Corpus Christi dispatched St John’s in the opening game of the weekendAnnie Huang

This weekend’s round of league fixtures saw Corpus Christi, Queens’ I, Churchill I, and Pembroke I beat St John’s I, Fitzwilliam I, Robinson I, and Gonville & Caius I respectively.

Homerton’s relegation clash with Downing was postponed due to Covid-enforced absences and various injuries, and will instead be played next Saturday (05/02), while Queens’ pulled off the shock of the season so far as they smashed Fitzwilliam 5-2 on Sunday morning (30/01). Meanwhile, Pembroke overcame Caius at the top of the division to keep their title hopes alive.

Unfortunately, the Varsity Sport team was also in the thick of its own Covid-19 outbreak, with only one game finding itself under the reporter’s microscope on this occasion.

Pembroke 3 - 2 Gonville & Caius

Pembroke convincingly beat a low-confidence Caius side 3-2 on Sunday afternoon (30/01) to relaunch their title challenge.

Heading into the fixture, the two sides were placed second and third respectively and were also given a huge post-match boost as news of Fitz’s shock defeat broke at the Pembroke Sports Ground. Pembroke were the marginal favourites, especially given Caius’ 7-2 battering last Sunday (23/01) at the hands of George Pugh’s Robinson.  

It was Caius, however, who started the brighter of the two, and in the opening minutes went 1-0 up. Ethan Sorrell produced a moment of magic, described best by onlookers as a ‘pseudo-overhead kick’, leaving Caius in the ascendancy.

Yet Pembroke battled back, and for the rest of the opening twenty the game produced few chances but great intensity. Both teams struggled to get a real hold in midfield with foul after foul committed, ultimately by-products of the battle for supremacy there. 

Soon, however, Pembroke found their rhythm and began to dominate. Minutes later, they were awarded a penalty after a mistimed tackle from the Caius defence. Scepticism abounded on the sidelines, but no Caius player complained about the decision. Pembroke target man Jack Seery stepped up to convert from the spot, despite keeper David Evans getting a glove to the ball, and made it 1-1.

Pembroke continued to dominate from then on, fired up by the earlier Fitz result and their own equaliser. In a desperate effort to keep the score level going into the break, Caius centre-back Tom Burke made a superb diving challenge to flick the ball onto the post with the goal gaping for the home side. Despite Caius managing half a chance before half-time, they went in at the break looking tired and under pressure.

Without their star captain Tele Agusto, Pembroke nonetheless came out with the same intensity they’d shown before the stoppage. Marauding centre-back Josh O'Connell found himself in acres of space near the edge of the Caius penalty area and placed a fine shot from outside the box into the far corner, tucked out of the keeper’s reach and making it 2-1. To say it was not a centre back’s goal would be an understatement.

Gonville & Caius have now lost their last two gamesTom Bullivant

The home side continued to press and were unlucky not to make it three with a series of chances, ending with a decent save by Caius’ Evans from a free-kick on the edge of the area after a controversial call against him for handball outside the box.

As the second half continued to shape, Caius did find some momentum. A series of corners saw Ollie Babcock head narrowly over, but was soon followed up by a goal-line scramble that saw the tall centre-back poke in after a miscommunication in the Pembroke defence. After so much home dominance, it was suddenly 2-2.

Did Pembroke let this setback get to them? Of course not. The response was swift and devastating, as the excellent stand-in captain Reed embarked on a mazy run through the Caius defence, beating three or four men to then put it on a plate for Alex Root, who finished coolly to make it 3-2.

With twenty minutes left, Caius inevitably put more pressure on the home defence and came close to levelling it, as yet another goal-line scramble harshly came to nothing after Sorrell eventually headed wide.

Pembroke maintained their dominance as the clock wound down and never really looked like conceding, organised brilliantly in both defence and midfield. Caius faced further woe when the reliable Burke and attacking Sorrell were both forced off due to injury, compounding a frustrating afternoon for the visiting side. In the end it was a deserved win for Pembroke, while Caius will be frustrated with their losing start to the year and will need a serious reset if they are to stand a chance against Fitzwilliam in Cuppers next weekend.

Player of the Match: Ollie Reed


Pembroke I: Cameron Keith, Will Holmes, Josh O'Connell, Dan Babalola, Sonny Mahendran, Ollie Reed (C), Tom Dixon, Gareth Morgan, Alex Root, Haydn Francis, Jack Seery


Mountain View

CUAFL Matchday 6: Fitzwilliam edge Pembroke in title race, Caius battered by Robinson

Substitutes: Jake Stokes

Gonville & Caius I: David Evans, Aidan Atkinson, Ollie Babcock, Tom Burke, Alex Edwards, Charlie Wilson, Naz Mohammed, James Wiseman (C), Frank Gill, Nick Stuart, Ethan Sorrell

Substitutes: Michael Hitchins, Josh Monk,  Sam Odu, Amrit Gill

Across the other college pitches of Cambridge, Queens’ defeated Fitzwilliam by a score of 5-2. The home side started blisteringly well by scoring four goals without reply. Lewis Bocking grabbed the first with a neat finish after a through ball from Toby Clark. Sean Cusack added the second after a great run, and Paul Jüsten got the third from close range. Cusack notched his brace and Queens’ fourth before half-time. The second 45 started very evenly, with Fitz pulling one back with half an hour to play through none other than league top-scorer Lumi Kanwei. Bocking put the game to bed shortly after, however, with a great finish from the edge of the box, before Kanwei added a consolation for Fitz at the close of the game.

Corpus Christi defeated St John’s 2-1 to keep themselves clear of relegation trouble, while the pink shirts of Churchill beat Robinson 4-0. A hat-trick from striker Ed Wicken all but sealed the deal for the away side.

Next weekend welcomes the return of Cuppers action, and the fixture list can be found here.