Downing lost in last year’s Plate final to Gonville & Caius by a score of 3-0Jules Pye

Earlier this afternoon (6/3), Downing I narrowly beat Girton I to win the 2022 Plate, with Blues players Brodie Wooding and Tim Wallace proving the difference for the champions.

Both teams reached the final after semi-finals victories last weekend. Downing overcame Robinson to win 4-1, while Girton edged Selwyn 4-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in normal time despite a number of injuries.

The Girton pitches drew a strong home crowd, propped up by a few Downing supporters who had made the trek to watch their team. Downing were clear favourites despite enduring a torrid season in the top division, where they currently languish rock bottom with only four points.

Girton, however, were not to be underestimated. Although positioned eighth in Division Two, they reached this stage of the competition back in 2020 and boasted a handful of University players in their ranks. 

Downing’s Tim Wallace in actionJules Pye

The game started frantically, with tentative challenges from both sides. Soon, however, Girton began to dominate and in the ninth minute opened the scoring. Chris Butters received the ball on the left wing and, with no obvious passing options, let rip from five yards outside the box on the far left. The ball kept rising, it flew into the top right corner, the fans went wild, Girton were 1-0 up. It was a screamer, and the type of goal people pay to see.

At this point, Girton were dominating. The ball dropped to the enterprising Luca Scrase in the middle of the park outside the D, who thunderbolted a shot against the post with the keeper scrambling.

Against the run of play, Downing grabbed an equaliser. A free-kick was whipped in that went undealt with by the home defence, allowing Jojo Jenner to bundle in from close range. The referee waved away ardent claims of a handball from Girton and it was 1-1.

Girton continued to create chances after the goal, dominating in the midfield and attack. Jonny Coffey had a curling strike saved before Michael Arthur shot narrowly wide after picking the ball up from a terrible Downing goal kick.

Brody Wooding scored the winner for a Downing side donning their unmissable pink shirtsJules Pye

The second half was a completely different story. Partially thanks to Downing's half-time introduction of Blues duo Wooding and Wallace, and also thanks to favourable wind, Girton struggled to get the ball up the pitch and create the same chances they had in the first.

The half was considerably quieter than the first, with both teams struggling to create any clear-cut chances until the sixty-minute mark.

Girton were hit by injury, with key midfield pair Luca Scrase and Chris Butters both forced off, losing some of the home side’s midfield dominance and forward drive.

Downing began to have more and more shots on goal, leaving Girton clinging on thanks to heroics from both the defence and keeper Charles Yang.


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But Downing’s dominance soon paid off. A long ball that wasn’t properly cleared made its way to Wooding on the wing, who left several defenders for dead in a mazy run before slotting home to make it 2-1. Girton didn’t have long to find a response and little was left in the tank all over the park.

When the whistle sounded, Downing celebrated wildly as they came away deserved champions after their second-half display. As for Girton, they’ll be disappointed not to have taken better advantage of their first-half momentum, while some excellent defending in the second just wasn’t enough to deny Downing.

Varsity Player of the Match: Josh Hickingbotham


Girton: Charles Yang, Sam Allen, Dan Miller (C), Oyare Aneju, Josh Hickingbotham, Luca Scrase, Reece Linney, Chris Butters, Jonny Coffey, Nadir Sharifu, Michael Arthur

Substitutes: Oscar Parry-Wingfield, Jake Werner, Graydon Prior, Cory Freeman, Alex Kennedy, Matt King

Downing: 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, Tim Wallace, Robbie Smith