Welcome to the Trinity Term 2018 edition of the Oxford Sport Newsletter.
This term’s issue contains news about the opening of the new Acer Nethercott Sports Centre and the Boxing Clubs celebration of the Galle-Lewis-Dean Gym, as well as updates from Athletics, Association Football, Basketball, Cross-Country, Cycling, Floorball, Gliding, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Lawn Tennis, Pistol, Rifle, Rugby Union, Underwater Exploration Group, Underwater Hockey (Octopush), and the Women’s Boat Club.
We hope you enjoy reading it! Please get in touch if you have any questions, suggestions or submissions for our next edition.
Jon Roycroft – Director of Sport
Acer Nethercott Sports Centre
After much anticipation the Acer Nethercott Sports Centre has been opened spring 2018, with a launch event for all the donors in June. This contains a brand new state of the art glass LED lined sports hall, changing rooms, café and reception. As well as the Galle-Lewis-Dean (GLD) Gym, a multi-purpose space for gym classes and dedicated training space for the Oxford University Boxing Club.
These facilities were only possible thanks to the generous support of alumni and friends of Oxford recognised on donor boards at the facilities. The GLD was a great display of club members coming together, where the boxing alumni raised more than £250,000 collectively towards the project.
Dear friends and alumni of OUAC,
With our squad chemistry and fitness greatly bolstered by another successful warm weather training camp in Portugal, we enter this term with high hopes of replicating last year’s phenomenal 4-0 defeat of Cambridge and continuing to elevate our status on the national stage by picking up yet more BUCS medals.
Off the track, we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister, whose character and legacy are synonymous with the ethos of our beloved club. With the standard of athletics currently so high at Oxford and Cambridge, this year’s Varsity Match looks set to provide a fitting tribute at the venue of the unbelievable events of 6th May 1954.
Please come along and support us on 19th May at Iffley Road. With quality athletics, a bar serving beer and Pimms and the glorious summer sun, it should be a brilliant day and a great chance to see many faces, old and new!
With best wishes,
President, Oxford University Athletic Club
Achilles tour to Estonia and Finland
For the first time since 2004, Achilles are organising a summer tour! This will see us take to Estonia and Finland for a week (15-22nd August), with two matches and plenty of time for sightseeing. You should have already received an email about this, but if you would the details again, please drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) – we would love to have as many people as possible along!
The 1860 Club
We are delighted to announce the founding of our new alumni supporters’ society, The 1860 Club. This is a way of helping to support OUAC through regular giving, providing dearly-needed financial sustainability which will help us to continue to make athletics affordable for all.
Please see more details here: https://tinyurl.com/y7okxzvj
Don’t hesitate to drop an email to Miles Weatherseed (email@example.com if you have any questions.
Field Event and Relays (3rd March)
Indoor varsity is always the highlight of Hilary term and the chance to compete indoors and get out of the snow was welcomed by all! Unfortunately, inclement weather saw the cancellation of the three outdoor throws, reducing the field matches to 5 events apiece. This year was also the first year to see the introduction of the distance medley relay (DMR), consisting of a 1200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m, in place of the previously run 4x1500m. Also, it was the first year to see the women’s match on a par with the men’s, with 4 scoring competitors in every event.
Women’s Field: Oxford win 4-1
Despite the loss of some of our strongest events due to the absence of the outdoor throws, OUAC were able to take a comfortable win in the field. Under the guidance of coach Dan Hooker, the strong and well-drilled horizontal jumpers secured both the long and triple jump competitions. Fine performances in both from fresher Maddie Smith gave the squad the upper hand, and spurred them on to victory. In the shot, we brought our women’s throwing dominance to bear, taking a 6m victory! Victory in the HJ was assured due to the fine performances of indoor BUCS bronze medalist, Teele Palumaa, and heptathlete, Kate Davies.
