Both Churchill and Corpus still have two games left to play of the current seasonAnnie Huang

Close behind Varsity football success last weekend emerged the college football league, clearing its throat to remind everyone that the drama and stakes are still very much alive on home turf.

Four top-flight teams were in action on Sunday (27/02), with Downing I coming out on top against Robinson I in this year’s Plate semi-finals and Churchill I crushing Corpus Christi I in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, one team lower down the pyramid claimed the bragging rights of receiving a shoutout from a member of the House of Lords. Homerton III, affectionately known as the Homerton IV’s, were included in a LinkedIn post from college Principal Lord Simon Woolley after clinching promotion from Division Six. It’s safe to say that Cambridge college football is on the map.

Downing 3 - 1 Robinson

On a crisp February morning, the hot-pink mirage of Downing overcame a plucky Robinson side to make it into the final of the Plate.

Robinson started brightly, with tricky winger Makafui Avevor causing all sorts of problems on the right flank. However, Downing soon grew into the game with big target-man Milo Lammin constantly pressing the Robinson defence and disrupting the flow of the game with a series of clattering ‘forward’s challenges’.

After ten minutes, Robinson playmaker Percy Verity went down with a knee injury after a heavy challenge, forcing him to come off. His creativity and passing range from midfield would prove to be sorely missed by Robinson, and it has to be said that the rest of the game could have been very different if he were on the pitch.

Despite the loss of Verity, Robinson still had the talismanic Blues striker George Pugh on the field. Pugh’s quality showed whenever he was on the ball, but his threat was well nullified by the terrier-like Josh Sassoon, who was playing a sweeper role for Downing to keep Pugh contained - a tactical masterstroke by captain Richard Gotts.

As the first half progressed, you could sense a Downing goal coming with Sam Healy and Lemuel Osei-Biney running the show from midfield. However, many Downing attacks were thwarted by the head of Robinson captain Jamie Gammell, and a niggling wind greatly limited the effectiveness of Healy’s corners.

The first half finished goalless, despite a Gotts free-kick hitting the bar before the whistle and Robinson’s Will Wakelam coming close from distance, there was very little action in either box with full credit due to the respective back lines.

At half time, Gotts unleashed his secret weapon. Blues striker Brody Wooding, recently back from injury, coming on to replace the excellent Milo Lammin up top. Wooding nearly made an instant impact, hitting the post a few minutes after his introduction.

In the 63rd minute, the super-sub broke the deadlock as he put the finishing touch on a cracking Downing team move. Starting with a masterful run from midfield by Osei-Biney then laid off to Healy, who then cleverly found Wooding in space in the box to tuck it home off the post, giving Downing the lead.

Three minutes later, Wooding got his brace as he reacted quickest to a poorly parried save by Robinson keeper Tarush Bansal to make it two for Downing.

The indignity of going two down spurred Robinson on and they were on top for much of the rest of the game, with Jack Barnes, dropping back into midfield from a striker’s role, deserving special mention.

In the 77th minute, Robinson’s hard work paid off, as they got one back through a bullet header from centre-back Ronan Cons after an Avevor corner.

Against the run of play and in a cruel twist of fate, Downing managed to extend their lead just five minutes later following a dizzying run from Healy past the Robinson defenders on the left flank, enabling him to send a low cross in to man-of-the-match Lemuel Osei-Biney on the edge of the box, who calmly slotted it past Bansal to restore Downing’s two goal buffer and finish the game at 3-1.

Downing will face Girton I in this year’s Plate final, which is scheduled to take place this Sunday (06/03).

Varsity Player of the Match: Lemuel Osei-Biney (Downing)

Downing I: Frankie Merriman, Cody Roth, Ryan Francis, Josh Sassoon, Rahul Geetala, Jojo Jenner, Lemuel Osei-Biney, Sam Healy, Charlie O’Leary, Milo Lammin, Richard Gotts (C)

Substitutes: Brody Wooding, Nick Granados, Olivier Dietrich, Ren Iioka, Tayo Oluranti-Ahmed

Robinson I: Tarush Bansal, Alex Loan, Ronan Cons, Jamie Gammell (C), Tom Pagett-Wright, Percy Verity, Will Wakelam, Vissarion Christodoulou, Makafui Avevor, George Pugh, Jack Barnes

Substitutes: Andru Stefanescu

Churchill 2 - 0 Corpus Christi

Sunday afternoon (27/02) saw Corpus welcome Churchill for a second consecutive game; Churchill edging past Corpus in the Cuppers semi-finals just seven days earlier.

The first half started off slowly, neither team showing real attacking threat. Churchill played some smooth football at times, especially down the right-hand side with the ball at the feet of Andreas Economou and his twinkle toes.

Churchill and Corpus have both safely avoided relegation from the top divisionAnnie Huang

But the teams went in level at half-time, with only a few half-chances for either side. It was much of the same for the start of the second half and it wasn’t until a tactical change that Churchill started to up the tempo.

Pressuring further up the pitch, Churchill started to gain the front foot. Despite this, it seemed as if Corpus were going to hold on and scrape a point. That was until Dan Lofts floated a long free-kick into the box, where Sam Ernest, rising highest, nodded it past Corpus keeper Jake Barker.


Mountain View

Churchill and Fitzwilliam through to this year’s Cuppers final

It was all one sided from there on out, with Corpus losing Barker to injury resulting in them going down to ten men.

Churchill’s wingers heaped on the pressure and minutes after the first goal, Ed Stevenson cut onto his right foot and rifled his shot into the top corner to make it 2-0, putting the game to an end.

Following this result, Churchill find themselves one spot above Corpus in the league table, sitting in sixth and seventh respectively.

Varsity Player of the Match: Sam Ernest (Churchill)

Churchill I: Sagar Agrawal (C), Osa Iluobe, Dan Lofts, Sam Ernest, Andreas Economou, Tom Burke, Aran Haber, Conor O’Neill, Ed Stevenson, Jocelino Rodrigues, Alex Perrin

Substitutes: Peter Al

Corpus Christi: Unconfirmed