Churchill will be in for a chance to win their first-ever Cuppers title, while Fitzwilliam will be hoping to achieve their fifteenthAnnie Huang

The one before the big one. Cuppers semi-finals played out earlier today (19/02) in their usual fashion of goal scoring and mouth-opening moments, with a couple of screamers rocketing into top corners that may owe half an assist to Storm Eunice.

Wading through the wind and rain to come out victors, both Churchill I and Fitzwilliam I booked their places in this year’s Cuppers final, due to be played next month, after beating Corpus Christi and Jesus I respectively.

Churchill 3 - 2 Corpus Christi

The matchup of two pink teams occurred in extremely grey conditions earlier this morning. Luckily, the few spectators who braved the storm were treated to an exciting game in this Cuppers semi-final at Storey’s Way.

Corpus had the upper hand in the first half. From the first minute, they found joy down the wings and exploited the space behind Churchill’s fullbacks. The weather and the occasion meant that the game was cagey and a bit scrappy, while both defences were solid enough to prevent too many clear cut chances.

Corpus’ Charlie Ranson had the first shot on target after twenty minutes with a cheeky backheel flick, which Churchill keeper Sagar Agrawal met well to keep out.

Ten minutes later, Marcus Hicks got through down the right flank for Corpus but fired his low strike into the side netting.

Churchill staggered into half-time with the score tied at 0-0 through resolute defending, while Corpus were controlling the middle of the field in the absence of captain Cosimo Burdett and looked the most dangerous. 

After the break, Corpus uncharacteristically lacked aggression in midfield, which allowed Churchill to assert themselves. Just minutes into the half, Conor O’Neill headed in at the back stick from Alex Perrin’s cross to break the deadlock.

As Corpus pressed for an equaliser, the game really opened up, with big saves being produced by both keepers.

A late goal from Corpus’ Dan Ley was not enough to overturn the 3-2 deficitAnnie Huang

With around twenty minutes left on the clock, Corpus won a free-kick down the right. Dan Ley found space inside the six-yard box and headed it back across goal to tie the game and spark life into the visitors.

But as the momentum seemed to be swinging towards Corpus, Churchill winger Joceliño Rodrigues smashed an incredible strike into the top corner, leaving goalkeeper Jake Barker with no chance.

After this, Churchill sought to consolidate their lead and attack on the counter. With just five minutes left, Ed Wicken got in behind the defence and was brought down for a penalty. Joe Helm smoothly fired it into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.

Although most watching the game thought that this goal had cemented the victory for Churchill, that information had not reached Ley, who curled in an absolute screamer to keep Corpus in it until the end.

Upon the final whistle, Churchill players sank to their knees in triumph as rain continued to pour down on Corpus, who can nonetheless take great pride in their performance. 

Player of the Match: Joe Helm

Churchill I: Sagar Agrawal (C), Alex Perrin, Sam Ernest, Dan Lofts, Ed Stevenson, Aran Haber, Conor O'Neill, Joe Helm, Joceliño Rodrigues, Ed Wicken, Tom Burke

Substitutes: Andreas Economou, Edward Xu, Peter Al

Corpus Christi I: Jake Barker, Michael Hare, Sam Rogers, Arun Thirunavukarasu, Matt Jayasekara, Charlie Ranson, Ben Farrar, Ben Hopkinson, Dan Ley, Seb Baynes, Marcus Hicks

Substitutes: Ermeyas Girma, Ben Mulley, Zack Hilburn

Fitzwilliam 3 - 1 Jesus

The second game of the day got off to a rocky start, as the cold, rainy conditions made it difficult to keep control of the ball. However, over the course of the first half, Fitz began to assert their dominance.

The home team had a lot of joy down the right side with five corner kicks won in the first fifteen minutes. Yet all this possession didn’t yield much by way of scoring opportunities, at least not in the first thirty minutes, which was characterised by resilient and decisive defending from the Jesus back line, particularly from the centre-back pairing of Dave Pattinson and Dan Starkey whose clearances were commanding. Jesus also had the better share of the goal-scoring chances, playing on the counterattack and relying on quick transitions to catch out the Fitz defence.

Jesus had two clear-cut chances to take the lead in the first half. In the 11th minute, after a well-worked one-two with Cai La Trobe-Roberts, right-winger Fortina Oshasha had a shot blocked from the right side of the six-yard box; and in the 37th minute Alex Landell-Mills played an excellently weighted chipped through ball to La Trobe-Roberts, who found himself one-on-one with the keeper with a defender close at his heels. His shot, an attempt to place the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, was saved by charging Fitz keeper Simon King.

After this second scare, Fitz kicked into another gear. Lumi Kanwei, who has been magnificent in all competitions this season, began to stretch his legs and make his trademark runs down the centre of the pitch. In the 40th minute, he nearly gave the home side the lead – picking the ball up from midfield, he dribbled past three Jesus players, then tried to bend it into the bottom-right corner but was foiled by the post.

The second half started off much the same as the first, with the deadlock remaining intact. But in the 65th minute, one of Fitz’ numerous corners finally paid off. The corner taken from the right was headed home by Josh Douglas from around the penalty spot to make it 1-0.

A few minutes later, Jesus came excruciatingly close to equalising. King was out of position in the Fitz net and Oshasha chased an overhit through ball which was only just missing the goal at the left post. He managed to fashion a shot out of what seemed like a lost opportunity, hitting the post on the other side. To add to the agony, two of the retreating Fitz defenders had slid into the left post in an attempt to block the shot, inadvertently shifting the goalposts backwards. Jesus were unlucky not to have equalised.

Fitz had another slice of luck in the 83rd minute after they were awarded a fairly soft penalty for what was deemed to have been a handball. Kanwei calmly converted, confidently placing the ball into the bottom right.


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In the 90th minute, Kanwei added the finishing touch to a fantastic Fitz team goal. Sonnet McPherson at right-back received the ball from the keeper, passed to Olamide Ogunnaike on the right, who cut in onto his left and slipped the ball into the path of Kanwei who was sprinting towards goal. The man of the match slotted it into the bottom right corner for 3-0.

Just a minute later, Jesus scored a consolation after a shot from Pattinson was saved and fell to Oshasha, who with his left foot drilled the ball past King’s outstretched right hand.

Ending in a comfortable 3-1 win for Fitz, the home side are in a hot pursuit of their sixth successive Cuppers title. 

Player of the Match: Lumi Kanwei

Fitzwilliam I: Simon King, Cavan Farrow, Thomas Willock, Josh Douglas, Sonny McPherson (CC), Cassidy Ashworth, Tom Randall (CC), Lumi Kanwei, Jed Odagbu, Harry Houillon, Olamide Ogunnaike

Substitutes: Ben Shires, George Smith, Codrin Moisoi

Jesus I: James Hardy, Jamie Newnham (C), Dave Pattinson, Dan Starkey, Alex McDonald, Billy Hughes, Harry Crook, Will Zeng, Fortina Oshasha, Alex Landell-Mills, Cai La Trobe-Roberts

Substitutes: Hamish MacGregor, Tom Brookes, Kishan Sisodiya, Alex Kutuzov, Angus Harron, Olly Doggett, Matt Griffiths 

Looking ahead, Fitzwilliam will take on Churchill in March to decide this year’s Cuppers winner. An exact date and venue are yet to be confirmed by the Cambridge University Association Football League.