The Tab interviews captains ahead of the Cuppers Semis
In the run up to the semis, three of the remaining captains reveal their thoughts
As the second oldest football tournament in the world approaches its semis, tension is hotting up.
The Tab interviewed the captains of three of the four remaining teams, with Pembroke’s captain unavailable for interview.
Michal Roniek, Fitzwilliam
Fitz’s best quality is the team’s strength, with its eight uni level players. They have a great quality of game and have breezed through cuppers so far, starting with a 7-1 victory over Downing.
Proud of their achievements, Fitz have faced challenges along the way. The quarter finals against Churchill were tense to say the least. “Had we lost, I would have had a breakdown” admits their Captain Mick Roniek. Winning that penalty against Churchill saved his academic career.
The score in the Churchill match was still nil nil at half time. With three minutes to go, it was Churchill, not Fitz, who scored. Yet with their strength and charisma, Fitz fought back, finally defeating them in the penalties. Fitz is certainly a team with resilience.
According to Mick, the team are ready to give this match everything. Football dictates their life, with posters plastered all over their walls. The team’s other great strength is their friendship, and they can be found frequenting the pubs near Fitz. After their hoped for victory, they plan to celebrate by going to see India football.
Fitz go on to face Robinson, another team full of uni players, in what should be a highly competitive match. Will their strength on the pitch and cohesive friendship be enough to take them to the finals? But Fitz are bursting with enthusiasm. “I can’t wait for the game” says their captain.
Antonio Marino, Robinson
‘What is your greatest strength as a team?’, I ask Captain Antonio Marino, and he immediately responds “our strong line up”. With several uni level players, the team are ready to provide tough competition for their opponents Fitzwilliam.
Robinson are on a winning streak. This is the furthest they have got in Cuppers in recent years, and they have breezed through their previous matches. This is partly due to each player’s experience, and partly to the new batch of football playing freshers enlisted this year.
Past games, according to Antonio, have not been much of a challenge. Emma, who “put up a good fight” were defeated 4-1, and they “thrashed” the hapless Peterhouse 12-0. They finished 4-1 up in their quarter final match against Selwyn.
But Fitz provides more of a challenge. In the league above, they are, Antonio confesses, a very strong side and “no doubt the favourites”. Robinson will combat this with a good style of play and their characteristic aggression on the pitch.
Everyone is completely pumped for the semis, Antonio says. The team don’t need psyching up, and are ready to give everything they’ve got to the match. They hope to get to the finals which will be played out at the neutral venue Grange Road.
When asked for last words to say to Fitz, Antonio says aggressively “let the best team win.”
Michael Lane, St Catharine’s
Catz are on a winning streak almost unprecedented in Cuppers history. They stand strong as a team, hoping their resilience and team spirit will pull them through to the final.
Catz haven’t got this far in Cuppers since 2009, and are ranked in the middle of the second division. But this didn’t stop them beating Jesus, the top of the first division, in a surprising game last week.
The match was close, according to Captain Michael Lane. After scoring an own goal in the first half, they went into penalties. But Catz managed to pull through, claiming a proud victory over the formerly expected champions.
So what makes it different this year? Michael says it is down to the teambuilding and resilience the team has, even when on the back foot. “We’ve succeeded where we’ve picked each other up,” he says.
Catz possess a competitive spirit. They get passionate in the changing room beforehand, psyching each other up. Most of all, they encourage each other to enjoy playing football.
Now Catz face Pembroke, old enemies. Michael recalls last year’s match against Pembroke, in which they were defeated 11-2. It was the lowest moment of his football career. Now, the team are back with a vengeance.
With so many victories, it looks like this winning streak could continue. Any last words for Pembroke, I ask Michael. He replies “Pembroke have everything to lose.”
The semis will be played on 21st Feb, at Pembroke and Queens’ Colleges’ sports grounds. Get hyped.