Oxford Sport Newsletter – Hilary 2018

Posted on: February 2nd, 2018

Welcome to the second edition of the Oxford Sport Newsletter, your one-stop shop for fixtures, reunions and more from the University of Oxford’s sports clubs.

This term’s issue contains news about the installation of the unique ASB glass floor in the Acer Nethercott Sports Centre, as well as updates from Athletics, Australian Rules FootballBasketball, Clay Pigeon ShootingContemporary Dance, Fencing, Football, GlidingGymnastics, Hockey, Ice HockeyLacrosse, LifesavingRifleRugby Union, Ski and Snowboard, Tennis, Trampolining and Underwater Hockey (Octopush).

We hope you enjoy reading it! Please do get in touch if you have any questions, suggestions or submissions for our next edition.

Jon Roycroft – Director of Sport


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Shining a spotlight on Iffley road

With less than three months until the completion of the Acer Nethercott Sports Centre – the last element of the first phase of the Iffley Road redevelopment – the construction team have begun installation of the pièce de résistance: the LED-illuminated glass floor in our brand new four-court sports hall. In typical Oxford fashion, the Acer Nethercott Sports Centre will be a world leader in itself, while providing students and clubs with the facilities they need to stay at the top of their game – apt for the site where Sir Roger Bannister made history 60 years ago by becoming the first person to run a sub four-minute mile.

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The state-of-the-art glass floor will have line markings illuminated by LED lights that change at the push of a button. The first of its kind in any UK University or sports facility, it is also the biggest produced so far.

The University is pleased to have the opportunity to support this pioneering technology and the many sports clubs that will benefit from it!

You can read more about the floor here.


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Athletics

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Dear friends and alumni of Oxford University Athletic Club (OUAC),

Despite the Freshers’ Varsity Match providing a 1-1 draw (see match report below), Michaelmas has given me every reason to be confident that we can repeat last year’s Varsity success at FEAR and outdoors. We have retained the vast majority of our squad, whilst gaining some phenomenally good athletes – the standout being GB Junior, Jude Bright Davies. With the talent we have, we have also earmarked BUCS indoors as a chance to show the rest of the country what good health Oxford athletics is in and are targeting a serious medal-haul. Watch this space over the next few months!

With best wishes,

Miles Weatherseed – OUAC President

Match Report: Freshers’ Varsity Match (5 November)

The 8am coach proved too early for this reporter, but through the careful collation of eye witness accounts, meteorological data and electronic timings, Oxford University Athletic Club (OUAC) is able to bring you the most realistic account of the events of November 5th ever seen. On the scale of ‘Blue Planet II’, but with more legs, welcome, to ‘Walking with Athletes’.

The 20-tonne coach screeched to a halt in the parking lot of Wilberforce Road track, Cambridge. The lesser-spotted Cambridge shrew, a timid beast native to the wetlands of East Anglia, looked on from afar. Forty-two elite Oxford stallions disembarked to be greeted by a brisk 12mph North-Westerly wind, common to Cambridge. The sprinters were happy. Robbie Brown, with four-and-a-half thousand metres to run, half of that into the aforementioned wind, did not share in their delight, “Stupid tabland.” The men’s and women’s teams were both here with a clear objective: to continue the legacy of Oxford University’s Club of the Year performance in 2016-17, and keep the undefeated streak going through 2017/18. However, things were not to be so easy.

Julian Manieson hammered home the men’s 100m – Oxford looking strong. The same success was not enjoyed in the women’s 100m – work still to be done. Better news in the 200m with Sophie Haldane putting in an impressive win to send 5 points Oxford’s way.

Robbie Brown, having cheered up following a comprehensive win in the 3000m, was back to his usual dour self, anticipating the 1500m. It proved too much for him, but Eleanor Bolton pounded round the peculiar 3 3/4 laps, taking a needed track victory for the women. Oxford then went on to secure a 1, 2 finish in the men’s 800m. Excellent work from the Dark Blues in the middle distance, and a glimpse of the extraordinary depth OUAC has in this department.

The field, however, proved a strong area for Oxford. Beth Carter netted an outstanding hat-trick in the throws, destroying the field in all senses of the term. The OUAC President breathed a sigh of relief this wasn’t the Iffley Road turf taking such a battering (after numerous arguments with an overly protective groundsman). In the jumps, GB Junior, Jude Bright-Davies secured his triple jump blues standard off a three-stride run up… giving him an extra spring in his step. Special mention must go to decathlete Leif van Grinsven for competing in six individual events, winning three and placing second in two, undoubtedly the largest personal points haul of the day (if Leif were an Oxbridge University, he would’ve come third in the medals table – astonishing).

Up last, the relays. These are always an interesting feature of Freshers’ Varsity but, amazingly, both batons completed their journey round the track in all four instances. Cambridge took the majority of the spoils, with Oxford winning just the men’s 4x400m.

Results:

  • Men’s match to Oxford (105-83)
  • Women’s match to Cambridge (108-81).

Full results can be found here.

The dream of a second undefeated season whisked away by the Cambridge wind; goals must now be reset. An overall Varsity victory very much on the cards, we turn our attention to the indoor season; a renewed drive into FEAR and through to the Summer. Things may be level now but you’d certainly back Oxford to have the harder kick.

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OUAC Needs You!

We are very grateful to our alumni for their generous financial support, which enables great performances by our athletes. Thanks to your help we recently purchased a brand new pole vault bed and high jump mat. This year, among other things, we hope to afford new competition hurdles and fund a pole vault coaching position.

If you are able to contribute to the continued success of this proud club, please consider donating today. Thank you!

Looking ahead…

It is always a pleasure to reconnect with our alumni and hear about past exploits with OUAC, please do get in touch! Support at FEAR and The Varsity Match is hugely appreciated – a large crowd will certainly help to spur our athletes on to victory. It is our pleasure to invite you all to the annual dinner this year, date TBC and invitations to follow imminently, but we would love to see as many of you as possible there!

  • 3 March – Field Events and Relays Match, Lee Valley, London
  • 19 May – The 144th Varsity Match, Iffley Road, Oxford

Follow us

Keep up to date with OUAC on our website, Facebook and Twitter!


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Australian Rules Football

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Oxford University Australian Rules Football Club (OUARFC) is the oldest such Australian Rules club outside of Australia, but has undergone some remarkable changes in the last several years. The club has fielded a women’s side since 2015 but this is the first year that they will be able to compete in a Varsity match against the University of Cambridge, as their male teammates have been able to do since 1921. The growth in the popularity of the women’s team this year has been remarkable and has been made up of both Australian and non-Australian women alike.

The year started very well for the women’s team, with a thrilling final-minute come-from-behind victory over the University of Birmingham. Of the fourteen women who played, it was great to see five make their debut, as well as the on-field leadership of their more experienced teammates. A second planned match would have ended in forfeit due to only one member of the opposition turning up, however, such was the enthusiasm from the Oxford women that we had enough numbers to field two teams!

The men’s team have also started the year very strongly, with convincing wins over Reading, a combined Welsh-Bristol team, and the University of Birmingham. Over the next month, they have a return fixture against Reading, and matches against several teams from the London-based competition as we prepare for Varsity.

We would welcome all alumni to come down in Hilary to watch history being made as our women’s team competes in Varsity for the first time, and to stay and watch our men’s team defends its title on home turf. The event will take place at Marston Road Sports Ground (OX3 0HJ) on Saturday 10 March from 12PM. For more information on the Varsity event and the club more generally, please visit our website and like us on Facebook.

Mitch Robertson – OUARFC President


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Basketball

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Michaelmas report

Oxford University Basketball Club (OUBbC) is mid-way through its 2017-18 season, and it has been quite the roller coaster of emotion thus far. We knew M1 would have a challenging season, with many core players leaving Oxford at the end of 2016-17, but the scale of the challenge has become apparent over the course of Michaelmas as our boys faced off against a series of highly skilled and rigorously trained teams. Despite working hard through the term – and even over the Christmas break – they are struggling to maintain a place among the elite teams of the south in the face of increasing professionalism. They are still developing as a team, however, and we look forward to seeing them continue to fight for Oxford at Varsity and in playoffs later in the year.

W1 have also faced the twin challenges of departures of core players and tougher competition. Showing grit and determination, and strong team spirit, they were able to secure two crucial victories last term which should ensure they can stay in the top league, Premier South.

While the two first teams are nearing the end of their league games, the second teams still have most of their games to play. M2 have two wins and two losses under their belt. One of those was a thrillingly close one-point victory over Cambridge at home. The buzzer-beating three-point shot by guard Chris Heitzig was captured on camera and widely circulated within the club.

Following promotion after going undefeated in the league last year, W2 were expecting a tough season. We are all very impressed by their continued success, with a 3-1 record that sees them holding second place in their league.

All four teams have benefited enormously from the addition of Alex Bowmer to the club as Head Athletic Trainer. His outdoor fitness sessions on a Monday evening have been wildly popular, especially towards the end of term as Oxford saw snow for the first time in years. More seriously, his considerable medical and physio knowledge has been vital for injury management, and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

We are also grateful for the generous sponsorship of Geff, who provided new kits and warm-up tops for all the teams this season.

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Keep in touch

In other news, we are gearing up to host Varsity this term. It will be at Iffley Road on 24 February, with games starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm; all supporters are very welcome.