Men’s Field: Oxford win 3-2
With the injury of BUCS bronze medallist in the PV, Archie McNeillis, this match promised to go right to the wire. Unfortunately, without Archie, the PV proved too hard to win, and the absence of 2016 Varsity Winner, Nithesh, in the HJ left us lacking in the vertical jumps department. However a fine win in the shot for captain Jack Paget gave us the win, leaving us needing to secure both horizontal jumps to claim the match. With an injury to star Jude Bright-Davies, other athletes had to step up. Under the mastery of Dan Hooker, the depth of the squad held up, giving us comfortable wins in both to take the match.
Women’s Track: Cambridge win 4-2
This was always predicted to be an uphill struggle, with the absence of two top sprinters on their year abroad, and injuries throughout the top distance women. This led to losses in the 60, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800, put the match beyond our reach. However, the hurdlers put in a mighty performance, winning and setting a match record for the third year running to save face, led by captain Emma Roberts. The final event of the day, the DMR, saw gutsy runs from Natalie Beadle, Irene Gibson, Libby Brown and Anna Sharp to take the race. Looking ahead to Varsity, prospects are much improved, with the distance squad shaking their injuries, plus the combined effect of scoring in the field promising a very close match!
Men’s Track: Oxford retain 2-2 (Disputed…)
The men’s track saw tempers run very high, and some classic tab skullduggery… In the 4×200, drama ensued in the final 200 where coming from behind, the tab proceeded to knock the baton from Alex Grundmann’s hand, but then be beaten over the line as Grundmann dropped the baton, then the hammer. Unfortunately, an unsportsmanlike protest from the tabs the race ended in a double DQ. Later on, Varsity 1500m champion Alex Gruen amassed a 30m deficit in his final lap, only to unleash his kick, and whip round the last bend to take the tab, with the whole club following behind him! Victory. Or not… The track invasion (reminiscent of the scenes at Iffley in 1954) was deemed to impede the Oxford seconds runner, seeing a DQ for Oxford. Cambridge were also DQ’d for throwing down the baton in disgust. So despite crossing the line first in 4 races, the match was adjudged a draw. Come 19th May, the men will be back for revenge…
Indoor BUCS (16th – 18th February)
Building on the strength of last year’s indoor and outdoor BUCS results, this promised to be a chance for OUAC to showcase ourselves on a national stage. Our athletes stepped up and did not disappoint, claiming a bumper haul of medals! Highlight of the weekend was fresher and GB Junior, Jude Bright-Davies, hop-step and jumping his way to claim the triple jump title! Medals went in the 1500m to Dani Chattenton (silver), HJ to Teele Palumaa (bronze) and Pole Vault to Archie McNeillis (bronze). With a combined 8th place finish (men 6th, women 10th), we now eagerly await BUCS outdoors where we hope to build on the indoor success.
Support at The Varsity Match is hugely appreciated; a large crowd will certainly help to spur our athletes on to victory.
- 19th May – The 144th Varsity Match, Iffley Road, Oxford.
- 19th May – The 144th Varsity Match Banquet, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. If you haven’t received any information from Achilles and would like to come, please do get in touch!
- 30th June – Achilles versus Penn and Cornell, Iffley Road, Oxford.
- 15-22nd August – Achilles tour to Estonia and Finland. If you haven’t received details about this and would like to, please get in touch!
It is always a pleasure to reconnect with our alumni and hear about past exploits with OUAC, please do get in touch!
Yours in dark blue,
After a fantastic Michaelmas term for OUAFC, all four teams returned from the Christmas break fresh and ready to build on the strong foundations set. The Blues returned in January with only three games left in the league, two of which against Cambridge, and the all-important Varsity Match to prepare for. This trilogy of matches against our age-old rivals culminated in a 4th straight Varsity win for the Blues (on top of the Brookes Varsity victory in Michaelmas), alongside Varsity wins for the Colts as well as both Women’s teams. A strong finish to the league campaign for the Centaurs left them 2nd, capping off a very successful season for the club.
