06 April 2022

University of East London (UEL) retained the Challenge Cup with a thrilling day of sport featuring basketball, cricket, football, futsal, rugby, American football, volleyball, netball, taekwondo, and badminton. 

The Challenge Cup event on Wednesday 30 March 2022, held at UEL's iconic SportsDock sports complex and local venues across east London, was packed with students from hosts UEL and visitors Anglia Ruskin University (ARU). 

Overall, UEL won with seven victories to the visitor's six, with the Phoenix recording wins in badminton, men's basketball, cricket, men's football, women's futsal, plus both the men's and women's volleyball. 

The day was full of highlights. UEL stormed into an early lead and looked confident in the morning and early afternoon events. An epic match in the women’s basketball saw ARU threaten to stage an upset, as they held on for a narrow 52-56 victory despite a spirited fightback by UEL in the final two quarters, inspired by the noisy home crowd. 

However, UEL men's volleyball team gave a dominant performance, swinging the balance back in the Phoenix's favour. This was quickly followed by an impressive 3-2 win in women's futsal, meaning it was all level going into the final fixture. 

That final match was men's basketball on a showcase court packed with a full house of supporters. UEL came out fast in the match, and despite a close middle period, the Phoenix finished 91-77 winners, capping off an action-packed day of sporting excellence in style. 

UEL's pro vice-chancellor (education & experience) and chief operating officer, Dr Ian Pickup said, "We are proud to have retained the Challenge Cup. It is a real testament to the commitment that UEL's sport scholars, clubs and the East London Sport staff are putting in behind the scenes. They have worked so hard for so long, and this is further evidence that our efforts are paying off across a wide range of sports.   

On behalf of UEL, I also want to thank my peers at ARU, their players and supporters. Since we partnered with them to run the Challenge Cup it just keeps getting better and better, and we look forward to defending the cup in 2023."

James Kilden, acting director of sport & active campus, added, "It was fantastic to have the Challenge Cup back after two years away due to the pandemic. For many students, this was their first experience of the Challenge Cup, and the energy was some of the best I have ever seen on campus. The atmosphere showcased the great sports community we have at UEL, and the support from the crowd helped lift the performances all round."

Interesting in joining a sports team at UEL?  

Besides the sports on show at the Challenge Cup, the University of East London is home to athletics, rowing, wheelchair basketball, and much more.  Find your sport  and learn how to become a part of the sports community at UEL. 

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