We were also delighted to hear from our founder, George Rebh, earlier this year. His write-up of the early history of the club makes for fascinating reading. Beyond George’s account, our knowledge of club history is very limited so if you can tell us more please do get in touch – we are always very pleased to hear from alumni.

You can also follow us on Facebook.

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Clay Pigeon Shooting

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The primary aims of the Oxford University Clay Pigeon Shooting Club (OUCPSC) are to promote the sport to students, provide an avenue for novices to experience clay shooting, and to support those who wish to enhance their skills and compete.

The club has made great progress over the last few years, thanks to the sterling work of past committees. This has required a huge amount of commitment to organize practice and introductory sessions, to provide coaching to novices, and to orchestrate attendances at competitions up and down the country. There has also been significant progress in improving the equipment and facilities used by the club. Gaining the support of Browning has made a significant difference, represented by the loan of several quality shotguns. The big development of the last academic year was a new agreement with E.J. Churchill, a world-class clay target ground, allowing us to practice on a wide variety of targets regularly. This academic year has seen Eley Hawk, a leading cartridge manufacturer, join as an official sponsor of the club and the Varsity competition.

Membership for the club has grown year on year, and now constitutes approximately 50 formal members. Interest in shooting remains high throughout the academic year, and we arrange regular weekly practice sessions, as well as introductory sessions. The club also has an active group of alumni who remain interested in the club and offer their support in various ways. Some have even joined us to represent the club in the alumni category of competitions!

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Updates

2017 was a fantastic year for the club, with good performances in multiple competitions. Of particular note was the ending of Cambridge’s Men’s A’s four year winning streak, at their home ground in April in extremes of weather (read as sun, gales, hail, lightening, downpours). Both Men’s A & B squads bested their light blue counterparts, with the competition being particularly tight for the As. Scores were even closer in the Ladies’ competition, with Cambridge unfortunately inching out Oxford by a margin of just 4 targets from 400. Other notable performances for 2017 include: Oxford’s top place finish at the Durham BASC Inter-university Competition; a 2nd place finish at the Nottingham All-Around competition; a 3rd place finish at the Christmas Cup and a 4th place finish at the Liverpool Invitational. Strong individual performances found Oxford claiming 1st (Freddie Williams) and 3rd (Ricardo Schnekenberg) places at Liverpool, and again at the Christmas Cup with Ricardo battling it out to 3rd after a 4-man shoot-off.

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Upcoming events

Hilary sees the club attending several competitions, with some of our biggest turn outs to date. A contingent of 12 will be travelling North to represent the Dark Blues at the Edinburgh competition in February, with another 20 attending the Bristol competition later in the month. After this, we’ll be heading to Nottingham to try and improve on our performance of last year and take 1st place!

The biggest event for the club, however, will be on March 17th, when we will be hosting Cambridge for the Varsity Shoot. This will be taking place at E.J. Churchill, and will consist of a 100-target course to determine the 2018 victors, followed by the varsity match dinner which is always as much of a highlight as the competition itself. The course (and dinner) will be open to all current students and alumni (past experience required), and will also include a 100-target flurry – please drop us an email if you are interested in attending!

Towards the end of Trinity Term we will hold our Annual Dinner, and would welcome any alumni to the event. Details for this event will be announced closer to the date.

Financial Support

Performances in 2017 demonstrate the positive progress of the club in recent years. This has been down to the efforts of the club committee, as well as access to quality equipment and a world-class ground for practice.

The next major aim for the club is arranging regular coaching sessions. To date, beyond basic introductory lessons for beginners, the training of novices has been largely provided by experienced club members. Professional coaching would allow a greater proportion of students to shoot competitively, and to counteract the new Light Blue threat since their appointment of a qualified coaching following their 2017 defeat!

Since the club’s revival in 2008/2009, there has been growing interest in the history of sports shooting at Oxford and the members of the club’s earlier incarnations. To that end, we have started collecting documents and photographs of importance in the club’s past with an eye towards creating a permanent archive of the club’s achievements, members, and history. We welcome alumni to share any such information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, in order to advance this ambition.

Contact

Please email oxucpsc@gmail.com if you have any questions, or visit our website, Twitter, Facebook, or online giving pages.


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Contemporary Dance

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Oxford University Contemporary Dance (OUCD) started the year with a productive Michaelmas Term, kicking off with our biggest audition turnout to date. Having selected our new dancers we spent the term choreographing and rehearsing dances to be performed at competitions and in our showcase. With increased training hours, we were able to get lots done in the first eight weeks of the year and managed to create and learn five routines in a variety of styles from hip hop to contemporary, and tap to ballet. An extra hour of training a week also meant we were able to keep working hard on conditioning and fitness even in the run up to our first big competition of the year.

Our first performance was a regular event for OUCD, the Just Dance It! competition at King’s College, London, where we were pleased to place third in the ballet category, despite having little previous experience of competitive ballet.

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Looking forward, Hilary is OUCD’s busiest term, with a competition in Southampton, our annual showcase and a Varsity match taking place within three weeks of each other. All our dancers will be flat out over the next weeks, polishing old dances for the competitions while simultaneously choreographing and learning lots of new material for the showcase, which this year is being held at the Pegasus Theatre on 16 & 17 February. While preparations are still in the early stages, it already promises to be one of our best shows yet, mixing well-known numbers with original choreography: with a contemporary piece on gender politics to old school tap, there is something for everyone to enjoy. This year we are particularly excited to have contemporary dancer, Thomas Page, on board as a guest choreographer. He has been working closely with the team to expand our creative horizons and improve our technique and performance.

The showcase will be followed by our Varsity match with Cambridge on Saturday 25 February in Tingewick Hall in the John Radcliffe Hospital. Of course, our busy schedule always leaves a little extra time for guest performances at events all around Oxford, so be sure to look out for us on the catwalk at the RAG Fashion Show on 1 March, and at a ball or two in the coming months.

As always, we love to see alumni of both the club and the University coming to support any and all of our performances, or supporting from afar by liking and following our Facebook and Instagram.


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Fencing

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2017 report

Oxford University Fencing Club (OUFC) had a lot to celebrate in 2017, both in terms of team and individual results, and the development of the club.

The Women’s Blues had one of its most successful years yet, claiming first place in the Premier South League and only narrowly missing out on a place in the Championship final to Durham, finishing third overall. The Men’s Assassins also achieved remarkable results, taking second place in Midlands 2B and toppling the Aston Firsts to win the Conference Cup, whilst the Women’s Assassins finished fourth overall.

It was a tougher year for the Men’s Blues, who ultimately placed fourth in the Premier South League, making it to the Championship Quarter Finals. At the Varsity Match, the Women also celebrated a momentous victory, with the Blues and Assassins winning 130-122 and an incredible 135-95, respectively. Despite a valiant effort, the Men were less successful, with both Blues and Assassins teams losing narrowly to Cambridge.

Given the Women’s Blues exceptional performance last season, placing them as one of the best teams in the University, we were very proud and not too surprised to see them win the hotly-contested ‘Team of the Year’ Award at the Annual University Sports Awards. The club’s success at the Awards continued with our most cherished and longstanding member, and strongest asset, Tomek Walicki, claiming ‘Coach of the Year’. Having devoted over half his life to bringing out the best in the aspiring athletes of OUFC and other students of all ages, we can’t think of anyone more deserving.

The club’s beginners’ program, meanwhile, flourished, with the Dark Blues once again taking home the Summerbell-Jones Novice Varsity Trophy. The Oxford Women’s team put up a tough fight, narrowly being defeated by Cambridge, but the Men came storming back to take a very strong victory over the Light Blues. We are extremely grateful for all the hard work of the beginners’ coaches and their incredible commitment and dedication to the club. Special thanks go to Madison Pearce and Katriel Cohn-Gordon, who have tirelessly given up their time to coach the beginners for many years, and to Sam Bradley who joined them a year ago with endless enthusiasm. They were an immense asset to the club and we are very sad to see them leave us.

Their successors are quickly going from strength to strength, however, especially TJ Fitzgerald, who has not only stepped up to coach the beginners, but has also restructured the intermediates training program, achieving groundbreaking numbers at training sessions. Vinton Cheng and Will Halliwell have also been doing a tremendous job coaching the beginners of the club, recently alongside George Barnett, who incredibly stepped up to join our team of coaches, having only joined the club in October. We also implemented more coached advanced training hours this year, provided by Rob Cawdron, who accompanied the squad to several matches. This additional coaching and more structured training sessions were greatly appreciated and boosted performance. We wish him all the best with his job at British Fencing in 2018.

OUFC has benefited from many new advanced fencers this term, some of whom proved to be very strong additions to the squad. Those of note include Celine Shanosky, a visiting student and épéeist who swooped in at the Welsh Open to come away with a Bronze medal, and serial World Cup competitor and sabreur Jan Kruszewski. Several new and current club members also achieved impressive results and national rankings this term, and Chiara McDermott has even been regularly representing Great Britain on the international stage in Paris and Bratislava.

On the note of broadcasting OUFC on a global level, this term has been very exciting for nine other members of the club. We were contacted by the internationally renowned film corporation, 20th Century Fox, who were looking for skilled extras to be part of a fencing scene in a film about Tolkien’s life, starring Nicholas Hoult. Unfortunately, we are not permitted to publish photos from the shooting day, featuring several of OUFC’s finest and “long-haired” (as were the casting criteria) clad in a very interesting get-up that certainly does not comply with FIE safety regulations. We all eagerly await the release of the film to see OUFC’s stars on the big screen.

