Third-year IR student and current Alumni Relations Intern in the Development Office, Elizabeth Stockton, attended this year’s RBS Scottish Varsity Match and, from a St Andrews perspective at least, could not have picked a better game for her first experience of rugby –Elizabeth does not apologise for any St Andrews bias in this article!
As an American studying at St Andrews, there are so many unique and exciting opportunities and events that I am fortunate to have access to purely by virtue of studying in a Scottish seaside town. While I am eternally grateful to spend four years here, every Saturday in autumn I do feel a longing desire to paint my face, done our University colours, and march down to the campus stadium to cheer our sports team to victory against our latest rival. In the United States, this process is known as ‘College Game Day,’ and last Saturday I got to experience my first ‘Game Day,’ St Andrews style.
On Saturday, 10,000 spectators poured into Murrayfield in Edinburgh for the oldest varsity rugby match in the world. As my friends and I arrived, the stadium was buzzing with anxious energy and anticipation as we waited for the main show to start. As the Men’s 1st XV charged onto the field, thunderous applause from the thousands of St Andrews students who journeyed down to Edinburgh for the day carried across the pitch, and demonstrated how excited everyone was for the showdown to begin.
The match proved to be a spectator’s dream, as we easily scored three tries before Edinburgh could make it across the end line. However, they quickly responded with two tries of their own, leaving the score 17-12 to St Andrews at the half-time whistle. Edinburgh came out swinging in the second half, with two tries that put them up 26-20 with eight minutes remaining. With each Edinburgh score I buried my face into my cap in disbelief that we could be letting our strong lead slip away.
And then, just like the script of a Hollywood movie, with no time to spare as the clock hit 80, St Andrews dug in and squeezed over the whitewash for a try that put us within striking distance of victory. We sat with our eyes glued to the field, as the kicker stood over a challenging conversion kick from the far right side of the field. As soon as the referees’ white flags sailed up to signal a successful kick, St Andrews students, alumni and fans erupted in ecstatic cheers, screams, and a very boisterous version of ‘Oh When the Saints Come Marching In.’
In that incredible moment, the entire St Andrews community came together to celebrate the 27-26 victory, and we all marched out of Murrayfield proud to consider ourselves connected to St Andrews.
To relive the moment of victory, check out this video of the remarkable kick that handed St Andrews the win: https://twitter.com/PL_StAndrews/status/647846159076208640