The Light Blues won their Varsity Match at the Royal Porthcawl Golf Club CUGC

At the end of March, Cambridge’s Woman’s Blues, Men’s second and Men’s Blues golf teams completed a rare triple win against Oxford in the Oxford and Cambridge Varsity golf match. The Men’s team managed to finally break a lengthy recent losing streak against the other place to cap off a fantastic week of golf for the Light Blues.

This year’s match took place at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales. Setting the tone for the rest of the week, Cambridge’s ladies swept to an imperious 7-2 victory against their Oxford compatriots on the Tuesday. Emma Norris, Rachel Naylor, Carina Chan and Pippa Bonsall all went undefeated to propel Cambridge to an early Varsity success. Cambridge’s Men’s second team (affectionately nicknamed the ‘Cambridge Stymies’) also got one over on the Dark Blues, fighting hard to grit out a narrow 8.5-7.5 victory. Though Mihir Patel and Andre Neto-Bradley got unlucky in the infamous Thursday Dinner Match (contested between the two reserve players of both Universities’ Blues’ Teams to decide which club pays for a celebratory final dinner), the signs were looking good for the Cantabrigians.

When the men’s Blues match got underway on Friday, however, it was Oxford who got off to the faster start. After the morning 18, Cambridge were up only in one of the five foursomes matches, having struggled to find the pace of the Porthcawl greens. However, Joe Chandler and Douglas Maxwell found some inspiration on the practice range over lunch and started a Cambridge comeback in the first match of the afternoon.

A smiling captain Parkes after a fantastic putt to win his singles game at the 18th CUGC

Rallying under the former’s conviction of ‘they’re one up and shitting themselves’, Chandler and Maxwell kept up their great play and, courtesy of a clutch 10-foot putt on the 18th by Douglas, captured the first point of the Varsity Match for the Light Blues. George Baron and captain Parkes also found form, they too coming from behind in their game to triumph over Oxford’s Conley Hurst and James Woolsey. Despite fighting hard, Eliot Ebert and Seb Hickman were simply outputted by Henry Howard-Jenkins and Rory Giddins. But, by contrast, Matthew Davey and Andy Condron couldn’t miss, with their victory notching up a third straight point for the Cambridge cause. In the final match of the afternoon, Nick Winder and Will Trinkwon battled back to salvage a half to complete the Light Blues’ comeback as, despite a sluggish morning start, Cambridge led Oxford on Friday by 3.5-1.5 points.

Oxford were once again quick out the gates on Sunday, however, and wasted little time in wearing down Cambridge’s lead. The scores were still tight when the first match of the day, featuring Cambridge and Oxford captains Adam Parkes and Anton Persson playing each other as is traditional, arrived at the 16th tee in the afternoon with Parkes, who had ended the morning 18 one hole down, now three up with three to play and on the threshold of securing an important early point for the Light Blues. 16 and 17, however, were captured by Persson and when Parkes thinned a three wood fully 45 degrees right off the 18th tee, failed to get a purchase on a three iron, and then pulled his third shot into tall grass, Cambridge’s challenge looked to be slipping away.


Mountain View

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A bad break for Persson, however, in the form of a steep greenside bunker, offered Parkes the opportunity to rally, thrash a wedge onto the green and hole out from 15 feet for an unlikely win. The 18th green was to smile kindly upon the Light Blues as Douglas Maxwell also turned his match around on the final hole to muster an important 1 up victory over Tim Jukes. And when fresher Andy Condron walked in a putt on the very same hole minutes later, the 129th Varsity Match was all but officially won. It was left to George Baron, Seb Hickman and Joe Chandler to add three more points to the Light Blues’ tally and confirm a historic Cambridge victory as the dusk gathered around Royal Porthcawl.

The Men’s victory rounded off an excellent year of golf for the Cambridge golf club which also saw the team claim their first wins in several generations against Sunningdale Golf Club and the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society. The Men’s, Stymies and Ladies teams now begin preparation for next year’s 130th Varsity golf match, when they will aim to defend their titles at the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society’s home club Rye.

Full scores can be here

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