Finally, the club is very excited at the prospect of a potential sponsorship deal with the international fencing institution, Vango, who have very kindly invited ten OUFC members to an international competition in Xi’an, China in April. We are excited to see how these developments progress, and will hopefully be able to report on the tour in next year’s edition of the newsletter.

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The year ahead

In Hilary, we hope to continue the squad’s remarkable successes, and fight for a ubiquitous Varsity victory on home soil at the Examination Schools on Saturday 10 March 2018. So far it’s looking very good for the squad. Leading the way are the Men’s Assassins, who remain unbeaten this term. The Women’s Blues are close behind, however, and are currently placed at the top of their league, with a nail-biting win over Cambridge giving us much hope for a reiterated Varsity victory in March. The Women’s Assassins are also nigh undefeated in their league, with only a narrow loss to Loughborough blemishing their string of spectacular wins. Finally, the Men’s Blues have made an encouraging start, losing by only one point to Cambridge in the league matches, giving us hope for Varsity.

We hope to see many of you at what promises to be a spectacular and highly enjoyable event.

This year is also a landmark one, it being the 30th anniversary of Tomek’s outstanding service to OUFC. We warmly invite you to celebrate this momentous occasion with Tomek and the club on Saturday 5 May. OUFC will host a day of fencing at the Iffley Sports Centre, followed by a formal black tie dinner and entertainment at the Cherwell Boathouse. We hope to see many of you there to celebrate Tomek’s immense devotion and enthusiasm for the club.

If you’d like to find out more about either event, please contact Céline Brendler-Spaeth (president.oufc@gmail.com).

Follow us

If you would like to stay up to date with OUFC, please follow us on Facebook and our Website.


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Football (Men’s)

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After a very successful 2016-17 season for Oxford University Association Football Club (OUAFC), the foundations were in place for all four of our teams to continue to develop and seek further success in the 2017-18 campaign. Sure enough, with the Blues having won the Brookes varsity for the first time in 4 years and sitting top of the league at Christmas, the Centaurs and Colts second and third in their respective divisions and looking strong for pushes for the top, and the Dev Squad having won 3/5 of their fixtures, the club has got off to a flyer in Michaelmas. We now look forward to returning in Hilary even stronger and sharper to ensure that all the hard work put in in the first half of the season is converted into more OUAFC silverware.

The victory over Cambridge at the Hive last March marked the end of an era for many OUAFC legends, with no fewer than seven Blues graduating over the summer – the likes of 5-time Blue Michael Moneke among them. Consequently, as the squads returned for pre-season in September, the Blues welcomed twelve fresh faces to their ranks. With such a huge turnover of personnel, skipper Alex Urwin had a huge task on his hands to ensure the team were ready to match the precedent set by hugely successful Blues sides of years gone by. One could only have dreamt, however, of the start the Blues have gotten off to. With an exciting mixture of promising young talent combined with the experience of six returning Blues, led by a captain who leads by example both on and off the pitch, and inspired, motivated and guided by the ever-wise words of OUAFC stalwart coach Mickey Lewis, the Blues started off their BUCS campaign with 4 straight victories, in a run that saw them storm to the top of the league. Their top form was reflected by an utterly dominant performance over Brookes on a cold Friday night under the lights at Iffley Road stadium, as the Blues secured their first silverware of the season in front of a record-number of fans. As we return for the second half of the season, the Blues are sitting top of the Midlands 1A division, 2 points ahead of Cambridge. With us yet to play against the Light Blues in the league, the fate of our season is likely to be decided in a trilogy against our long-term rivals, culminating in the all-important Varsity match on 25 March.

Both the Centaurs and Colts have similarly had promising starts to their campaigns. Captained by Sam Morris, the Centaurs are currently comfortably in second place and certainly look strong for a push for the title come the second half of the season. Similarly, Colts captain Eoin Monaghan will be hoping to build on their league position of 3rd and push for promotion. Youth seems to be a recurring theme across each of OUAFC’s squads this year, with not only very exciting talent in both the Centaurs and Colts squads (no doubt many of whom are destined for future Blues) but also with some fantastic potential on show in the Dev Squad. The latter, very well led by our Sabbatical Officer, Omar Mohsen, had five fixtures in Michaelmas, including three against local comprehensive schools (The Hill School, Phoenix Academy and Cherwell School) as part of OUAFC’s strategy to increase the access opportunities we provide.

Old Boy’s Weekend

With many events to look forward to in the coming months, Hilary is shaping up to be a big term for OUAFC. Amongst these is the Old Boy’s Weekend, which will be held on 3 – 4 Feb). We would love to see a large number of alumni there. Dylan Evans, our Alumni Officer (dylan.evans@new.ox.ac.uk), is the point of contact for further information on this.

At the dinner there will be a silent auction where we will be looking to raise funds as part of our club strategy to become self-sufficient in three years. This year we will also looking to raise money for a Blues tour to the East Coast of America during the Easter vacation in a trip that will allow us to link up with the New England branch of Oxford’s American Alumni arm.

Follow us!

If you would like to stay up to date with all the current news, scores, highlights, and action, you can check out our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!


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Gliding

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The start of this academic year has been a productive one for the Oxford University Gliding Club (OUGC), with a successful recruiting season bringing a wealth of new flying talent as the soaring season approaches. This will see us in good stead for our annual Varsity match against Cambridge in the summer, alongside fulfilling our main goal of bringing the joy of flying to as many Oxford students as possible.

Winter Training Camp (and bursary scheme)

Taking place during 9th week of Michaelmas term, the Winter Training Camp was a great opportunity for aspiring solo pilots to build up flight time and experience during the winter training period when soaring is harder, if not impossible. Nine pilots attended the camp, with everyone’s flying benefiting from the intense learning environment. Some pilots, who had previously only attended an intro day (where only the basic effects of the controls are taught), were making spot landings by the end of the camp! Many of the pilots have now become experienced enough to be eligible for the OUGC pre-solo bursary, giving pilots financial support in order for them to get the extra practice required to go solo. Unfortunately this fantastic scheme, which has greatly assisted many budding young pilots over the years, is being cut back and is of risk of ending this year due to a lack of funds. We hope to avoid this by securing additional funding so that we can continue this scheme for years to come.

Expedition Plans

This year’s soaring season is looking more exciting than ever with the announcement of three OUGC expeditions during the Spring and Summer breaks. As is tradition, we will be visiting Portmoak near Edinburgh in April for some ridge/wave soaring, which will be excellent for new members who wish to experience flying in a new location. We are also pleased to announce an expedition to a new site, Long Mynd in the Shropshire Hills in April. Both of these expeditions will allow members to experience soaring at a different airfield than Bicester, and both airfields also offer ridge and possible wave soaring. This is something that we cannot do at Bicester due to the fairly flat landscape around Oxford.

We are also delighted to announce that, after long hours of organisational work by our captains, we will again be going to La Motte du Caire, France in the summer, to experience flying in the French Alps. This will provide an amazing opportunity for pilots to soar amongst some of the most beautiful mountains in the world and to test their skills in a mountain flying environment where they must learn to fly in the strong lift as well as sink, in addition to choosing the correct speed to fly and planning their route of retreat! To ensure that we can also fly as much as possible at our home airfield during the soaring season, the committee is planning to purchase a set of all-weather covers for FEF, our Astir, so that it can stay rigged outdoors. This reduces the time spent rigging the glider from the trailer, meaning that we can make the most of the daylight hours. In combination with the car that we keep at the airfield (a donation that we received last year) and the tow-out kit that we are building ourselves, this means that preparing the glider for flight becomes a one-man job. This makes it far easier to fly on weekdays, and increases the chance of successful cross-country flights.

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Annual dinner

The committee is pleased to announce the return of the OUGC annual dinner, a legendary event where all members and instructors are invited to enjoy a meal together in one of Oxford’s beautiful colleges. This will be the OUGC social event of the year, and the committee is busy working on making it the highlight of the Trinity term social calendar. More about that in the next newsletter. All in all, the year is off to a good start and we are looking forward to many more great flights and safe landings.


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Gymnastics

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UK Gymnastics is still seeing a massive revival after our success in the Rio Olympics, as well as more recent victories in the commonwealth games and more.

The same can be said about our University club: membership has doubled over the last couple of years, with both hard-working, enthusiastic beginners and skilled, seasoned veterans raising the bar (or should I say high bar?) to another level!

The sport has something to offer for everyone: do you want to be strong? fast? flexible? all three? Look no further.

Disclaimer: this sport is HARD – don’t be discouraged if you have trouble even understanding which move they just performed!

Updates for Hilary Term

Over Michaelmas, we’ve had a large influx of new members. Without any competitions, it was the time to try out some new skills and increase your gymnastics arsenal. It has been a pleasure to see members having the courage to try out some of the apparatus such as bars, beam and pommel horse, as they are usually the hardest (and scariest) pieces to learn as a beginner.

With Hilary term, our main competition season, comes team selections. There is bound to be a bigger focus on routines; we want to take what we learned last term, put it all together and polish the moves to perfection. We want our gymnastics to look effortless (of course, it is most definitely not!)

MT in motion: Videos and Ball Performances

Gymnastics is sometimes just a fun and exhilarating to watch as to perform. Our members have been using their skills to stun spectators in Oxford – in Michaelmas, a group of us made a spectacular performance in the Sciences Ball. We have also tried to bring some life to our youtube channel with some big videos (take a look at our MT showreel!)

