Pitzwards players put on a perfect performance on Saturday afternoonNatalie Stott

In a rematch of last year’s semifinal, the joint team of Peterhouse, Fitzwilliam and Murray Edwards (affectionately named “Pitzwards”) overcame the defending champions, Robinson, in a thrilling mixed lacrosse Cuppers final.

A week before the most anticipated event in the college lacrosse calendar, it almost looked as if Cuppers was going to be cancelled due to difficulties in pitch bookings. However, after some last-minute scrambling and logistical magic from Callum O’Shea at the Sports Centre, Cuppers was confirmed for Saturday 6 May on the Wilberforce Road Astro pitches. The excitement was ramped up even more after the release of the groups for the group stages. Eventual finalists Pitzwards and Robinson found themselves in the group of death, which also included the Medics, semifinalists last year, and Queens’, formerly a Division 1 side.

The day started off well with few delays to proceedings. The group stages were conducted in good spirit with some of the smaller teams stepping up and pulling off upsets, particularly in Group A, where the bottom two seeded teams qualified for the knockout rounds. St John’s, who came second in the league, were plagued by a low turnout, and by a dark horse Trinity team, who had Blues players coming out of the shadows and dusting off their sticks just for Cuppers. The combined Sidney, Lucy Cav and Magdalene team (Sidney Cavelene) – armed with a number of university mixed lacrosse players – earned second place. On the whole the other groups went very much as predicted.

Tournament top seed Emma dominated the group stage, winning every match; Robinson and Caius/King’s similarly held seed along with second places Pitzwards and Catz. Girton were outplayed by Jesus College in Group B, missing out on the quarterfinals.

Towards the end of the group stages, the tournament organisers were met with challenges beyond their control. Consistent, heavy rainfall slowed proceedings as teams and competitors took shelter. The competition pushed forward with the Group C and D teams braving the conditions to play their final group stage matches. The referees deserve specific praise, particularly Megan Wilson, Kit Baker, and Alex Shaw, who officiated the most matches, many of them in torrential rain, but doing it with smiles on their faces.

After a short break (for both the players and the rain), the quarterfinals began in earnest. Pitzwards began their title charge with a very tight 1-0 win against last year’s finalists Trinity. It was the kind of controlled win you see from champions. Robinson continued in dominant fashion by thrashing Sidney Cavelene 5-1. Emma made it four wins on the day after a tight 4-3 affair against an industrious Caius/King’s side.


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The match of the tournament, however, goes to Catz v Jesus, which was 1-1 at full time. Overtime went to golden goal, and tensions were high. Jesus, a fairly experienced side, faced a Catz team of youngsters who just secured their second consecutive promotion. Alex Apostolides crushed Jesus’ hopes with a game-winning goal, taking Catz to the semis where they faced Robinson.

Robinson were comfortable, seeing off the tiring and inexperienced Catz team 2-1 to book their place in the final for the second year in a row. The second semifinal was marred with controversy. Pitzwards beat Emma 3-2, with early goals in the first and second halves and excellent play from Sybilla Hamilton for the third goal. Constant pressure from Emma in the closing minutes initially seemed to reap rewards in the form of two goals but both were chalked off, sparking some heated disputes. In the end, the top seeds slinked out of the competition, gutted by the loss.

The final was a high-quality affair with two of the best college teams in Cambridge going head to head. However, the quality and university-level experience of many of the Pitzwards players shone through as they avenged their semifinal loss from last year. It was a tight match ending 2-1, but the eventual winners had the majority of the possession and penetrative play. Sloppiness in front of goal kept the score count low. Robinson certainly did not go down without a fight, scoring their only goal with an excellent counterattack catching the Pitzwards defenders off-guard.

Altogether, lacrosse Cuppers 2023 was a resounding success, despite the grim weather. 18 teams came down to the Wilby Astros, with a total attendance of nearly 200 players, ranging from experienced players on the men’s, women’s, and mixed university teams, to those picking up a lacrosse stick for the first time. The whole day displayed the best of what lacrosse has to offer at Cambridge. Congratulations to Pitzwards, for taking the title home, and to Ed Lucas for his incredible commitment and organisation of a fun day out for all players.