As March rolls in to the grey city so too does one of the most highly anticipated annual sporting events of the Aberdeen University calendar: The Granite City Challenge. This is no ordinary challenge, no, in fact the GCC is the biggest varsity event in the whole of the UK and sees varsity rivals Aberdeen University go head to head with Robert Gordon University, or as the students of Aberdeen would say ‘RGWHO!?’This year the good old Scottish weather decided to be kind to us Aberdeen dwellers and the sun shone, even if it was a little on the breezy side! But compared to last year when the heavens opened with snow no less, anything was an improvement for the ultimate grudge match day!
So from here the games commenced with battle taking place across a number of venues across the city from Aberdeen Sports Village, RGU: SPORT and Countesswells. Both sides going out hungry for a win, AU and RGU fielded their best teams in around 30 sports ranging from rugby, hockey, and netball to curling and shinty. I may be a little bias here but I’m very happy to report that once again AU was the victorious uni, winning the challenge by a comfortable margin of 17-11, keeping up the high standard from last years 19-12 outcome. I spoke to current AUSA President for Sport, Marc McCorkell to find out how he felt about the events of the day. He told me he was ‘very happy with result, in fact it’s one of the largest wins Aberdeen have had in the past few years’ he went on to say that ‘what is great about the Granite City Challenge is that it’s a really great event which showcases the sporting talent that Aberdeen has to offer, and thrown in with a bit of friendly rivalry with our city’s neighbouring university makes it all the more fun’.
As a member of the Aberdeen University Women’s Hockey Club (AUWHC) I spent my GCC day down at the Aberdeen Sports Village hockey pitches to support the hockey family. Spirits were high on both sides, but you could feel the tension between the sea of AU blue and yellow and RGU purple and black. First up were the girls 2nd XI who played out of their skin, producing a staggering double digits result of a whopping 15-0! Triumphant the girls set the tone for the afternoon as the 1st XI came out with their game faces, and in some cases, some full on war paint, all in the name of healthy rivalry of course! The play from both teams in this match was fabulous and fast pace, AU took the lead initially, then RGU bringing it back with an equaliser; for those of us on the side lines it was nail biting stuff. In the second half AU came out dominating, and took two more goals, one coming from the club president Rachael Cave, and in the end had a gleeful 3-2 victory.
Finally, after the hard work and great performance from the girls expectations were high for the final hockey match of the day: Men’s 1st XI. The game was tense, full of big hits, multiple aerials and even some sibling rivalry. Both teams locked horns and fought hard for the goals but in the end their was no victor and as the final shrill sound of the whistle blew the match ended on the somewhat frustrating score 2-2.
Out with the hockey results, some incredible scores were coming in across the board; AURFC took a hefty 29-5 victory, as did the netball girls who brought home a hugely admirable 34-18 win and golf also won beating RGU 7.5-2.5 to name but a few.As the day drew to a close and the euphoria took over hoards of the some 500 GCC competitors and friends went out and celebrated another win in the 17th year of this momentous event. A successful triumph once again for AU, GCC once again provided everyone involved with a great day of sportsmanship and fierce (but friendly) rivalry and for another year at least gives Aberdeen students dibbs on bragging rights in the Granite City… RGWHO!?