JONNY SINGER gives you everything you need to know for the upcoming glut of Varsity Matches.
The Cambridge teams have begun the term well, with narrow wins and some impressive performances, but will need top their game if they are to right the wrongs of Michaelmas, when the Dark Blues won both men’s and women’s cross country, as well as the Varsity Rugby Union at Twickenham.
As the matches come thick and fast, The Tab will be here to guide you through them, week by week (all matches taking place in Cambridge, unless otherwise stated).
Women’s football is another highlight, with the girls expecting plenty of support (2pm, Saturday, Fenner’s Cricket Ground), and plenty of success. The team are looking good, as they look to build on last year’s narrow victory, and it should be a belter!
TabSport predicts: Put your money on Cambridge in the showpiece event: women’s LAX. But if you can get to some of the other matches, expect to see some Light Blue joy as well, particularly in the women’s football.
Rugby League, Twickenham. Perhaps not quite as glamorous as the union Varsity match, this will be a physical encounter with plenty of action. CUARLFC have been excellent all season, and have beaten some top teams including Loughborough, so they will be in good spirits going into the game.
TabSport predicts: The Other Place edged it the last time the two met, but this will undoubtedly be close. If I had to pick a winner I’d go for Cambridge by fewer than 6 points.
The weekend kicks off with judo Varsity in Cambridge – well worth a watch, even for those not fully versed in the intricacies of the sport. Watching judo is bags of fun (not to mention undeniably cool), and we’re reliably informed that Cambridge are in with a fair chance.
Women’s Rugby also takes place on the Saturday, with the Light Blues looking for a fourth consecutive win, as does the Gymnastics which will be contested in Stevenage. For those of you who like your sports more hands on, Eton Fives is another fixture on a bumper weekend of sport.
On Sunday the action heads down to Hampshire for Varsity Mountain biking, a journey well worth making if you’re looking for something a little different.
Then, on Monday and Tuesday, hockey takes place in Southgate, London. Given the defeat of the Seconds this week, the Light Blues should expect an extremely tough contest.
However, probably the biggest event of the weekend will be on 6th, when Varsity ice hockey takes place in Peterborough. It may not have the most widespread following in Cambridge, but this is one of the older Varsity matches (going strong since 1895) and there’s a lot to love about ice hockey. Always fast paced, and often violent, it could blow your mind if you get down to there. The Light Blues haven’t had much success in recent years, but are on a good winning streak this year.
TabSport admits: My grasp on the rules of ice hockey is not much more than superficial (it’s just hockey on ice, isn’t it?), but the team tell me they have a real chance of victory. They have pads and sticks, so I’m not inclined to argue with them.
TabSport predicts: While we would never write off a Cambridge team, hockey looks to be a difficult one to win this year. The side will need support of anyone who can make the journey.
Varsity boxing: Having been schooled by the town, Sseg’s men will have to raise their game if they are going to retain the Varsity title they won in controversial fashion last year. Five returning Blues, a big London venue and the chance to (literally) knock the stuffing out of The Other Place. What more could you want?
TabSport predicts: It’s going to be close. Very close. That little bit of experience could be just enough to see the Light Blues home in the end.
Varsity golf, being held down in Kent, may not capture everyone’s imagination, and this correspondent has to admit that he won’t be making the trip. However, if you prefer clubs that come in a bag to clubs that play cheesy music on a Wednesday night, this one’s for you.
TabSport admits: It has been noted that we don’t cover golf that much on The Tab. That’s because we don’t care very much. Even for Varsity. Sorry.
THE BOAT RACE: The pinnacle of Varsity sport, televised round the world, the day everyone becomes a boatie. As ever, this promises to be close, but the Light Blues will have high hopes not just in the main event, but in the women’s and lightweight boat races which surround the headline act.
TabSport Predicts: We aren’t about to guarantee anything, but The Tab, as you might expect, is backing Cambridge in this one!
Varsity Football: A chance to play at a top ground, this promises to be a big occasion and should really be Cambridge’s year. Having come close recently, the Light Blues have been in fantastic form this season, in contrast to their Darker counterparts. A couple of players have crossed the divide since last year, and whilst anything can happen in a game of football, James Day and his team will be very disappointed with anything other than a win.
TabSport Predicts: No pressure, but this should be a win. The Cambridge team have been imperious this year, and will hope that the nerves don’t get to them.
It’s a mouth-watering prospect for any sports fan. The Tab will be right with you all the way through, with build up, live coverage and reports. The Light Blue boys and girls will need all the support they can get for this to be a successful term, and so we urge you to get out there and support the teams.
Have we left your sport out? Email us: [email protected]
We will also be running a photo competition for your best Varsity Match snaps. Please send any in along with your name and college. The best will be shortlisted for a reader’s poll.