Blues Sport 2012-13: The Highs And The Lows

The 2012-13 season saw some of the sports teams in Cambridge enjoy success on a unparalleled level while others came unstuck in the heat of competition. TOM BENNETT has a look at some of the best and worst performances of the past year.

athletics boat race briggs Cambridge child Fencing football Lacrosse Oxford Rowing Rugby Selhurst Park shooting Sport sport centre Tom Bennett Totten twickenhan Varsity Walters

THE HIGHS

Football

The most high profile of this year’s successes was the university football team. Named team of the year by the Hawks club, they crushed all of those who came before them as they claimed promotion to the Premier South division. What is more, a hat trick from Rich Totten saw the team claim Varsity victory at Selhurst Park against an Oxford team playing their role of plucky, but ultimately inferior, lower league opposition to a T. On the back of back-to-back promotions they go into the new season seeking to consolidate their place in the top division of BUCS and retain the Varsity trophy.

Captain Anthony Childs is wary of the difficulties raised by the team’s promotion to the Premier South division for the first time, highlighting the “challenge of playing better, fitter teams than we’re used to,” many of whom are “full of players who go to University with the sole intention of playing football.” He also highlights the loss of several key players including Varsity hero Totten, seven time blue Jamie Rutt and last year’s captain Ross Broadway leaving spaces for trailists to fill. The coming season is sure to be both exciting and challenging for the Hawks’ team of the year.

Anyone interested in getting involved should email Childs (ac722). The trials will be held on 12th of October.

Last year's captain Broadway cradling Varsity hero Rich Totten

Last year’s captain Broadway cradling Varsity hero Rich Totten

Lacrosse

There are few teams with as much strength and depth as the lacrosse ladies. The first team proved themselves to be untouchable in BUCS this year, coming through an undefeated campaign which culminated in a glorious finals victory over a high quality Durham team. Three of the squad then went on to earn international honours at the World Cup in Canada over the summer. While the team unfortunately failed to cap their season with a Varsity victory, it seems certain that this team will come back stronger in the coming season driven by a desire to take revenge upon their deeply inferior dark blue counterparts.  The squad also boasts a second team that finished runners up in their BUCS division, demonstrating the quality of Cambridge lacrosse as they dispatched numerous university first teams.

Last year’s triumphal co-captain Erin Walters cast the success as an emphatic two fingers up to the “doubtful outsiders” who “saw this as a rebuilding after many members of last year’s BUCS Championship team left.” If ever there is a team that freshers should want to be involved with it is this one – but with so much quality in the squad making it past the trials will be a real achievement.

Those interested should email this year’s captains Dani Allard (da356) and Chesca Hirst (fh308)

The BUCS winning Lacrosse squad

The BUCS winning Lacrosse squad

Honourable Mentions

Shooting

It was an extremely successful season for the shooters under the leadership of captain David Firth.  Having won Varsity they were forced to take second place in BUCS having initially tied for first place with Southampton before an optimistic appeal saw the team from the South Coast awarded an extra point.

Fencing

Both the men’s and women’s fencing teams had outstanding seasons with the men considered unlucky not to have been named Hawks team of the year. Both claimed Varsity victories while the men continued their three year winning streak on the way to another BUCS championship and the women took a strong second place in their competition. With the completion of the new sports centre bringing the club better facilities out on the West Cambridge site, they seem set for yet another dominant year.

THE LOWS

Rugby

The men’s rugby union team did not have the worst season of the Cambridge teams in terms of their win to loss ratio. However, when a team doesn’t enter BUCS and focuses their entire year around one match, and they then contrive to throw away a 13 point second half lead to a captainless opponent live on Sky Sports in said match, it is hard not to offer recognition to a choke of such magnitude. It must be said that this was progress from the previous season’s Twickenham annihilation, and suggests the squad may be moving in the right direction – but improvements are needed in order to bring an end to a three year losing streak. New captain Will Briggs is optimistic about the team’s changes this season. He welcomes the underdog tag three poor years has placed upon the team arguing “it takes the pressure off us, so we can just get on with the hard work… in addition, everybody loves a good under-dog story,” while suggesting that the appointment of three highly experienced professional coaches has brought an intensity and professionalism that he has never seen in Cambridge University rugby. The first outing of the new term for the team will be in the traditional town vs gown clash, a 7:15 kick off at Grange Road on Wednesday the 9th of October.

Spectators will be given a stamp entitling them to queue jump at Cindies as well as a 30% discount for entry.

Oxford running home one of their 3 tries

Oxford running home one of their 3 tries

Rowing

The other high profile failure, this time live on BBC One, were the rowers.  The Blue boat was seeking to demonstrate their dominance in the 2013 race following the 2012 victory marred by Trenton’s bemusing escapades, but unfortunately an Oxford 2013 victory never seemed in doubt. The Dark Blue boat fulfilled, at least metaphorically, their cox’s desire – wonderfully caught by the BBC microphones – to “f*ck” the Cambridge crew, and drew increasingly orgasmic “f*ck yeahs” from him as the race unfolded. The fact that this defeat was so comprehensive and was preceded by a  4-0 whitewash at Henley of the women’s boat and the lightweights,  must raise real concern for the coming year. The president of this year’s women’s boat Ester Momcilovic, however, remains positive and argues “strong showings at BUCS Head and particularly BUCS Regatta show that our programme is working and we will only continue to improve” but without a single victory over Oxford last season, there seems to be plenty of room for ambitious trialists to step up.

Those interested in trialling for this year’s boats should email [email protected], or [email protected] (depending upon their gender) for further information.

Last year's distraught Blue boat

Last year’s distraught Blue boat

 

 And the first annual Tab Award for alternative sporting excellence…

There are no more worthy recipients for this inaugural award than the women’s rugby league team who overcame all challengers to claim this title by way of their remarkable varsity defeat. Captain Molly Byrne praised the “brave effort” of the team which saw them keep “the point difference down to around 70.”  The only way is up for this inexperienced team. Trialists of all standards are more than welcome.