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Hello and welcome to the Shock Network Varsity blog! It's that time of year again as the sports teams of Salford and Chester go head to head in intense action to see who can take home the coveted Varsity shield.

As Head of Sport at Shock, everything throughout the whole year leads to these two weeks, and for those partaking in the plethora of games going ahead both this and next Wednesday, it's very much the same. Each side will want a solid regular season in their respective BUCS league, but this is the game that matters.

So, for those that are new to Varsity, or if you want a quick refresher, here's how it all works...

Both Salford and Chester will battle across many sporting events. A win earns the University a point, and most points win. Sounds simple, right?

I mean, when you put it like that, it does. But there's so much more to unpack.

The first seven points will be up for grabs this Wednesday, as Varsity 2 takes place in Salford. Here, the football and netball second teams will face off amongst Archery, Futsal and Cricket. Then, next week the first teams and the other societies take the stage in an attempt to take the remaining 22.

Whilst the first week's events may seem unimportant in comparison to the main event, and whilst everyone will be looking forward to the main show at Chester, don't underestimate the advantage that Varsity 2 can provide - those who remember last year know that Salford won the main day, but had too much of a deficit to overcome going into the events on home soil.

So, with Chester holding the rights to display the new shield in their trophy cabinet for the past year after a 15-12 victory over their rivals last year, can they go two in a row? Salford went back-to-back the previous 2 years (and even could argue a 3-peat with 2021 being a "virtual varsity"), but Chester has yet to manage it.

Additionally, the hosts haven't won varsity since Salford did so in 2019. Granted, the pandemic and the virtual event exaggerate this slightly, but that still means the 2022 and 2023 editions proved that home advantage isn't always that advantageous.

So, with all that unpacked, I hope you're strapped in for a couple of weeks of absolute mayhem, plenty of chanting and maybe even a red card or two (sport-depending).

We'll be live across the Shock Network, including our brand-new pop-up station, so we can broadcast as much as we can to you guys, and make sure you're up to date with the blog too as there'll be plenty on here as well!



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