As well as this, our instagram and twitter accounts provide regular peeks into our training and events.

Competitions

Hilary sees two main competitions: the Birmingham Open (28 January), and our main event: VARSITY 2018 (25 February).

We are excited to have a men’s A and B team for Varsity this year, as previously we simply did not have enough gymnasts. The women’s teams are, as always, strong in both turnout and ability.

It would be a pleasure for anyone, both alumni and new faces, to come and cheer us on in our competitions. Information about times and locations will be updated on our Facebook page, or you can email gymnastics.club@studentclubs.ox.ac.uk for more information.

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Coaching

No gymnastics club is complete without amazing coaching. Many old members will be delighted to hear that our veteran coach, Christopher Seelig, is still around and offering a great help to anyone wanting to learn new skills or hone old ones.

We are currently on the hunt for a men’s coach. If you know of anyone that may be able to help, please drop us an email.

Equipment

Our training takes place at both Iffley Road and the Abingdon Gymnastics Club. Until recently, our gymnasts made most of their progress in the fully equipped Abingdon gym. However, there were some members who did not have either the time or money to take the bus up there regularly. Fortunately, over the past couple of years we have been able to better equip Iffley with gymnastics equipment, including new safety mats and a pommel horse. Despite this, it is still lacking a great deal of absolutely essential pieces for artistic gymnastics. The high-quality equipment is, of course, expensive and we are looking for any form of financial support we can find to make sure that our members get the best opportunity they can to engage in such a spectacular sport!


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Hockey

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Welcome to the Oxford University Hockey Club (OUHC) Alumni newsletter. As we start Hilary Term, our various teams summarise the Michaelmas half of the season, and our president, Nicholas Leach, shares his thoughts on the year so far.

In terms of alumni affairs, the cornerstones are still 2s3s4s Varsity on 18 February and Blues Varsity on 4 March – I hope some of you get the chance to come watch!

However, the 2018 Alumni Calendar holds new things. It has become apparent that the current system of an Alumni Dinner in Hilary and Alumni Games in Trinity is not the most accessible or appealing. To rectify this, we are combining the two into a 7s tournament on 28 April at Iffley Road, and we would love to see as many of you there as possible. Teams can be same sex, mixed, OUHC past or present. Furthermore, we’d love for this to be a day for friends and family, and we have hopes of holding a children’s game as well.

The day itself will have a small charge and there will be an optional formal dinner at the Vincent’s Club in the evening, followed by quizbook and pinkies. Feel free to drop in and out of the day – perhaps you love hockey but don’t have time for dinner, or maybe it’s the other way round; ultimately, it would be great to see as many of you there as possible!

If you would like to get in touch with the club please don’t hesitate to contact us. I am the Alumni Secretary and would be delighted to hear from you at ellen.young@worc.ox.ac.uk. Otherwise there is the club website http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/oxforduniversityhockeyclub or our Twitter and Instagram pages with the handle @darkbluehockey.

Ellen Young – OUHC Alumni Secretary 2017-18

Dates for the diary

  • 18 February: 2s3s4s Varsity, Iflley Road, OX4 1EQ
  • 4 March: Blues Varsity Matches, featuring Men’s and Women’s Alumni Varsity matches, Southgate Hockey Club, EN4 0PS
  • 28 April: Alumni 7s Tournament and Dinner, Iffley Road, OX4 1EQ

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President’s Report by Nicholas Leach

In the first half of this season, OUHC has continued to grow from strength to strength. The Sporadics – an entirely new team last year – had a fantastic intake from trials, and have had no struggles at all with availability this year, putting in some strong draws in MBBO 4. I am looking forward to watching them in the second half of the season, when I am certain they will overturn an unfortunate varsity loss last year.

The Men’s Blues, meanwhile, have kept their goals alive and are currently sitting comfortably in the mid table on Saturdays in South Prem, and well at the top of their BUCS league having won every game. The Women’s Blues have continued to shine in their BUCS league and are still unbeaten since 12 October 2016 (let’s hope it continues!). They have had some fantastic performances recently and are closing in on a top 3 spot in South Prem. Both Blues teams also managed to secure pre-Varsity wins against Cambridge in their BUCS leagues – may this form continue into March.

The Occasionals, having been promoted last year, are now sitting 2 points off the top of their new league with 2 games in hand, and are 1 point off the top of their BUCS league! The Radicals are sitting mid-table in their BUCS league and picked up some form towards the end of Michaelmas so let’s hope this continues. The Infrequents, meanwhile, have struggled a little, but as a very new team I’m certain they’ll conclude the season much stronger than they started. Finally, the Mavericks are another very new team but are looking comfortable in their Saturday league and have had some promising results towards Christmas in BUCS.

In other news, many recent leavers will remember the attempts we have made in the past to obtain more favorable training times in the evening from the rugby club. Well, we finally have them! The Men’s Blues and Occasionals now alternate an evening slot on Thursday, and I have hopes that we may get an evening slot on Mondays that both the Women’s and Men’s Blues can use in the run up to Varsity. The general running of the club has gone smoothly so far, and we continue our partnership with J.P. Morgan as our main sponsor, as well as starting a new partnership with Oliver Wyman as a major sponsor – we are extremely thankful for all the support they give. We also continue to associate with the Good Lad Initiative, with most of the club having had a session with them last year, and plans for those who haven’t to have one this year.

Vincent’s club continues to be the social HQ for OUHC, especially on Saturdays. It has been fantastic to see so many members, including both very familiar faces as well as new ones using this space to socialise as a whole club. The annual club Christmas dinner took place at All Bar One at the end of Michaelmas, as it has done for at least the last few years. It’s lovely to see the whole club all together, as well as hearing some (occasionally slightly protracted) great speeches from all the captains.

And now onto a few dates for your diaries. The Varsity matches are taking place on 18 February for the 2s, 3s and 4s, and Blues Varsity is on the 4 March, once again at Southgate. It will be amazing to see plenty of you there, as I’m sure we will do. Let’s hope Dark Blue reigns supreme on both those dates, everything is looking promising at the moment! Another very important date for the diary is 28 April, when our new Alumni Games and Dinner is taking place.

Please get in touch with me (nicholas.leach@lincoln.ox.ac.uk) if you’re at all interested in how the club is doing, if you have any stories of your own that you’d like to share, or if you’re interested in either the Marcon-Dyer Club or Alumni donations. We always enjoy hearing from you, and if any of you are ever in Oxford on a Saturday or Wednesday and want to watch some hockey, let me know and I’ll tell you when we’re playing that day.

Men’s Blues Report by Andrew Oxburgh

The Men’s Blues were fortunate enough to only lose four players from the 2016/17 season squad, with several of last year’s Occasionals also showing promise and previous blues returning from injury and years abroad. Thus, before preseason had even started, we had a strong foundation on which to build our team for the current season. Unsurprisingly, the team showed promise from early on in preseason, continuing the controlling but attacking hockey that brought us much success last year, picking up solid results against club and university teams alike.

The start of the season brought with it a tough fixture against Oxford Hawks – a team who are striving for promotion from our league. The Blues played excellently, exhibiting a few highly clinical corners in a 3-1 win. At this point, hopes were high for a dominating season on Saturdays, but in the next 7 games, we only managed one win, drawing four games, of which we should have won three. Fortunately, due to some surprising results, the Men’s Blues are still well within reach of achieving a top four spot by the end of the season, which is our goal on Saturdays.

An attributable factor to our dropping of points in winnable games on Saturdays was almost definitely our domination of our BUCS league on Wednesdays and, therefore, complacency against stronger Saturday opponents. We have won every Wednesday game thus far, scoring 33 goals in 7 games, conceding only 6, including a win against the tabs. This puts us on track to reach our goal of winning this league and gaining promotion.

Looking forward to the next half of the season, if we wish to reach our goals, it is essential that the Men’s Blues do not become complacent in BUCS – Cambridge are only 3 points behind us – and that we continue to believe we can beat the best teams in our league on Saturdays, while also fully focussing on picking up 3 points against the weaker teams. This team, which is evidently hugely talented, will only reach its potential when this occurs.

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Women’s Blues Report by Megan Hughes

Considering the number of blues players that were lost at the end of last year, the women’s blues have had a brilliant first half of the season and are well of track of achieving their aims for the year.

First aim: at least second in our BUCS league. The women’s blues remain unbeaten in BUCS since 12/10/2016, and we are currently 2nd in the league with two games to go. A highlight of the season so far has been a 3-0 win against Bath and two draws against top-of-the-league Exeter, which we were unfortunate not to turn into wins. Two wins this term against Cardiff and Cambridge will secure us 2nd place and we hope to have a successful run in the cup following that.

Second aim: at least 6th in our Saturday league. The women’s blues have in the past few years often had trouble in winning games we should on a Saturday, but this year we seem to have bucked that trend with only 2 losses. We currently sit 5th in the league and have shown we can take points off any team in our league, with a draw against top of the league Surbiton (0-0), and a win against second in the league Teddington (2-1). We hope to convert some of our draws into wins in the next half of the season and continue to creep up the table.

Third aim: VARSITY WIN. All is looking well to secure our 3rd consecutive varsity win. Having played Cambridge in BUCS and won 2-0, the Women’s Blues are feeling confident. I know that if we play our best hockey, a win is what we deserve. Join us on 4 March to see if we can achieve our final aim and make this a successful season.

