It has been a long two-year wait for university sports societies across the country.

However, in 2022, the battle of the universities – Varsity – is finally making its grand return to Leicester. Once again, DMU will take on the University of Leicester across a range of sports – including Rugby, Football, Cricket and Tennis, between Monday 21 March and Tuesday 29 March. 

So, we have taken this opportunity to ask some of our sports societies how they are feeling about taking on the University of Leicester. 


Joe Collins, Chairperson and Alfie Burnett, Social Secretary discuss their preparations, successes and excitement to play the Varsity matches they never got to play in 2020.  

Like many members of sports societies, the devastation felt when varsity was cancelled due to the pandemic, it was difficult for many students to hope that they would ever play a Varsity match. So, when it was announced on January 12 that Varsity would be going ahead in 2022, the buzz among students that had been missing for the past two years finally returned. 

Talking about the announcement that Varsity would return, Joe said: “I was buzzing because I wasn’t picked to play in my first year.”

“I’d never seen a varsity, and I didn’t think I would for a few years,” added Alfie. 

DMU Hockey have been preparing to take on University of Leicester in their three Varsity matches – mixed, men’s and women’s. The preparations so far have been going successfully, with both the men and women excelling in their BUCS league matches throughout this year. 

The fighting talk from Hockey has already started, despite more than a month to go before Varsity.

“Both teams have beaten the (University of Leicester) second teams, so it’s just time for us to beat their first,” said Joe. 

Hockey, like many societies, are not only starting early with the fighting talk, but they have also started early with the training, in the form of improving their fitness, while also helping raise money for charity too. 

In February, Hockey decided to run 56 miles in aid of Cancer Research UK, which works out at around two miles a day. 

“A few of our members have been affected by cancer and it will affect many people throughout our lives,” said Joe. 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetimes, therefore any amount of money which can go into research can have massive benefits. 

Hockey chose to do this in February because while raising money, it also had the added benefit of improving their fitness in preparation for their varsity match.

“At the start it was hard, but as I’ve gone on, I’ve picked up the distance and the rhythm, so it’s getting easier,” said Joe. 

As a member of Team DMU, we just have to hope the hard graft Hockey have put in to improve their fitness will help benefit their varsity prospects, as well as raise lots of money for charity. 

Their varsity matches take place on Thursday 24 and Sunday 27 March.

The link for donations for their 56-mile run for Cancer Research UK:


DMU Saints Cheerleading squad are also making their return to varsity after two years away. Abbie Davis, Health and Safety, Imo McWhirter, Social Secretary and Elle-Ann Miller, dance coach and secretary discuss their plans for the cheer showcase performance during varsity, the importance of teamwork and their excitement at finally reuniting post-Covid restrictions. 

In previous years the varsity cheer has been a competition, including routines as well as stunts. However, this year both DMU and University of Leicester’s cheer squads have decided to opt for a more ‘showcase’ style – showing the best of their routines and stunts for students to enjoy. 

Varsity being cancelled in 2020 at the time left many people shocked and upset. 

“You work so hard to train and build that trust, and then two weeks before its cancelled,” said Imo. 

Likewise, the impact of two years away from Varsity means that many members organising it today are left uncertain about what to do and how it all works, which is causing difficulties for many societies, cheer included. 

“Personally, I was just confused at how we were supposed to fill roles we hadn’t seen filled in the first place, but we’re getting there for sure,” said Abbie. 

“We are still picking up on the COVID slack,” said Elle-Ann, something which many societies across many universities around the UK have endured this year. However, DMU Saints will not let this stop them in their Varsity performance which, after a long wait, they can finally enjoy. 

“We might be a small team, but we’re very good,” said Abbie. 

“Small but mighty!” Elle-Ann added. 

So, there is definitely no question about it – the DMU Saints are most definitely uniting together as a group and putting their best foot forward when it comes to taking on the University of Leicester’s Panthers. 

DMU Saints are feeling confident about their varsity because of the bond they have as a team, emphasising the importance of building trust within the group and the impact this can have on successfully performing together.  

“It can be difficult in the beginning to build that trust,” said Abbie. 

“With trust, it’s almost like you’re starting school, getting over that first introduction,” said Elle-Ann.

This is something which the Saints feel they have done successfully this year, and they hope that will help them during their showcase. 

“We’ve tried hard to make it a safe environment,” said Imo. 

Notably, Abbie added: “In different societies I always felt I had to put makeup on, but with the Cheer girls I don’t feel like that now.” 

All the Cheer squad look forward to performing alongside the University of Leicester for varsity on Friday 25 March.  


After five consecutive years of varsity wins, two DMU Equestrian teams are back to try and continue their winning streak, despite the two-year break. 

Halina Markiewic, Treasurer, is riding in the A Team for her varsity match this year. In 2019, she was part of the B Team and enjoyed the experience a lot, some much she was prepared to do it all over again in 2020 before it got cancelled. 

“I was very nervous in 2019, I felt under a lot of pressure. But it was good fun and there was such a group vibe, it was nice having everyone together,” she said. 

After their win in 2019, it was therefore understandable that Halina and the whole equestrian team were devastated when they could not try and replicate their win for a sixth year running. 

“We’d been competing all year and training really hard, for it to not happen at all, was disappointing. A lot of the team had into county competitions too, so they didn’t go ahead either,” Halina said. 

Therefore, when it was announced in 2022 that Varsity would finally be going ahead, like with many societies – there was extreme excitement. But also, with the ups and downs seen during first term with ever-changing restrictions, people never wanted to get their hopes up too soon. 

“I’m really happy it’s back, we were a bit scared to begin with, if the rules were going to change but now with only a few weeks left, we feel okay that it’s going ahead,” said Halina. 

“This is the final push to the end of training, and we are training hard. But it’s so good to have that community spirit, something to work towards as a group.”

In equestrian, they participate in two tasks – dressage and show jumping. They pick their horse at random and are then given four minutes to get to know their horse prior to riding it for the dressage. 

Scores from both the A and B team are combined together to create the overall total and therefore find the winner. All of DMU Equestrian will be hoping to continue their winning streak. 

“We might have had a break, but we’ve come back stronger,” said Halina. 

All of DMU Equestrian are ready to fight to retain their crown on Wednesday 23 March.

(Photo credit: De Montfort University)