Cambridge once again put Oxford to shame at Southgate Hockey Club
Two out of three games go Cambridge’s way as Oxford are once again found lacking.
On what began as a sunny day in North London, both Cambridge and Oxford teams arrived to do battle in the 116th Blues’ Varsity Match, preceded by the Oxbridge SuperCuppers match between Pembroke College, Cambridge and Worcester College, Oxford.
With all teams fired up (despite getting a crate of beer confiscated before we even got to the changing rooms – oh well), it was set to be a great day of hockey.
First up was the less well supported SuperCuppers match, where the ball had to be replaced after just a minute of play for not being…ummm…round. However, with a new (nicely spherical) ball on the pitch Pembroke quickly showed the way the game was going, with Thomas Schute scoring a delightful deflection in the first few minutes. From then on, Pembroke largely dominated play, while Worcester supporters – including someone dressed as a huge chicken (don’t ask me why) – continued their half-hearted chanting, at one point claiming they’d “Rather be a leper than a ‘tab” – possibly advice the team had been taking to seriously as they continued to play like lepers, failing to make anything of a series of a short corners.
Jack Tavener soon showed them how to play real hockey, slipping a sublime goal just inside the post past a hapless Worcester keeper to put Pembroke 2-0 up. Despite Worcester scoring a scrappy goal, a well-timed substitution by coach Stefan Ulrich saw a beautiful move which lead to Jonathan Lewis-Brown touching yet another into the back of the net for Pembroke. Despite captain Alex Kirkpatrick being carried off the pitch after trying to jump (okay, to be fair he succeeded at jumping, just not moving afterwards), Pembroke held on solidly for a tasty 3-1 victory.
The women’s Blues’ Varsity Match followed, this time located on the main pitch and supported by a hefty crowd, including the Worcester contingent, whose designer deserves little more than to be shot for concluding – like Churchill – that nothing goes better with pink than, well, pink (seriously, pink chinos are not a good look – they make you look like a somewhat under-feathered flamingo).
Unfortunately Oxford took the lead in the women’s match, but a nice short corner from Cambridge and Alex Maskell scored to bring Cambridge level, making it 1-1 for half time. A tense second half saw good hockey from both sides, while the commentator requested the audience mind their language due to this being a “family event” – whoops! Alas, a goal within the final 3 minutes for Oxford saw them hit the final whistle 2-1 in the lead, but the Cambridge women certainly put up a good fight, with the Cambridge (Wo)Man of the Match being awarded to Therese de Souza.
The weather had already been looking worrying, and soon after the men’s game began the hail drove down hard, to such an extent that 14 minutes in the (white) ball had to be switched to an orange one since the ground was so covered in hail/snow.
Clearly the orange ball helped, and a minute later Jamie Bristow scored a wonderful goal, putting Cambridge into the lead. An unfortunate Cambridge goal was disallowed for a mis-taken free hit, followed, with just 6 minutes left of the first half, by an Oxford goal, paralleling the women’s match with the score at 1-1 for half time.
Cambridge certainly came back quickly into the second half though, with a goal from Johnny Staunton Sykes off a short corner putting the light blues in the lead. Meanwhile, Cambridge supporters received another warning for swearing, though remained better than the Flamingos, who were chanting what can only be assumed to be their address #shitchat. With 8 minutes left Cambridge missed a close deflection, but continued to remain on top – despite goal-scorer Bristow getting sin-binned – with some silky skills from Thomas Jackson in the corner making a couple of Oxford players look like absolute fools. Finally the whistle blew, leaving Cambridge as men’s Blues’ Varsity Champions once again.
Overall a great day of hockey, marred only by the horror that are pink chinos. GDBO.