Cambridge’s 2020 Varsity Squad: Left to Right – Top: Alexei Newton, Patrick Moore, Edward Green, Marc Mills, Zach Bond. Lower: Edward Brown, Sophie Brawn, Molly BirchMegan Vaughan

On the afternoon of the 29th of February Cambridge and Oxford go head to head in the only sports fixture worth talking about – Tiddlywinks. 

But what is Tiddlywinks? Many students have never heard of this noble sport or seem to think it is some sort of Cambridge joke, but they would be far from the truth. 

 The modern game of Tiddlywinks was first invented in Christ's College on January 16th 1955. From humble beginnings the game became highly popular with as many as 37 Universities competing during the 60s for the “Silver Wink” trophy which was established by HRH Prince Philip.#

The Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (OTS) has recently been refounded in 2019, its establishment followed CUTwS by three years, in 1958.

Our good friends at The Tab give the scoopThe Cambridge Tab

The game is played on a 6ft by 3ft felt mat on a table. Players start at each corner and take it in turns to fire a wink (a thin plastic counter) at a small pot in the centre of the mat. To motivate the winks a larger, thicker disk called a squidger is used in a swift and continuous motion. Players often have a range of squidgers which they use for different shots. Many players though will play most shots with their favourite squidger which they will have, undoubtedly, shaped and polished to achieve their own preferred edge. 


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Though the aim of the game is to get the winks into the pot (with a highly satisfying “plink” noise), the invention of the squop (a wink covered by an enemy wink) rule (rule 8.2 in the official English Tiddlywinks Association rules) has resulted in a game of fierce area control, the position of guards and other tactics to prevent winks from being squopped and therefore immobilised by the opponents. Tiddlywinks has evolved to become a sport where skill and strategy are equally important but one which anyone can take part in. 

Since 1959 the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC) has played the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (OUTS) for the Varsity Cup. The team this year has a considerable reputation to uphold – CUTwC has only lost 5 times in total.

The team consists of 4 pairs of players who each play against the 4 pairs on the Oxford team. The points scored in each game are summed to give the final score (there are 7 points available in each game). The team with the most points then returns home to eternal Tiddlywink glory.

Absolutely enthralled by the above?  Of course you are. Join the convoy and get yourselves along to Wadham College on the 29th! You'll be in for quite the show. 

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