CURA’s Aim Is True

Cambridge University Rifle Association triumphed in all three of their summer varsities this year, and even found time to beat Canada.

Australia bulls-eyes Canada. cura Freshers match muskett Oxford rifle shooting u25 Varsity wind

Cambridge University Rifle Association (CURA) dominated once again at the summer Imperial meeting, beating Oxford in all three Varsity Matches and triumphing over Canada and every other British university along the way.

Cambridge have won the Match Rifle Varsity Match for the past ten years running but this year Oxford fielded one of their strongest sides to date and several of Cambridge’s four-man team had put in notable performances in the individual championships.

The match began in tricky conditions, with wind playing havoc with the first two distances. Impressive performances by the Oxford coaches helped them challenge the experience of the Cambridge side and after the first two distances Cambridge was only ahead by one point out of a possible 450.

However, Cambridge’s experience showed through after lunch, and quick shooting by all of Cambridge’s team allowed them to take advantage of lulls in the wind far more than Oxford. Cambridge increased their lead substantially and finished before the Oxford team. In the end, Cambridge won by 19 points with a score of 792 with 50 bulls-eyes to Oxford’s 773 with 42 bulls-eyes, setting a new record of 11 consecutive victories, the longest winning streak since it began in 1869.

The victorious CURA team

Fresher Douglas Phillips put in a praiseworthy performance, scoring top overall with 203 points with 19 bulls eyes. Mike Judge, John Lindsay and Ashley Abrahams also performed well.

While Cambridge’s Match Rifle Team were beating Oxford, the Target Rifle team were warming up for their Varsity Match by comfortably beating Canada. An experienced team of Henry Day, James Bryson, Alex Dowle and Olly Collas laid down a clear statement to Oxford with their victory over the Canadians.

When the Target Rifle Varsity came around, the team were faced with far trickier winds than they had been expecting, something which counted in the favour of Cambridge due to the greater level of experience in the side. Taking advantage of Oxford’s disorganisation at 300 yards, the Cambridge team put in an impressive performance, swiftly opening up a lead of 25 points. John Lindsay shot a perfect score, the first known instance in the 149 years of the Chancellors Match.

Oxford got their act together at 500 yards, closing down the Cambridge margin slightly but the Cambridge lead could not be overcome. Despite a determined Oxford fightback, Cambridge held firm to win by 24 points taking the overall standings of the Chancellors’ Match to 104 wins for Cambridge to 34 for Oxford since 1862. Top scorer for Cambridge was unsurprisingly John Lindsay, who finished with 146 and 16 bulls-eyes.

The team in action

In addition to the two main varsity matches, Cambridge also competed against Oxford for the Roads Cup, a match shot with muskets at 200 yards. With the well-known inaccuracy of muskets and the fact that only one member of either team had ever fired one before, luck was certain to play a part. In the end, Cambridge emerged triumphant with a score of 17 out of 120 to Oxford’s 15.

Alongside the Varsity Matches, Cambridge also found time to win the Universities Aggregate, Universities Short and Long Range and BUCS Aggregate. Cambridge’s exceptional performances over the years have helped many members gain places in international teams. This year, Henry Day is touring with the Great Britain Team in Canada while both he and Ed Dickson are helping to defend Great Britain’s u25 World Championship trophy in Australia later this year. CURA Captain Mike Judge and Ashley Abrahams also represented England in an experimental side for the Five Nations competition earlier this summer.