On Wednesday 13 March, 10 of the University’s sports teams took on their counterparts from RAF Leuchars in the 5th annual Tedder Challenge.
The Tedder family occupy an important place in the histories of both the RAF and the University and the event seeks to commemorate this through sport.
This year’s event was the biggest to date, as the Challenge expanded from 6 events to ten, namely rugby, football, golf, clay pigeon shooting, cross country, netball, squash, climbing, show jumping and volleyball.
Gary Brankin, event organiser and University Sport Development manager, referred to the event as a “huge success” which has “helped to further strengthen the links that we have with RAF Leuchars”.
It was a sentiment that was echoed by Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander of RAF Leuchars, Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, who said, “the Tedder Challenge reinforces the excellent relationship we enjoy with St Andrews University” and he emphasised that event reflects “many of the best aspects of the RAF.”
Honours were even in the 2012 event, held at RAF Leuchars, and this provided extra incentive for the teams preparing to contest the 2013 Challenge at the University. The Saints were in dominant form from the outset and raced into the lead by picking up victories in netball and cross country.
The initial trickle of success became a flood, as the University took what would prove to be an unassailable advantage, claiming the spoils in the clay pigeon shooting, rugby and climbing. However, the team from RAF Leuchars refused to give in and picked up victories in golf, football, and squash making the score 5-3.
This resurgence gave the RAF a slim chance of replicating the 2012 result, as with 2 events remaining the score stood at 5-3 to the University. The threat of an RAF comeback promised to produce a nail-biting finish in the final events, volleyball and show jumping.
The volleyball match had been won by the University team for the past two years and the RAF captain’s pre-match confession that the RAF team lacked match practice suggested that this was a trend that was unlikely to be reversed. Despite the odds being stacked against them, the RAF contributed admirably to a closely contested first set, the University narrowly securing it 25-21. In the second,
the Saints stormed ahead, racing to an 8-0 lead, mainly as a result of some strong serving.
The RAF team responded strongly and whittled the Saints’ advantage down to just 3 points; however, in the end, experience prevailed and St Andrews took the set 25-19. A 25-10 victory for the Saints in the final set confirmed the whitewash and consigned the RAF to overall defeat in the Challenge.
Kevin Dibb, President and captain on the day, said “the volleyball club had a great time at this year’s Tedder Challenge, winning in straight sets and continuing it’s unbeaten record”.
He added that the team “featured a real mix of players from our women’s 1st and 2nd teams, as well as a number from the men’s team. Although we rarely play with a mixed team, everyone came together, had a great day, and won the match quite decisively”.
St Andrews rounded off this year’s event in resounding fashion by securing a further victory in the show jumping which confirmed a 7-3 victory for the University.