Hockey Cuppers: A Bitter Sweet Affair For Catz
The May Bank holiday weekend saw the college hockey season draw to a dramatic conclusion.
St Catharine’s and Jesus took home the Cuppers trophies in a pulsating day of competition at Wilberforce Road.
The women’s competition climaxed in a St Catz win:
St Catharine’s 18-1 Girton/Homerton
Whilst the men’s competition was won by Jesus:
Jesus 7-1 St Catharine’s.
The Catz women’s side, led out by University 2nd XI captain Cat Cox, had narrowly overcome Jesus in the semi-finals and faced a combined Girton and Homerton side in the final. Despite their vast catchment area, Gir-merton fielded a depleted squad and fell to an 18 (eighteen) – 1 defeat.
By half-time St Catharine’s were 10-0 up, and the writing was on the wall for the plucky outsiders. So many players scored goals that there is no record of how they were shared out.
Victorious captain Cox told The Tab: “After last year’s disappointing campaign, there had been whispers that Catz hockey was on the decline. I was confident that we had a strong team going into the final, and was very impressed with our huge win, playing hockey that was not just efficient but also flair. It’s fair to say that I’m wheely proud of the whole team.”
The Men’s final promised to be a far more closely-contested affair. Traditional behemoths of college hockey Catz and Jesus were facing each other for the third time in the last four years, with both sides enjoying the services of several university players.
The first half proved a tense contest, with the fanatical St Catharine’s support roaring their players into an early 1-0 lead, Captain Will Fulwood converting a precise short corner, awarded after a characteristically clumsy foul in the D by Styles.
Jesus were creating chances of their own on the break, veteran Sam Grimshaw and Blues striker Wes Howell tormenting their opponents yet coming up against an in-form Graeme Morrison in the Catz net.
Meanwhile Jesus skipper Barney Walker, fresh from running the Blues 400m time, was now running slightly shorter rings around the maroon midfield.
Eventually, a Styles cross was beautifully deflected home by Joe Allen, briefly silencing the Catz support and drawing the sides level. Jesus would be given a chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty flick, but nerves and the pressure of sustained personal crowd abuse proved too much for the aformentioned Styles, who struck weakly at the keeper’s pads, to the elation of the wheel-bearing hordes on the sidelines.
The second half would prove a different story altogether. Jesus were awarded two short corners in quick succession, both slickly executed and respectively dispatched into the floor and roof of Graeme Morrison’s net by Felix Styles.
Minutes later, the defender claimed his selfish and rather dubious hat-trick with yet another short corner strike, before Toby Green grabbed a quick-fire brace to make the score 6-1.
Jesus were running riot on a glorious afternoon at Wilberforce Road, and with Catz’ star fresher Kieran Gilmore fading as the match drew on, Shale netted a seventh a few minutes from time.
The 7-1 scoreline was harsh on a hard-working and talented Catz side, but reflected the dominance this all-conquering Jesus squad has exerted over the college leagues this past couple of years. However, with Grimshaw, Styles, and Green having played their final games, and Catz holding on to most of their squad, next year’s contest is already an exciting prospect.
The previous day, St Catharine’s claimed the mixed cuppers title, defeating Jesus 5-3 in the final with goals by Kieran Gilmore and Scott McKechnie, Wes Howell and Tara Jameson netting for the Jesuans.