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Occasionals Report by Johann Perera

The Occasionals have had a large personnel change this year. With six Infrequents and five freshers joining the ranks, the team had to gel quickly and this started with two fun pre-season tours to Leeds and Croydon – one involving a boat race and one gang warfare. We had a total of 10 pre-season matches, and initial signs were good with 8 wins and only 2 losses, including our first win against Brookes at fortress Iffley. This looks promising as we move up into London Div 1, a new and tougher league.

However, this year the O’s also had an uncharacteristic start to the season with a huge away win at Indian Gym, a first for the Occasionals and for Mark. We followed that with our first ever away win at the Hampstead and Westminster rubber crumb. Our results have been stellar so far with only 1 loss, 1 draw and 8 wins to put us TOP OF THE LEAGUE, with the best win/loss record in the league and in OUHC. This gives us 25 points at the half-way point – beating our total two years ago of 16 – and has put us in contention for back-to-back promotion!

In BUCS we have had a similar story with 1 loss, 1 draw and 4 wins, leaving us 2nd by a single point in a league that last year we were fighting for survival in. This puts us in an excellent position to push for double promotion – our only challenge will be travelling up the hill and beating Brookes away; another potential Occasionals first!

In the BUCS Cup we put Nottingham Trent away in a high scoring 7-5 win to reach the Quarter finals for the first time in recent history. Having already beaten the majority of the other teams that remain in the competition, a cup win is on the cards.

I end my report with some classic Rudder advice. A draw is better than a loss, and a win better than a draw.

Radicals Report by Ellie Hughes

In classic Rad style, we have had a reasonably slow start to the season. With many matches being tightly fought on the pitch, we have lacked the clinical attitude needed to convert our good connections into goals. On a positive note, we are mid-table in our BUCS league and have had a huge influx of players from the Mavs who have managed to step into the shoes of the players lost from last season. It is incredibly satisfying to see the team really starting to click both on and off the pitch and despite being in low positions on our Saturday league, I have high hopes we will turn it around this term when we re-meet teams that I know we can give a run for their money. Take the Brooke’s match, for example. We lost to them 4-0 during preseason and ended up with a 3-2 win at the end of the season, taking us through to the next round of the cup. This is a huge victory for the Rads and a definite mark of what is to come in my eyes, especially in the run up to varsity in February!

Inevitably, the social side has been great, with everyone relentlessly pulling their weight to hold hockey corner as the legendary place that it always has been. It has also been lovely to see the whole women’s side of the club integrating more this year and Megan, Helen and I are concocting exciting plans to maintain this next term.

Our coaches this year are Tom Claughton, George Oyebode and Noah Francis who have done a fabulous job so far. We are excited to see what the second half of the season will bring us in the run up to the biggest game of the season in February!

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Infrequents Report by Fergus Neve

The I’s began their season with a 5-0 win over Bromley and Beckenham 3’s. You would be forgiven for thinking this was a sign of things to come! Alas the 5-0 win came as a walkover and the I’s, with only three returning members from last year’s varsity squad, have struggled this year.

Despite an influx of talent, we lacked fluency and constancy early on in the season, playing spells where we looked as good as any I’s team I have played in, and spells where we were pretty useless! Early in the season we found ourselves losing or narrowly drawing from winning positions, only picking up 4 points from our first 7 games in both leagues. However, a Sunday fixture stepped up to fill the void, with Hampstead and Westminster 5s the unfortunate recipients of a good old fashioned I’s drubbing – Our first “played” win, coming out 7-2 up. This was the first time we played well for 70 minutes, and gave a flavour of what we are capable of.

Following this win, it was safe to say we had learnt to play with one another, however, we still struggled for consistency: in true I’s fashion we would play well for 50 minutes and concede two or three goals in the last 20 minutes. Despite this, I am confident that, with the personnel in the side and the class we have showed this half of term, along with some hard work in training, we will find the winning formula and give a strong push up the table in both leagues in Hilary.

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Mavericks Report by Helen Megone

It’s been a mixed first half of the season for the Mavs. With a lot of players from last year’s squad moving up to the Rads, we welcomed 11 new players into the team. The first few weeks of term were pretty tough, with some heavy losses on Wednesdays in particular. Once we’d finally (ish) learnt each other’s names, we began to gel as a team and our results and overall play improved significantly. We played Cambridge 2s in a BUCS league match in the second week of term and lost 6-0, we then drew them in the second round of the BUCS cup and lost 3-1, holding them at 1-1 for much of the game before conceding two late goals – I think the contrast between these two results (and the performances) is a testament to our hard work on and off the pitch and gives us a lot to be optimistic about looking forward to next term.

We’ve also had mixed results in the Saturday league, but a huge 4-1 win against top-of-the-league Bicester a few weeks ago shows what we are capable of. At this stage, we are placed 6th (mid-table) on a Saturday and 5th on a Wednesday. Next term we will be hoping to push up the Saturday league (the promotion dream lives on) and aiming for a solid mid-table finish in BUCS, as well as preparing for a big win at Varsity. Huge thanks to our wonderful coaches Ed Richards, Rory Kenney-Herbet and Nick Leach who really have been the absolute dream team. Looking forward to a successful Hilary!

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Sporadics Report by Dom Allen

The Spo’s saw a large influx of freshers due to the high number of people leaving at the end of last season, and these new faces have really stepped up to bolster the team. We’ve had a slow start to the season with a frustrating 3 draws from our first 5 games and our first win only coming in the 6th – many of these draws caused by the difficulty we have in putting the ball in the back of the net. We’re currently sitting 9th with only 4 points between us and 3rd place. It is proving to be a very close league this year, and with draws and a win from 3 of the top 5 I expect big things in the second half of the season.

Inevitably, at the start of the season we did not have the right distribution of players: many of the freshers have had to adapt to new positions and playing styles in order for the Spos to function because, unfortunately, a team of 11 defenders just won’t work. We have Jadon Buckeridge to thank for striving to craft us into a better side. Off the pitch, the Spos have had a bigger presence than ever before, and we are starting to make a name for ourselves within OUHC with a strong attendance every Wednesday and numbers increasing on a Saturday night.

There has been a huge improvement over this term and that will only continue into Hilary which should put us in a good position in the league as well as building up to #bestdayoftheyear, where we look to pick up the first Spo’s victory!


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Ice Hockey

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Alumni after the Oxford v. Cambridge Alumni Match in Toronto

2016-17 reflection

All three Oxford University Ice Hockey Club (OUIHC) teams – the Men’s Blues, Women’s Blues, and Vikings – enjoyed plenty of success last season. The Men’s Blues reached the quarterfinal of the Division 1 National Championship for the third consecutive year, defeating the Cambridge Blues 3-1 on their way. Unfortunately, Varsity victory eluded the Blues who, despite not having a Varsity goaltender, lost 8-3 – so the Varsity Match trophy, the Kind Edward VII Cup, remains in Cambridge for another year. The men’s second team, the Oxford Vikings, had a fantastic recruitment drive and boasted a roster of 26 players. Despite a losing record in league play, the beloved Vikings, popular with fans and BUIHA commentators, put in a stellar performance at Division 3 National Championships narrowly missing out on a quarterfinal berth.

The Women’s Blues were the only OUIHC team to bring silverware back to Oxford with their fourth consecutive Varsity Match win over Cambridge – the Blues stepped into the Cambridge barn and walked away with a decisive 7-1 victory. 2017 saw the long-awaiting launch of the inaugural BUIHA Women’s National Championship. As one of the oldest women’s ice hockey teams in the U.K. and a strong advocate over the years for a female-only tournament, the Blues finally got to showcase the female ice hockey talent Oxford has to offer. The Dark Blue ladies dominated the group stages with 5 wins and 0 losses before shutting out their opponents in the knockout stages to be crowned National Champions (an outstanding record of 7 wins, 0 losses, 20 goals for, and 0 against.) Oxford seek to defend their title in late March of 2018.

Away from competition, OUIHC continued their charity work with the Oxford student-based charity KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), raising funds and awareness at the 2017 Annual Charity Match between the Blues prospects and the Royal Air Force. Outreach extended to the OUIHC alumni community with a number of alumni events scattering the 2017 calendar. Trinity Term saw the return of the OUIHC Alumni Gala with current and former members alike enjoying a night of celebration: an alumni match at Oxford Ice Rink and a black-tie dinner at Hertford College. 2017 also saw the launch of the inaugural Ottawa-based Oxford versus Cambridge Alumni Match: ‘The Ottawa Cup’, which took place at UOttawa Ice Rink in Hilary Term. Regardless of shade of Blue, a good time was had by all with over 50 decades of ice hockey alumni represented. Video coverage of the event can be viewed here courtesy of ProMotion Videos. An Oxford versus Cambridge alumni match also took place in April in Toronto with the Dark Blue alumni taking a 7-1 victory.

Dark Blue in 2018

A new season brings new opportunity. Both the Men’s Blues and Vikings teams started the 2017-18 campaign with 100% winning records in Michaelmas Term. The Blues opened the season on the road with a decisive 4-1 victory against Cambridge, and now they sit 3 – 0 atop of Tier 1 south of the BUIHA. The Vikings, despite a relegation, are finding their groove in the non-checking ranks of BUIHA, with two victories, no goals conceded, and 100% powerplay and penalty kill. An early season Viking’s loss to the Cambridge Eskimos suggests Varsity may not be so easy. The Women’s Blues have had a tough start to the season with two 8-2 losses to London and Cardiff. Their focus remains on the Varsity Match, and the tough league match-ups of the past have proven time and time again to be excellent preparation.

