Windy Weekend Causes Cuppers Chaos

Trinity, Downing, Homerton, Christ’s and Emma all crash out in the second round, as the wind plays havoc with Cuppers.

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It was a weekend for cup upsets, as a strong wind swept over Cambridge causing carnage in several matches. Five Division One sides, including holders Trinity, crashed out; four of them to lower league opposition.

On Saturday morning, Division One Christ’s hosted Queens’, who were second in Division Two.

With an incredibly strong wind behind them in the first half, Queens’ camped out in the Christ’s half and were rewarded consistently. First, a goalkeeping error allowed Sam Bowker to tap home, and then a defensive mis-judgement let in Ted Hayden.

2-0 up in nine minutes, and Queens’ continued to press. Christ’s played too much of the game in the air, meaning that the ball was just buffeted back into their faces.

Christ’s came out for the second half determined to turn it round, but instead their opponents taught them a lesson in how to play into the wind. Keeping the ball on the floor, running hard, pressing and never attempting long balls, Queens’ were as good in the second half as they had been in the first.

Two penalties, which allowed Bowker both to complete his hat trick and then grab a fourth, an own goal and a neat finish from Hayden meant that by the time Christ’s put their first decent goal together, in the 80th minute, the score was 10-1.

This resounding victory will do wonders for Queens’ in their promotion push, but the side above them in the league, Selwyn produced arguably an even bigger shock against league champions Downing.

Whereas Christ’s handed Queens’ the game on a plate, Downing came out flying. They also had the wind behind them (albeit less directly than in the other game), and took the lead after just 47 seconds.

A free kick was crossed into the box, caught on the wind and drifted in over the head of Selwyn keeper Ermgassen.
The lead, however, lasted just seconds. Sam Gregson pumped a long throw into the box and Mark Baxter flicked it into the corner.

Downing went on to control the first half, dominating possession and territory, but Selwyn put a real shift in. Parry, Gregson and Hutton worked hard to shut down space in the midfield, while Baxter and Konrad Grose offered outlets on the wings; Grose in particular working his socks off for the team’s cause.

The hosts managed to get into half time at 1-1, and when they came out for the second half, they were able to use the wind to its full effect.

First Baxter curled a sumptuous left-footed free kick into the top corner from the edge of the box, then a scramble in the box led to a scrappy goal for Hutton which, with 20 minutes left to play looked to have wrapped up the win.

A goalkeeping error allowed Baxter to complete a well-deserved hat trick, and even though Downing pulled one back with the last kick of the game, this was a win that Selwyn easily deserved.

If Saturday had been mad, what followed on Sunday was nothing short of astonishing. Trinity, top of the league, Super Cuppers winners just 8 days earlier and unbeaten all season lost 2-1 to mid-table Division Two side Churchill. While Downing and Christ’s could have expected close games, Trinity will be wondering how they were unable to overcome a side which has lost more league games than it has won this season, and their treble dream is now in tatters.

In the only all-top-flight clash of the round, Homerton were beaten on penalties by Fitz. After a goalless 90 minutes, Homerton took the lead towards the end of extra time, but the latest of equalizers gave the home side a chance, which they took in the shoot-out.

Elsewhere, wind played its part when Division One Emma were beaten 2-1 by Division Two strugglers Pembroke, thanks to goals from Kevin Martin and Max Whitby.

With five more First Division sides out, adding to Girton, Caius and Catz from the first round, the draw has really opened up, and it is anyone’s guess who will take the trophy.