As alluded to above, the trilogy of games against Cambridge was to decide both the League and Varsity silverware for the Blues. Unfortunately after a series of loses but us behind, this sparked a change in formation to 3-5-2-1, masterminded by coach/legend Mickey Lewis and captain Alex Urwin ensuring that the Dark Blues completely neutralised Cambridge’s significant aerial threat in the return league fixture at Iffley as Oxford finished the campaign with a convincing 2-0 victory. This win was courtesy of two well-taken finishes from striker Dominic Thelen, in a team performance that foreshadowed a change in the Dark Blues’ fortunes.
The Blues walked into the 134th Varsity Match on the back of further convincing victories over strong Oxford City and Reading FC academy sides, with the new formation looking increasingly potent. Sure enough, the Oxford Blues’ technical and tactically innovative set-up proved too much for Cambridge as Oxford brought home a 4th straight Varsity Match victory in a dominating 3-0 win. Superb goals from star-man Thelen and fresher Leonardo Ackerman in the first-half left the Light Blues dejected at half time. A delightful chip from outside the box, following a lovely through ball from the ever-imperious Wicker brought about Thelen’s second goal of the game (third of his Varsity career) and squashed any hopes of a Cambridge come-back.
Centaurs and Colts
The Centaurs and Colts had similarly successful campaigns, each narrowly missing out on league titles to Brookes’ 2nd and 3rd teams, on their respective last days of the season. The Colts have grown from strength to strength this season moving up the Midlands 5A league to second. This development was epitomised as captain Eoin Monaghan led a confident Colts side out to a raucous Oxford-heavy crowd away at Newmarket Town FC, Cambridge on 4th March come the 2nd and 3rd team Varsity Matches. Despite conceding early on, the Colts showed their class as they continued to cause the Cambridge Kestrels all sorts of trouble at the back, emerging on top in a 4-3 thriller, clinched by a last minute bottom corner winner by 3rd year classicist James Foord. Other top performances came from striker Pat Barton and winger Maxwell Jones. This victory represented the first Colts win over the Kestrels since the varsity fixture began in 2015.
With the Cambridge Falcons having dominated the Midlands 3A league (that above the Oxford Centaurs), the odds were stacked against Oxford’s 2nd team come their Varsity game. However, inspired by victories from the Colts and Furies earlier in the day and a large away crowd following, the youthful and exciting Centaurs team led by skipper Sam Morris displayed a great amount of skill, passion and fitness in a fearsome 120 minutes of football that couldn’t separate the sides, despite Oxford dominance of possession and chances created. Sadly, having led 3-1 with 15 minutes to go of normal time the Falcons managed to pull back Oxford’s lead and win 4-1 on penalties.
The vital and greatly appreciated hard-work of Sabbatical Officer Omar Mohsen has enabled the Dev Squad to continue to progress and develop our plentiful pools of young and exciting talent. In Hilary the Dev Squad had fixtures against Oxford City and Queens Park Community sides; each of which they won 9-1. All the while, Omar juggled this whilst masterminding the Furies to a convincing 3-0 Varsity victory over the Cambridge Eagles.
Tour: America & China
As has been tradition in recent history, the Blues headed off on tour following Varsity success, this year to the East coast of America. Organised by Vice-Captain Cian Wade and partly funded by generous contributions from alumni and the University itself, the Blues had fixtures against Ivy League Universities Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. Our visits to each of these world-famous universities were made all the more special thanks to the fantastic hospitality we were greeted to by their students and coaches, typified by home stays at each of the former three listed above. Competitive games against each saw the Blues suffer narrow defeats to Harvard (2-1) and Yale (2-0) and a well-fought 1-1 draw against Princeton, before a rather more humbling defeat to a very high quality Columbia side. This latter fixture marked the end of the OUAFC road for midfield marvel Till Wicker and stalwart legend Cian Wade, each of whom will be severely missed.
The club now looks forward to heading to China for the World Elite University Football Tournament this summer and hopes to build on last year’s impressive 3rd place.
