With just four teams left in this year’s Cuppers competition, each side will be looking to write their own narrative come the end of Lent termAnnie Huang

In what was the first Cuppers weekend of 2022, Churchill I, Corpus Christi, Fitzwilliam I, and Jesus I beat Sidney Sussex I, St Catharine’s I, Gonville & Caius I, and King’s I respectively earlier today (06/02), booking their places in the tournament’s semi-finals that are due to be played in two weeks time (19/02).

Fitzwilliam 6 - 3 Gonville & Caius

Billed as one of the biggest games of the college football season, Caius vs. Fitz, despite being played in horrible wet and windy conditions, didn’t fail to live up to expectations. With Pembroke already out, Caius arguably stood the best chance of stopping Fitz marching towards a sixth consecutive Cuppers final, and they certainly put up a great fight. 

For those who follow college football regularly, the start of the match had an air of inevitability about it, with Sonny Mcpherson playing a lovely through ball to Lumi Kanwei who slotted home into the bottom right corner; a Blues connection giving Fitz the 1-0 lead just four minutes in.

Caius then settled and started to get a solid foothold in the game, with Naz Mohammed and captain James Wiseman battling superbly in midfield to try and contain the dangerous threats of Kanwei and Tom Randall. However, the Caius forwards were struggling to get into the game, and in the 27th minute Fitz doubled their lead when a Randall through ball set Jed Odagbu away, who cut inside and smashed the ball home.

The Fitz juggernaut seemed to be marching on comfortably, but Caius refused to lie down; they looked particularly threatening from set pieces, with Wiseman’s deliveries constantly being on the money. This paid dividends in the 29th minute, when he put in an inswinging corner that caused havoc in the box, with the ball eventually landing at the feet of Blues captain Ben Adam, who was able to smash the ball home from a few yards out. 

By this point the wind was howling and the rain was lashing down. The conditions certainly played their part in Fitz regaining their two goal cushion when Randall’s curled effort from the edge of the box caught the wind, confusing Caius keeper Finlay Gerrand and floating into the back of the net to make it 3-1.

Fitzwilliam held a lead over Caius for the entirety of the game Harry Atkins

Yet once again in this highly entertaining first half, Caius managed to pick themselves up with a moment of magic from Frank Gill. Being chased relentlessly by Kanwei, Gill managed to put a sumptuous ball in behind the Fitz defence whilst under pressure, which Nick Stuart gave chase to. Until this point Stuart had looked quite isolated, but all he needed was one chance and he calmly slotted home to make the score 3-2 going into the break.

Both sides came for the second half fighting in the knowledge that this was a season-defining game, and early in the second half Caius nearly had their equaliser. Stuart, whose confidence was up after his goal, worked hard to win the ball high up the pitch and put a teasing cross into the box. Fitz keeper Simon King just managed to clear, only for second-half Caius substitute Alex Mair to then hit the bar with a thunderous volley on the follow in - somehow the score remained unchanged.

Caius' tails were up, but winning teams have a habit of finding moments against the run of play. On this occasion it was co-captain Randall who stepped up to the plate for Fitz, scoring a lovely free-kick into the bottom right corner in the 56th minute.

Ten minutes later, Fitz looked to have put the game to bed when the inevitable happened, as Kanwei scored again with a great surging run down the right-hand side to push the score up to 5-2.

It was just a couple of sloppy errors that were costing Caius, but no one could question their heart or desire, and once again they fought their way back into the game. Another exceptional Wiseman corner in the 73rd minute ended with the ball coming out to the edge of the box and Mair beautifully slotting it into the bottom left corner.

Following their goal, Caius were on top with Mair and Ethan Sorrell beginning to cause problems down the left-hand side, but once again Fitz weathered the storm and in the 84th minute a shot from outside the box by Odagbu caused Gerrand some problems and made the score 6-3.

Caius fought valiantly throughout the match and will return next year with a huge hunger to win the cup, but ultimately Fitz did enough to get through and they’ll have every belief that they can go on and win the silverware once again.

