The annual varsity competition – a long-held rivalry between Bradford and Huddersfield universities – ended with a triumph for Bradford on home soil with students from the city taking the 2014 cup.

A total of 22 matches over 18 sports make up the competition, which is now in its 26th year, from American football to waterpolo.

Despite losing out in the rugby union finale, Bradford won the overall two-day competition for the first time since 2010.

Sam Butterworth, the University’s sabbatical officer for sports and societies, described the 12-10 win as “the end of a three-year exile”.

He said: “It’s so, so special for everyone. We’ve had a great year sports-wise on the pitch. And this was a great way to finish off a great sporting year at the university.”

“It’s always been a well-fought respectable competition – never a whitewash. We hope to be able to bring the trophy home again next year and make it two years on the trot.”

He described how students went wild when the results were announced following the final rugby union match on Wednesday night.

Professor Brian Cantor, vice-chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “For almost 50 years, students at Bradford have been studying for degrees while at the same time being dedicated and successful on the field.

“I can confidently speak for both the University of Bradford and University of Huddersfield when I say that the varsity rivalry between our two universities has a lot of history to celebrate.

“This varsity began 26 years ago and is testament to the achievements that students from both universities gain beyond their academic study. Bradford is very proud to offer high-quality extra-curricular activities as part of a student experience that benefits our students in both their well-being and their career.”

The first varsity competition between took place in 1988 and each institution takes turns to host the day. The number and variety of sports played has increased over the years and now covers American football, archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, climbing, cricket, fencing, football, hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union, squash, tennis, ultimate frisbee, volleyball and waterpolo.