A home crowd inspired Cambridge to secure the Varsity crown by 47–41Imran Marashli

With the year almost at an end, and only a few Varsity matches remaining, we look back at some of the highlights in what has been an incredibly successful year for Cambridge sport. 

The Varsity Matches:

While the women were unable to recreate their heroics of the year before, narrowly losing an incredibly tight game, 3-0, the men won 23-18 – securing their first Varsity title in six years. Tries from Mike Phillips and Rory Triniman, as well as a host of kicks from the brilliant Fraser Gillies, put the Light Blues out of sight and brought a much overdue title home to Cambridge.

The Boat Races:

It was all about the women in Light Blue on the Thames as Cambridge won the Women’s Boat Race for the first time since 2012, setting a record time of 18 minutes and 33 seconds. Oxford were left trailing behind by some 20 lengths after a dreadful start in which Rebecca Esselstein caught a crab on the first stroke. The men were unable to defend their crown, though, as Oxford won by 1 ¼ lengths.

Lacrosse:

Perhaps the most dramatic and entertaining Varsity match of the year didn’t take place at Twickenham but on a blustery afternoon at St John’s Pitches. A dramatic golden goal deep into extra time ensured an 11–10 victory for the Cambridge University Women’s Lacrosse Club (CUWLC) in the 101st Varsity Lacrosse match. Even CUWLC President Emily Birch was surprised by the match, telling Varsity: “I don’t doubt that the match will go down in women’s lacrosse Varsity history for its drama, and I only hope that the close rivalry and high-quality lacrosse continues in years to come.”

Powerlifting:

An all-round dominant display saw the University of Cambridge Powerlifting Club (CUPLC) extend their dominant run over Oxford University Powerlifting Club (OUPLC) to record their 5th consecutive Varsity victory in front of a fervent crowd at the University Sports Centre. Cambridge comfortably out-lifted Oxford throughout the day to claim the trophy, with the top six lifters scoring a combined 2458.92 Wilks points to Oxford’s 2316.42. 

Boxing:

Dennis Mubaiwa's performance lit up a winning outing for the Cambridge Powerlifting ClubLouis Ashworth

A raucous home crowd was not enough to ensure victory for the Cambridge University Amateur Boxing Club (CUABC) as they were narrowly edged out 5–4 on a night of entertaining boxing at the 110th Men’s Varsity Boxing at the Corn Exchange. The women’s team, meanwhile, managed to defeat the Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club (OUABC) 2–1 to restore some pride for the Light Blues. Women’s captain and BUCS silver medallist Katie MacVarish put in arguably the most dominant performance of the night as she defeated Oxford’s Rachel Wheatley in the second round.

Hockey:

Only penalty shuffles separated Oxford and Cambridge in a dramatic and riveting men’s Varsity match at Southgate Hockey Club. The culmination of the hockey calendar see-sawed endlessly throughout, but it was the goalkeeping heroics of Oxford’s George Oyebode at the end of a long series of shuffles that ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides as Oxford triumphed 5-3 following a 2-2 draw in normal time.

Ice Hockey:

Cambridge University Ice Hockey Club Men’s Blues rose to the occasion in the 99th Varsity match, claiming the coveted King Edward Cup with an 8–3 victory in front of a raucous home crowd at the Planet Ice Arena in Peterborough. Dating back to 1855, it’s the world’s oldest ice hockey rivalry and the spectacle more than matched the occasion as Daniel Orvomaa picked up the man-of-the-match award for a virtuoso display in the Cambridge goal.

Netball

The Cambridge University Ladies’ Netball Club got revenge for their agonising 37–34 loss last year with a 47–41 victory that capped off a fantastic season for the Light Blues. Topping the BUCS Midlands 1A League with 9 wins from 10, Cambridge thoroughly outclassed their opponents, who are in the division below.

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