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Women’s Blues after their 2017 Varsity Win

OUIHC matches for the diary

The 2017-18 brings a momentous milestone in the history of hockey’s oldest rivalry. OUIHC, CUIHC, and our 2018 Varsity Match hosts, the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz school, are pleased to announce that the Men’s Blues 100th Varsity Match will return to St Moritz, the location of the first Varsity Match in 1885. Details below:

The 100th Ice Hockey Varsity Match

Saturday 24 March, 5pm

The Zuoz outdoor rink, Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz school, St Moritz, Switzerland

The itinerary includes:

  • The Oxford Vikings v. Cambridge Eskimos Varsity Match at 3pm
  • The Oxford Alumni v. Cambridge Alumni, Old Blues Varsity Match at 1pm.
  • A Gala dinner on Friday 23rd March in St Moritz.

Further details, including hotel deals, can be found here

Contact: OUIHC Alumni Officer, Jamie Huckabay (jamie.huckabay@gmail.com)

Saturday 3 March, Oxford Ice Rink

Oxford Women’s Blues v. Cambridge Women’s Blues Varsity Match

Oxford Vikings ‘men’s 2nds’ v. Cambridge Eskimos ’men’s 2nds’ Varsity Preview

Sunday 4 March, Oxford Ice Rink

Oxford v. Cambridge BUIHA Tier 1 League Final (Varsity Preview)

Oxford Vikings ‘men’s 3rds’ v. Cambridge Eskimos ’men’s 3rds’ Varsity Match

The other BUIHA fixtures can be viewed here

Alumni matches for the diary

Saturday 24 March, the 100th Ice Hockey Varsity Match event, St Moritz, Switzerland

The Oxford Alumni v. Cambridge Alumni, Old Blues Varsity Match at 1pm.

Further details, including hotel deals, can be found here

Contact: OUIHC Alumni Officer, Jamie Huckabay (jamie.huckabay@gmail.com)

Saturday 17 February, 2018

The Ottawa Cup: Oxford v. Cambridge Alumni Match

7:30pm, UOttawa Arena, Ottawa

Contact: Alan Keeso (alan.keeso@gmail.com)

Saturday 7 April, 2018

The 2018 Oxford v. Cambridge Toronto Alumni Match

1:30pm, UCC, Toronto

Contact: Donald Bur (jdos@rogers.com)

Staying in contact

For all Club matters, please contact the OUIHC president (OUIHCpres@gmail.com)

Alumni who wish to reconnect with the Club should reach out to our Alumni Officer, Jamie Huckabay (jamie.huckabay@gmail.com)

To keep up to date with everything OUIHC, please follow us on social media.

Facebook: OUIHC men, OUIHC women

Twitter: @OUIHCmensblues, @OxfordVikings, @OUIHCwomensblues

Instagram: @OxfordUni_Ice_Hockey


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Lacrosse

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Captain’s report

The Men’s team has seen an unprecedented influx of new players, many of whom have picked up the sport amazingly well. The Iroquois have had a promising season: under the Captaincy of Alex Harbord, they are sitting in 4th place of East 3 (N.B. they’ve played 2 fewer matches than all teams above them). Newly elected co-captains Ciaran Gilbridge & Rob Smillie hope to continue this upward trend. The Blues have unfortunately suffered heavy injuries this term, with many experienced and up-and-coming players out for weeks. In BUCS, they sit in 3rd place and hope to climb up the East 1 Semla table with a full strength team. With more players back on the pitch, the squads look eagerly to Varsity: the Iroquois to win back the trophy and the Blues to secure a 7th consecutive retention.

The women’s teams have had an extremely successful start to the 2017 – 18 season. The Swifts lie in 3rd place of the Midlands 1A BUCS league, with all to play for still, and a young team who are improving rapidly with every game. The blues are on track for one of their most promising seasons to date. Undefeated so far, winning all their games bar one draw against Cambridge. This has set up an incredibly exciting southern premiership title decider against Cambridge on the home leg of the BUCS fixture. Both teams have very high hopes for varsity and BUCS alike.

The season so far has been an exciting one for the mixed team. The squad welcomed 16 new players in Michaelmas, with many of the boys completely new to the sport. The whole team has made excellent progress and has had a great season, with 3 convincing wins and one narrow loss in the South East League. Cambridge narrowly beat us in a hard fought friendly. We are looking forward to consolidating all our hard work in the coming weeks as we prepare for a close and exciting Varsity match!

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Introducing ‘The Penthesilea Group’ (a message from the President)

Last summer, I received an email from an alumnus who had recently heard about OULC for the first time since leaving Oxford in 1963, and who was interested in learning about the club’s progress and reconnecting with other alumni in the U.S. His email made me realise a few things about OULC. First, what a strong impression it makes on its members during their few years at Oxford. Secondly, how many alumni we must have, all over the globe. Thirdly, how previous members are still interested in news about the club and want to be involved.

For this reason, we have decided to launch a brand new supporters club, the Penthesilea Group, named after the ancient Amazon warrior, known for her strength in adversity and humility in success; values OULC hopes to instil in its players at university and beyond.

Anyone can become a Member of the Penthesilea Group for just £19.03 per year for under-25s, and £19.03 per quarter thereafter. In return, Members will receive regular updates on the club’s progress and development, and invitations to an annual drinks reunion, the Varsity Matches, and dinners. All funds raised will help keep the club accessible to players from all backgrounds, and improve the standard of lacrosse in the long term through sustained investment in facilities and coaching.

If you would like to find out more, or become a member, please email Heather Brickell in the University’s Development Office (heather.brickell@devoff.ox.ac.uk) or visit https://www.campaign.ox.ac.uk/club/lacrosse.

I hope the Penthesilea Group will reconnect our alumni and give you a role in securing both your legacy and the club’s future.

Sophia Cattermole – OULC President 2017-18


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Lifesaving

Michaelmas

On Saturday of Week 6, Oxford University Lifesaving Club (OULSC) travelled to Sheffield, where four of our members – Leonie Selley, Oliver Ayto, Carla Fuentes and Run Tan – represented Oxford in the Sheffield Lifesaving Championship 2017. It was indeed a great learning experience for the club as it was the first lifesaving competition for many of us. We are now better informed about what to expect in competitions and will work towards improving our training.

New members also joined the club, doubling the club size to ten. One new member, Leonie Selley, is a trained and experienced lifeguard and coach; thus we now have two trained student coaches in our club.

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Hilary

This term, we plan to send two teams to Birmingham for competition. This will equip members with more skills and experience to deal with various lifesaving incidents. It is also helpful for the members to interact and exchange ideas with passionate lifesavers from other universities.

The Annual General Meeting will also be held in week 4, when new committee members will be elected. Currently, many new members have exhibited great potential in leading, and all of us are very excited about the AGM and confident that the next committee will bring the club to greater heights.

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Keep in touch

To find out more, please get in touch:

Email: president@oulsc.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OxfordUniversityLifesavingClub  
Website: www.oulsc.org.uk

Best regards,

Run Tan – OULSC President


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Rifle

OU Rifle Winter Photo

As usual, Oxford University Rifle Club (OURC) was hard at work over Michaelmas. The term began with the committee recruiting members for the club at the Freshers’ Fair, and the fruit of their labour was a record 112 new members. With our new training and development programme – designed by our Training and Development Officer, Michael Horrell, in conjunction with alumni – we’ve been putting these new members through their paces, which has resulted in some remarkable progress and a great deal of promising talent shining through. This, of course, will be put to the test later this term at the 2nds and 3rds Varsities matches, but we’re confident we won’t have any trouble putting Cambridge in their place.

This year has also seen the introduction of our ‘Development Squad’ training sessions. These provide an opportunity for returning members, or previously experienced shooters who aren’t yet at Blues level, to get some extra experience and coaching from the Blues team. A record number of members returned for their second or third year with us last term, and the sessions have been the perfect way to blow out the cobwebs, and develop their skills far enough to give the Blues a run for their money.

Luckily, the Blues have had some help staying one step ahead of the freshers and development squad members biting at their heels. This year we’ve recruited a coach from the Oxfordshire Rifle Association to assist in pushing the skills of OURC’s varsity team even further. Alex Robertson has been joining OURC at every Blues session to give members of the squad one-on-one coaching in order to iron out bad habits, teach new techniques, and address any niggling problems. We can’t thank Alex enough for his help, which will surely make the upcoming Varsity in February one to remember.

In preparation for Varsity, OURC has been arranging friendly competition against other Universities in order to give the Blues squad more match experience. Michaelmas saw us face off against Warwick at their home range just outside the city centre. We put up a strong fight against the opposing team, but with some exceptional scores put down by Warwick, we had to settle for second place. We thank Warwick for their hospitality on the day of the match, and for their help in making sure we’re ready to face off against our long-term rivals next month. To give us another helping hand, we’ll also be shooting against the University of London this term – we look forward to testing our mettle against them, and reporting back on the result in Trinity.

Of course, Michaelmas wasn’t entirely taken up by training, it also saw OURC host its annual dinner at Somerville College in November. This is the second year Somerville has hosted us, and we would like to thank the staff for their fantastic food and hospitality. Both new and old members attended a brilliant evening, capped off with some great speeches from our Secretary, Hattie Mansell, President, Abi Howell, and the Captain of the Opposition. Our guest speaker for the evening was Mick Silver, Captain of the Oxfordshire Rifle Association, who reminded us why we all love our sport so much, and warned us of the dangers of wearing loosely fitting trousers whilst shooting in South Africa.

