the Men’s Rugby where they ended the day with a mere 5 points to their 133 lost, and failure to show up for the Women’s Football and Golf did little to suggest that the gap between Caley and their rivals is closing.
As more and more events took place, Glasgow’s title looked in ever-increasing danger as Strathclyde secured further success in the Men’s Football, Golf, and Tennis and Glasgow found themselves a lowly third in the Men’s Basketball, a competition they had won in 2016. The Men’s Football was lost in dramatic circumstances as Strathclyde survived an onslaught during the match before downing Glasgow on penalties, much to the frustration of club captain, Tom Middlemass. As the afternoon turned to evening, Strathclyde looked the more likely team to win the title and Glasgow remained reliant on the Athletics, Swimming, and Badminton events to give themselves any chance. Normally a banker, the Athletics looked to be in danger when a dropped baton in the women’s 4x100m relay gave a crucial race victory to Strathclyde in front of an excited crowd at Scotstoun, but Glasgow retained that event in the end. As the attention turned to the badminton finale, where world ranked Matthew Carder, of Glasgow, and Alex Dunn, of Strathclyde, would face off in a potentially tournament deciding clash, it was impossible to tell whose name would be etched onto the trophy.
It would be Carder who would win the clash of titans in nail-biting fashion as he defeated Dunn in three tight sets, but by this point the final event had already been wrapped up by those in maroon meaning that Glasgow would have to rely upon results from earlier in the day to decide their fate. As the crowd converged on the trophy presentation, those in black and gold frantically tried to work out if key victories in Swimming, Netball, and Women’s Football had been enough to retain their title. After some delay, the announcement was finally made to euphoric cheers: Glasgow had done it once again.
Reacting to the victory, Jamie Taylor, the Sport Development Co-Ordinator at Glasgow, said, “it’s fantastic that Glasgow have retained the Glasgow Taxis Cup for a seventh year in a row and also a bit of a relief for Ruari (Thomson) to continue this winning streak.” Before the tournament, Thomson had joked that he had nothing to gain and everything to lose based on the result. “I think the Glasgow strength across the board was what made the difference, it was extremely close with only a few points remaining so even the sports that we didn’t win played a huge role in keeping our overall score ticking over and eventually pull away from Strathclyde.”