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Polly Ollies return to see Leeds Beckett trounce Leeds Uni 29-8 in the Men’s Rugby Union.
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Polly Ollies return to see Leeds Beckett trounce Leeds Uni 29-8 in the Men’s Rugby Union.

written by Richard Allen | 5 October 2017
This week 16 members of our very first Rugby Union team to play Leeds University returned for the annual grudge match between Leeds Beckett and Leeds University.

Led by Tony Horsfall, BSc (Hons) Production Engineering, 1976, the side who were nicknamed the Poly Ollies, returned to our University to witness Leeds Beckett beat Leeds University last night. The Poly Ollies have met every year since 2001 and have attended Varsity together since 2015, this year meeting in the Executive Suite at Headingley Carnegie Stadium for a drinks and buffet reception before enjoying Carnegie Stand seats to watch the grudge match.

Tony recalls the original “Varsity” match in 1975 and explains “Up to the 1975-76 season Leeds University did not think we were worthy opponents but with us having won the British Polytechnics Cup in season 1973-74, runners-up in season 1974-75 and being the first ever student team winners of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy, they finally agreed to play us on March 10 1976 whereupon we beat Leeds University 12-7. The rugby I played whilst studying here was certainly the most enjoyable period of rugby in my life and it is pleasing to note that the university continues to have the upper hand in the varsity matches today!”

As well as the Poly Ollies, alumni from the class of 1976 Certificate of Education with Physical Education were also reunited to witness the rugby. Led by Bob Mitchell, who organises a reunion for the group every other year, 11 alumni were reunited at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Varsity has taken place every October since 2004 and sees Leeds Beckett University lock horns across 25 different sports, playing over 60 fixtures to determine who will be crowned Leeds Varsity champions.

This year Leeds Beckett beat Leeds University 29-9 in the Men’s Rugby Union meaning that overall, after other wins in Tennis, Netball, Hockey and American Football to but a few, the Varsity crown was retained for a thirteenth year.