Many alumni who attended the dinner kindly donated what they could to support OURC in the future.  We are always enormously grateful for any help our alumni can provide us with, whether they’re able to offer financial support, or can offer their time to help coach members of the club. If you would like to help OURC in any way, please get in touch with our Alumni Secretary, Jonny Page (jonathan.page@zoo.ox.ac.uk), Heather Brickell in the University’s Development Office (heather.brickell@devoff.ox.ac.uk), or visit https://www.campaign.ox.ac.uk/club/rifle.

One crucial area of help our alumni provide us with is coaching during our Easter Bisley training camp, which will take place from 2 – 9 April. Preparations have been underway since the beginning of Michaelmas, and we expect this to be one of the best-attended camps in recent years. Our returning fullbore members will be training and teaching the newest shooters of the club, but we are always grateful to have the help of any alumni who can offer their time and experience to coach the club in both Target and Match Rifle.

Dates

The club and committee were hard at work last term and will continue to do the same in Hilary to ensure OURC achieves everything it can in its big events over the next few months.

  • 25 February: Smallbore Varsity against Cambridge
  • TBC: Seconds and Thirds Smallbore against Cambridge
  • 2 – 9 April: Easter Bisley training camp

Keep in touch

As always, if you’d like to stay in touch with OURC and follow Hilary term progress, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and the OURC website. Our Alumni Officer, Jonny Page (jonathan.page@zoo.ox.ac.uk), is also happy to answer any questions you might have about the club, or about how you can help make the club even better.

Vs & 3s,

OURC


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Rugby Union

Will Wilson

Men’s Rugby

Michaelmas 2017 was a busy term for Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC), starting with the Blues preseason training camp at Iffley Road prior to their US Tour in September. Following in the footsteps of the 2007 team, the squad headed to the east coast, on this occasion visiting the Ivy League Universities of Harvard, Yale and Princeton, in addition to visiting West Point and playing three fixtures in Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Having managed to win all three games, the team returned to the UK in a buoyant mood, but were brought back down to earth with a bump when they suffered a loss at Richmond. They then went on an unbeaten run of five games, all in front of their home crowd, before once again coming unstuck against Richmond, this time at Iffley Road. However, they travelled to Twickenham for the 136th Varsity Match confident they could not only score tries but defend strongly too. The ‘Big Day’ was a disappointing one, however, as Cambridge secured their second consecutive victory winning by 20 points to 10, with the Dark Blues unable to find the form they had shown all term at Iffley Road. It was not all disappointment for the men’s section, however, as the Greyhounds (2nd XV) gained their third successive Varsity victory with a well-deserved 24 points to 7 win at Iffley Road. With six Fresher’s in the starting XV and a further two on the bench, the future looks good if these players can continue to develop and push for Blues places in Hilary Term 2018. The Whippets (3rd XV) went without a Varsity Match – Cambridge were unable to raise a men’s 3rd team – but at least took ‘Town’ bragging rights with an exciting 34 points to 17 victory over Oxford Brookes 2nd XV at Iffley Road. The Colleges XV were also successful in their Varsity Match, securing a 27 points to 7 win at Grange Road, their third successive victory.

Hilary Term, whilst not as busy as Michaelmas, will nonetheless see plenty of rugby. The Blues have six matches, with traditional fixtures against the RAF, Army, Royal Navy, Welsh Crawshays and Penguins, plus they will welcome Waseda University from Japan who are in the UK as part of their centenary celebrations. The Under 20’s have their Varsity Match at the end of 7th week, and will look to remain unbeaten in the fixture which was first played in 2016.

Women’s Rugby

While the men were in the US, the women returned to Oxford for their own preseason training camp in September, as they stated preparations for the defence of their Varsity crown. With the highest ever attendance at preseason, the squad moved into term in a positive mood ready for a run of BUCS Premier League fixtures. The mood was heightened as they started the campaign with two successive victories, only slightly tempered by two successive losses, which were followed by two more wins. These four victories guaranteed the Blues status in BUCS Premier South for another season and sent the squad to Twickenham eyeing a repeat of their 2016 victory. However, despite starting the day well they were unable to turn that early pressure into points and Cambridge ultimately proved too strong, winning by 24 points to nil.

Hilary Term for the women will be a busy one as the Blues have four BUCS league fixtures to complete, plus a knock-out cup fixture, whilst the Panthers have a run of friendly fixtures leading into their Varsity Match as a Double Header with the Men’s Under 20’s at Iffley Road.

Oxford University Women v Cambridge University Women Womens Varsity Match

Fundraising

In 2017, the club made significant strides in its fundraising campaign which began in 2016; the campaign is split into two fundamental parts:

  1. To create an Endowment Fund of a minimum of £4M by April 2019
  2. To create an annual giving fund of a minimum of £100K – the ‘1869 Society’

As of the start of 2018, the Endowment Fund had reached a total of £2.8M and the 1869 Society £21K in recurring gifts, so whilst these figures are positive there is still much work to do. If you would like more details on either the Endowment Fund or 1869 Society please email one of the following:

Jenny Tudge, OURFC Development Working Group Chair jenny.tudge@keble.ox.ac.uk

Tim Stevens, OURFC General Manager tim.stevens@sport.ox.ac.uk

Stay up to date

For more information on all of OURFC’s fixtures and events, and to stay up to date with the club, please visit our website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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Ski and Snowboard

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Varsity

Traditionally, varsity match preparations involve months, or even years, of training; often together as a team that will go on to compete with Cambridge with the promise of supporters, friends and family and crucially, a sound knowledge of where and when the match will take place. However, due to the practicalities of ski racing and Britain’s slightly (from our perspective) unfortunate geography, our preparations, and even competition, are much more inconsistent.

Wanting to build on the successes of previous years – specifically the double victory in 2016 of the men’s and ladies’ blues teams – Oxford University Ski and Snowboard Club (OUSSC)’s training shifted up intensity in Michaelmas. Rising club numbers led to strong representation at central training sessions at Iffley, and we were able to enroll twelve athletes in the ‘Blues’ Performance Scheme’, which supplemented these sessions with focused core and weight training. For the sake of illustration, in terms of demand on the body, ski racing may be compared to gymnastics: strength and balance are prerequisites and training these attributes will only bring performance improvements. However, there is also a technical aspect – our ‘routine’ if you will – and no amount of gym time is a substitute for time on snow training on skis. It is for this reason that the Cambridge and Oxford clubs travel out ahead of the bulk of the trip-goers to squeeze in 3 days of precious snow-training before trials and the races.

Unlike in previous years, we arrived in Tignes to discover fantastic snow conditions. Unfortunately, however, the snow had been so unexpected that the “Stade” (the race piste that finishes opposite VarCity) had not been prepared by the resort staff, and, as a result, we were faced with a daily commute up to the glacier, where we were greeted both by our coaches and a wind chill of -28°C. For 2017, OUSSC, together with CUSSC, moved away from the ESF and we were to be training with ‘Evolution Racing’ for the coming days. While short, these provided everyone with valuable time on a number of different courses set by the coaches, and allowed the captains to take a good look at all of the competitors pre-selection. Knowledge of the opposition, however, stayed limited as Cambridge demonstrated a very laid-back attitude to training, with very few skiers putting in an appearance at all.

The Varsity race format consists of two runs of giant slalom (GS) followed by two runs of slalom (SL) with collated times of the fastest four in each team in each event being input to the scoring system. GS is likely the race discipline most akin to the average person’s skiing style (unless, of course, you were heading for top spot on the Snoww speed leaderboard). It consists of medium length sweeping turns in a fairly regular meander down the piste, familiar to anyone who’s ever ended up in a ski school-orchestrated race. Slalom, on the other hand, is rather more dynamic and utilises much shorter skis, which call for short, sharp turns, almost bouncing between edges. Characteristically, it involves tracing a line down the course as close to the gates as possible, which arguably results in more of a show. The drastic difference in requirement of these two disciplines forms the basis of selection, and differentiates between those with skiing ability and those with racing ability.

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As the sun set on Monday’s trials, so did the last hope of the races being on the Stade. They were instead to be held on the glacier piste, where we would sadly have to forego spectators in favour of serviceable snow. This change of location also meant practical changes. Unlike in previous years, where it may have been possible to return to rooms to change and swap skis between the morning and afternoon sessions, the distance to the glacier necessitated packed lunches and carrying two sets of skis for a very frenetic day of racing on the cleverly designed courses (given the piste condition). With GS passing in the morning, the men’s and women’s 1st teams from Cambridge set themselves a slight advantage, with all of the other teams remaining fairly evenly matched. In the afternoon, initial speed out of the start proved to be the critical factor on a very shallow course that grew increasingly rutted throughout the session to the extent that, by the turn of the men’s and women’s third teams, just negotiating the flume-like track without mishap was a greater focus than setting a fast time. In the slalom, the Oxford 1st teams both made some ground back on their Cambridge counterparts, while falls in the Cambridge 2nds and Men’s 3rds lead to decisive victories for those Oxford teams. Up against stronger Cambridge competition than last year many Oxford skiers, varsity veterans and near-novice alike, put in excellent performances with the pool of skiers showing excellent promise for future competition. Among the many impressive individual results, mentions must include Ben Reeves (Univ) who placed 3rd overall in the men’s GS and Olivia Jones (St. John’s) who placed 3rd in the ladies’ slalom. Overall results: W1, M1, W2 – Cambridge, M2, W3, M3 – Oxford.