Player of the Match: Lumi Kanwei

Gonville & Caius I: Finlay Gerrand, Ollie Babcock, Tom Burke, Charlie Wilson, Alex Edwards, Naz Mohammed, Ben Adam, James Wiseman (C), Frank Gill, Nick Stuart, Ethan Sorrell

Substitutes: Josh Monk, Aidan Atkinson, Alex Mair, Michael Hitchins, Amrit Gill

Fitzwilliam I: Cavan Farrow, Cass Ashworth, George Smith, Tom Willock, Ola Ogunnaike, Sonny McPherson (CC), Tom Randall (CC), Lumi Kanwei, Jathavan Thevarajah, Jed Odagbu, Ben Shires

Jesus 9 - 3 King’s

Cuppers always provides moments of both footballing and meteorological magic, and on Sunday afternoon (06/02) it was Jesus whose footballing wizardry seemed to inspire the sky into forming a perfect rainbow at the final whistle. A 9-3 thrashing of Division Two promotion rivals King’s ensured their progression to the semi-finals.

It was a blustery afternoon. The ball struggled to stay put in the centre circle before the first whistle, and the Jesus defence, playing against the wind in the first half, were occasionally bamboozled by a long clearance returning back over their heads. However, despite the conditions, after just three minutes Jesus were looking threatening. Fortina Oshasha glided past the flat-footed King’s defence, but nothing came of the eventual cross. The wind was howling, and the warning signs were there for King’s. 

Two minutes later Jesus made their pressure count. King’s couldn’t cope with a corner and, despite two saves from King’s debutant keeper Reilly Tilbury, captain Jamie Newnham pounced to fire into an empty net. 

A total of seven goals were scored in the second half of the King’s-Jesus clashJoshua Korber Hoffman

Jesus continued to dominate the opening stages. At the eleven-minute mark, the lethal link-up between Cai La Trobe-Roberts and Oshasha bore fruit again. Some tricky playmaking by Roberts forced the King’s defence high and Oshasha took advantage, latching onto a Roberts through ball and shooting confidently into the roof of the net to make it 2-0.

Driving rain was added to the wind and with it King’s began to grow into the game. After 26 minutes, Chichi Okolo’s incisive pass from inside his own half started an attractive attacking move converted by Jack Brisley. Five minutes later and King’s had equalised, this time a composed finish by Joe Vambe. The comeback looked on.

But Jesus were not disheartened. Out came the sun and out came the full attacking prowess of Oshasha and Roberts. Oshasha scored a second before half time to restore Jesus’ lead, calmly slotting it past Tilbury.

In the second half the rain stopped, but the deluge of goals began. Jesus exploited a tired King’s to open up their defence time and again. Roberts, having one of those games where everything he touched turned to gold, completed his hat-trick, with one goal coming directly from a corner, kindly assisted by the wind. The uncontainable Oshasha also bagged his third. Goals from Jesus’s Matt Griffiths and Alex Landell-Mills, as well as Ewan Dallas for King’s, made up the numbers, with the final whistle blowing at a resounding score of 9-3. 

At full time, the rainbow arched over a celebrating Jesus side, as King’s head out thanks to a pot of goals from Jesus’ attacking wonders.

Player of the Match: Cai La Trobe-Roberts 

King’s I: Reilly Tilbury, Chichi Okolo, Adi Weider, Niall Kim, George Hendrikse, Fabrizio De Vito (C), Conall Murray, Jack Brisley, Luke Cooley, Joseph Vambe, Alfred Lawrence 

Substitutes: Will Kirk, Ewan Dallas, Diallo Williams, Arjun Dodhia, Adair Bergin


Mountain View

CUAFL Matchday 7: Queens’ upset Fitzwilliam, Pembroke narrowly defeat Caius

Jesus I: Hamish Macgregor, Alex McDonald, David Pattinson, Jamie Newnham (C), Kishan Sisodiya, Billy Hughes, Angus Harron, Harry Crook, Fortina Oshasha, Alex Landell-Mills, Cai La Trobe-Roberts

Substitutes: Alex Kutuzov, Tom Brookes, Matt Griffiths

Elsewhere, Churchill and Corpus confirmed their spots in the next round with victories over Sidney Sussex and St Catharine’s respectively. A hat-trick from Joseph Helm sealed the deal for Churchill, while goal contributions from Seb Baynes, Charlie Ranson, and Arun Thirunavukarasu, along with the assists of Will Huddleston, Ranson, and Ben Hopkinson, was enough to earn Corpus the win.

Next week will see the return of league action, featuring a Pembroke side looking to claim a bounce-back win over Churchill and a struggling Homerton outfit hoping to get the better of Caius.

Cuppers semi-finals are scheduled to take place on the weekend of Saturday 19th February. Churchill will face Corpus Christi, while Fitzwilliam will take on Jesus.