As May approaches the Esquires' Inter-hall football league, like most in Europe, is drawing to a close. Although not of the same quality as Serie A, the Premiership, or La Liga, the Interhall league has grown on its past success and is maturing into a strong and competitive competition. This year eighteen team from across college and the University of London have taken part.
The majority of the teams competing are college halls of residence, and it comes a no surprise that the larger halls feature more prominently in the league. This year, Clayponds, Linstead and Wilson (last years league and cup champions) have proved strong opposition. Clayponds A still smarting from last years defeats, have been a strong team from the start and have led for most of the season. They held off challenges from both Wilson and Holbein/Willis Jackson to maintain an unbeaten run, which was only ended after a controversial defeat at the hands of Fisher, the result of which was only confirmed after a meeting of the league appeals panel.
Linstead A, have grown stronger throughout the season. Their choice to run with two teams may have added additional strain early in the season, leading to a mediocre run of results for both sides. However, now that the A team has found a winning run of form this should see them safely into the top eight. Wilson on the other hand have had a mixed season. A loss on the opening day and a draw against Clayponds A has seen them lose their league crown, but again general form should see them safely into the top eight from where they can defend their cup and championship title.
Although the league is a competition in its own right the more coveted prise is that of cup winners, which brings with it the title of Champions 2002-2003. Only the top eight sides from the league compete in the cup, with the top four league sides having a significant advantage in the quarterfinals. Clayponds A have already won the league, and secured their top four finish with two league games still to play. Currently, Holbein/Willis Jackson, Fisher, and Garden/Weeks hold the other top spots, but the four teams below them can still catch up. A top eight finish, and cup entry, is also still possible for nine teams, all the way down to Southwell, currently tenth in the league table.
This year the league has been at its most competitive, but the real goal of this competition is to let people who may never have played competitive sport before take part in something, which is both fun, and relaxing when many other aspects of life at Imperial can be highly stressful. It also provides a great opportunity for people both within each team and across college to get together and meet for the first time.
Following this theme, my team of the year has to be Pembridge, who after fifteen straight defeats are still battling away to get their first victory. Many teams would have given up, but Pembridge have returned time and time again, which shows a spirit not often found when things are going badly. Credit for this must go to the wardening team at Pembridge and of course to the players themselves. History is on their side as well! After a season with only one point in 2000-2001, Wilson can back the next year to dominate the league and inflict what is still Clayponds heaviest defeat.
Anyway, if you are looking for a bit of exam relief over the next few weeks the final matches of the league season and those of the cup will be played in Hyde, Battersea and Gunnersbury parks, with all the games listed on Live!