Looking ahead

While Varsity is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the OUSSC season we are also hoping to send some athletes to the British Universities Championships over the Easter vacation and, of course, begin planning for the annual summer training trip, for which we hope to find funds enabling purchase of new training equipment and, possibly, subsidy of athletes with difficult financial situations. This will help us to build on this year’s successes and recapture both Blues’ trophies next year.

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For continual updates on club affairs, events and trips, OUSSC has an active social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.

For alumni-specific enquiries please feel free to contact our alumni officer, Katie Campbell (katie.campbell@bnc.ox.ac.uk), or any member of the current committee, contact details for all of whom may be found on our website.


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Tennis

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Michaelmas brings with it the arrival of new members to the Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club (OULTC) and this year has been no different; we hope they have all settled into the club and the wider university as well. Of particular note, is the success of the social tennis programme, with the number of social members sky-rocketing to over 150. Praise has to go to our university tennis coordinators for arranging such a successful programme.

BUCS Matches

With the BUCS divisions around the midway point of the season, the majority of our teams, W1, M1, W3, and M3, are poised in mid-table. Depending on your point of view, they have either set themselves up nicely for a last-minute charge on the promotion spots, or have gotten ahead of the game and are relatively assured of safety from relegation. Conversely, the 2s have had mixed seasons; M2 are second in their division and are gunning for top spot, whilst W2 are bottom yet with safety still within their sights. Strong second halves of the season will see both achieve their targets. Regardless, there have been some strong and commendable performances from all players involved across the teams. New man Andy Roszkowski showcased his arsenal by pulling off “the best running lob since Andy Murray lost in the Davis Cup final”, Annabel and Sarah won a third set epic 20-18, and Cam hit some hard balls. Special mention has to go to Captain Fran, Nanami, and Sarah for playing in every W1 BUCS match of the term; reports suggest their superior commitment levels are garnering mixed feedback, with the obvious pros being countered by them “showing the rest of us up” according to a source who wishes to remain anonymous. Good luck to all teams for their upcoming Hilary Term matches!

University Team Challenge

For the first time, this year has seen OULTC enter a team into the University Team Challenge, a mixed league run by the LTA for those teams on the cusp of the BUCS divisions. Naturally, it was the perfect place for our W4 and M4 teams to showcase their talents and credentials for possible BUCS entries. The format in each fixture has every individual playing a singles, doubles, and mixed doubles match. This year, OULTC is competing with Bath, Bristol, and Gloucester universities, and after the first round of fixtures, which took place in Bristol in November, we are sitting comfortably in second place. There are two more rounds of fixtures in Hilary Term, with Oxford hosting one, and the final fixture takes place in early Trinity Term. Support from our past members for this, any of our BUCS matches, or at any of the following matches will always be appreciated.

Upcoming Events

  • OULTC Alumni Dinner – 2nd March at The Queen’s Club. Invites for this are in the process of being delivered and if you have not received one by 1st February, please contact oultcalumni@gmail.com
  • Men’s Old Blues Match – 11th February
  • Men’s Blues vs The Army – 25th February
  • Women’s Blues vs The All England Club – 3rd March
  • Men’s Blues vs The All England Club – 4th March
  • Blues tour to Japan – 12th-23rd March
  • 2s/3s tour to Portugal – 26th-30th March
  • Oxbridge Women’s Blues vs The Queen’s Club – 21st April
  • 2s/3s/4s/5s varsities – 23rd & 24th June in Oxford, University Parks & Iffley
  • Blues varsities – 30th June & 1st July at Moor Park

Other News

This year has seen OULTC switch to Wilson produced kits. You can expect to see them being modelled by our players on a court near you soon. We are also welcoming a new club sponsor, Oxford Asset Management.

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Contact

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about OULTC and the alumni programme, please get in touch at oultcalumni@gmail.com.

Also, make sure to follow the official Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club page on Facebook for weekly updates on matches and upcoming events, as well as our Instagram, “oultc1880”! For general information, please visit www.oultc.org.


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Trampolining

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The start of the academic year was a successful one for Oxford University Trampoline Club (OUTC). We welcomed many new members, from complete beginners to those that have partaken in the sport previously. In total, we had 41 new members sign up, compared to 26 in the same period last year. There are also more students competing, with a high turnout from Oxford at each of the Southern Universities Trampoline League competitions so far in the 2017/18 season. Notable performances have been from Emma Richardson (women’s captain), 2nd in Women’s SUTL 1; Megan Edwards, 2nd in Women’s SUTL 3; and Philip Baker (president and men’s captain), 3rd in SUTL 3. Other members are progressing to higher levels of this league, including participating in the synchronised trampolining event. We also had Richard Healicon representing us in SUTL Elite – the highest level of this competition – who included a triple somersault in his routine. We have just submitted entries for the next competition which is to be held in Cambridge, in preparation for our upcoming varsity match at the end of Hilary term, hoping to add to the accomplishments of last term and our victory at last year’s varsity match.

In keeping with the increasing size and achievements of the club, our team of coaches has also expanded. This ensures that members always have a coach on hand, helping with new skills or to put routines together. Although we now have many coaches, the majority of them only hold a level 1 certificate meaning they are unable to run sessions by themselves. In the future, we are hoping some of them will undertake level 2 training, allowing them to coach more advanced skills and lead sessions; this will also take some stress off the other level 2 coaches as they have to be present for our sessions to be held.

One of our level 2 coaches, Tom Clennett, completed his double mini trampoline club coach course over the Christmas vacation. We are looking to purchase the equipment for DMT when funding becomes available, and we will incorporate this as a part of our regular sessions. This will also be an opportunity to collaborate with the university gymnastics club which should increase the popularity of the sport.

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We have recently secured Discretionary Full-Blue status for the men, to match the already existing Women’s Discretionary Full-Blue Status. British Gymnastic’s judging structure has drastically changed this competition season, therefore the requirements for full and half blues are being reviewed carefully by the OUTC committee.

After a very successful Cuppers – one of the best attended in memory – more members than ever have turned their minds to competition. The high amount of talent and commitment in the club has made selecting the Varisty Team very difficult for our Captains. The match will be held in Cambridge on 24 February, and is set to be another great display of Trampolining ability from both teams, although we hope to be keep the Trophy for another year! We will be welcoming back Corinna Jörres and Verena Schenzinger as judges. It’s wonderful that our old coach and president are still involved in Trampolining in Oxford, and we are very grateful that they’re making journeys from Germany and Austria, respectively, to be with us.

For more information and updates, check out our website.


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Underwater Hockey (Octopush)

Underwater Hockey is a fast paced, three-dimensional sport played on the bottom of the pool. It is a team game with a twist – you can’t communicate and the person you need to pass to could be 2m above you. It requires a deep understanding between teammates so that they know where each other will be and are able to trust each other to be down when needed. Most people come to university having never played before, but with a bit of perseverance they are able to pick it up fairly quickly and soon become competitive players. The sport is easy to learn but incredibly difficult to master making it very engaging and producing highly passionate players always looking to improve.

Michaelmas

Michaelmas was all about building and developing basic skills for our new players with the aim for them to be ready to compete in our very own tournament at the end of term. Many hours were spent working on these skills and playing games to help players practice positioning and tactics. Eventually, it was time for the tournament and to see how far everyone had come. It consisted of nine teams from six universities split into two leagues: one experienced and one novice. The club entered a team in both leagues – both sides having drastically changed from last year’s tournament with many players graduating last summer and a greater intake of new players this year it was interesting to see if the club could continue last year’s impressive run of performances. With the experienced side looking to retain their title against better sides and the novices aiming to end Imperial’s 2 year reign in their division it wasn’t going to be an easy task.

The novice team played in a double round robin against 3 teams from different universities, one of which was their A team. They cruised to victory, winning all of their games on the way! It was noted by the referees watching that their more visible team shape and willingness to back each other up or offer an option more frequently than opponents quite often made the difference in harder games. The experienced team played a standard round robin, the standings from which were then used to seed a knockout round. In the round robin the experienced team won all their games, although it was very tight between the best three teams as all the games between them were won by only a single goal. The team easily saw off the 4th placed team in the semi-final and found themselves facing the 3rd place finishers and pre-tournament favourites in the final. Unfortunately, it was not to be and the team had to settle for second place.

Overall, it was a good set of results for both teams, which shows good progress and suggests that with a good Hilary term working on more advanced skills we should have another successful student nationals.

Hilary

Student Nationals are the club’s only event in Hilary and this term’s focus is firmly set on preparing for them – even if they don’t take place until 24 March. This year they will be hosted at Tollcross International Pool in Glasgow, and despite the long journey and high costs the club has still been able to create enough interested players to field 2 teams. I am certain that it will be a great opportunity for all of our players to continue their development in such a competitive and challenging environment.

If you would like to keep up to date with what’s going on at the club, we post regular updates on our website. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Contact details

Please get in touch with Heather Brickell (heather.brickell@devoff.ox.ac.uk) in the Development Office if you have any questions or queries, or would like to be added to the mailing list to receive future newsletters. Mailing preferences can also be updated via our alumni portal (https://www.alumni.ox.ac.uk/).

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