An all-Cambridge clash in the quarter-finals was a highlight of this year’s tournamentCambridge University Mixed Lacrosse Club

The Imperial Cup is one of the most anticipated events in the lacrosse calendar. Last year, Cambridge University Mixed Lacrosse Club (CUMLC) sent two teams to Harlington Sports Ground in London and they faced each other in the final. Last Saturday (5/3), Cambridge once again sent two teams to the same venue, split by colour into Blues and Whites. There was also the dreaded Cambridge alumni team, which was made up of some of CUMLC’s best from the past few years.

There were a total of eight teams in this year’s tournament, split into two groups of four. The tournament format was such that all teams progressed past a round-robin stage, going into a knockout round of quarter-finals where teams that lost subsequently went down into a Plate competition. In the end, each team will find themselves playing in either a Cup final, a third-place match, a plate final, or a ‘wooden’ spoon match for the bottom two teams.

Cambridge’s Blue team, self-named ‘Bluebridge’, were in a group with Imperial College, Cambridge alumni, and one of the two teams from London City Panthers Club, otherwise known as ‘The Purple Panthers’. Bluebridge were dominant in their first match against Imperial, beating the home side 8-1. Their fortunes took a downturn, however, as they faced a fresh alumni team that cruised to a 3-0 victory. Following a 90-minute wait, they then faced the Purple Panthers in a tight match, narrowly losing 4-3 and finishing third in their group. 

But the Cambridge White team performed much better in the round-robin stage, winning one match against Bath University, drawing 4-4 against the second Panthers team, nicknamed ‘Panthers International’, and losing to eventual finalists Rainbow Rexes, who were captained by CUMLC coach Qasim Alli. The Whites came second in their group, setting up the highly anticipated, but sadly premature, Cambridge derby in the Cup quarter-finals.

The derby was a tight and tense match to watch. The White team had the majority of the possession in the first half, but lacked a cutting edge with the final pass. Bluebridge scored with their first attack: a fast break scored by Oren Hargreaves, from a tight angle assisted by a lobbed pass from Damola Odeyemi.

The Cambridge White team were spurred into action by the concession of the goal, quickly equalising through Lucy Hilton to make it 1-1. Bluebridge captain, Seb Mitchell took the game into his hands to make it 2-1, as the Blue team took the lead again.

Just before half-time, Bluebridge were pegged back once more by the exceptional Hilton. She received the ball at the top of the fan and deftly skipped past Rupert Anison, shooting and scoring just beyond the reach of his stick.

The second half was much more conservative, as both teams prioritised a secure defence to avoid leaking goals. The deadlock was ultimately broken by Bluebridge attacker Elin Falla, who managed to squeeze the ball beneath the towering Kit Baker in goal. The joy and excitement of her celebration was truly fitting of what turned out to be the winning goal.


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The Blue team then faced the alumni team in the Cup semi-finals, a rematch of the round-robin. After taking the lead early in the first half, it looked like a revenge win was on the cards, but that was quickly snuffed out by an equaliser, followed by three fortunate goals in the second half from the Cambridge alumni. Ending in a 4-1, Bluebridge were dropped to the match to decide third against Panthers International.

The White entered the Plate semi-finals after their loss to Blubridge, and had an upturn in fortunes as they beat Bath. They then went into the Plate final against the Purple Panthers team in mirroring fashion to the Blues.

Both Cambridge matches were well fought, but both the Blues and Whites lost their respective games, resulting in overall fourth and sixth respectively. There was still hope, however, that Cambridge could come out on top through its alumni team, as they clashed with Rainbow Rexes in the Cup final. But, like the other Cambridge teams, the last match of the day ended in defeat, as the game finished 4-2 to Rexes. 

Altogether, CUMLC enjoyed a solid tournament despite not being able to retain the title. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the derby match between the two Cambridge sides. Though it was between friends and teammates, it was fraught with tension and high stakes, making it a truly entertaining game and putting the cherry on top of a fun day of Cambridge mixed lacrosse.