The highlight of Hilary Term for OUBbC was, undoubtedly, Varsity on the 26th of February.
The memory of last year’s 3-1 defeat, in particular M1’s heartbreaking overtime loss, combined with the tough BUCS season for both first teams meant we were hungry for victory on the home court. Things kicked off with the W2 game, in which Oxford were the clear favourites. Despite their underdog status Cambridge kept the score close with a tenacious full-court press; but Oxford were ultimately able to break the press and won 44-37.
Next, M2. These teams play in the same BUCS league and are usually closely matched; this game was no exception. The teams were within striking distance of one another throughout and the game went down to the wire, with Oxford ultimately coming back from behind to win 65-63. M1 followed M2. The first two quarters were close and scrappy, with just a point separating the teams at halftime. But Oxford pulled ahead in the more free-flowing third quarter and Cambridge never recovered; the final score was 65-59.
There was substantial excitement in the hall. Last year, only W1 defeated their Cambridge counterparts; would this year be the mirror image? Fortunately not, with a huge performance by final-year guards Anna and Lucy Williams securing the fourth victory of the day for Oxford, with a final score of 54-49. It was the first clean sweep by Oxford since 2010, and the first ever since the addition of a W2 game to Varsity!
Although Varsity was the highlight, we were busy throughout the term with BUCS games. While W1 did not win any of their three remaining league games, in each game they ran their opponents closer than they had the previous term; and the two victories against King’s from Michaelmas were enough to secure their position in Premier South next year. M1 were less fortunate and were forced into relegation playoffs in Trinity Term. They trained through the Easter break in preparation and secured a victory in their first game against Bournemouth. Sadly they lost out in the second game to a determined Middlesex team, so they will compete in Midlands 1A next year. Both W1 and M1 were scheduled to participate in playoffs for the Final Eight of BUCS, but with the Beast from the East blocking the roads north with snow (in March!) we decided to concede the games.
M2 and W2 both wrapped up their competitive seasons at the end of Hilary term. M2 came fourth in Midlands 3B, crucially one place ahead of the arch-rival Cambridge. W2 placed third in 2B, a huge achievement following promotion into the league last year. To celebrate, they travelled to Dublin at the end of eighth week and played friendlies against two local teams in addition to taking in the sights by pedal-tour.
With the completion of the BUCS season, training for the four club teams has been scaled back in Trinity term to allow for Cuppers, the inter-college tournament. Balliol and Hertford are the reigning champions among the men’s and women’s teams respectively, and we expect many colleges and college-composite teams to challenge them for their crowns.
The opening of the new Acer Nethercott Sports Hall means that wheelchair basketball sessions finally got started this term! Huge thanks are owed to Jamie Green and Andy Taylor whose persistence made this a reality, and to the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre who generously loaned their sports wheelchairs for the sessions. If the sessions remain popular we hope to secure funding to purchase our own chairs next year.
With the warmer spring months marking the end of the traditional Cross-Country season here in the UK, now is the perfect time to reflect on what has been a very successful 2017-18 winter period for OUCCC. The season started out in earnest at the beginning of Michaelmas, with the focus being on preparing the Club for the annual Varsity matches against Cambridge. The early signs were very good with Club members performing strongly at the British Cross Challenge fixture in Milton Keynes, boding well for the upcoming showdown with our minty green rivals.
The first of the Varsity competitions was the II-IVs match, which took place at Shotover Country Park in Oxford. On a frosty November morning, all Oxford runners ran brilliantly, culminating in a 4-1 win for Oxford across the five matches. Merely a week later, it was the turn of the Blues teams to race over the historic course at Wimbledon Common. The Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ races were some of the highest quality Varsity matches seen in years, with Oxford running out clear winners on the women’s side, and narrowly taking the men’s title too. It should be noted that the last time Oxford won both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Blues’ matches on Wimbledon Common was in 2010. Hence the overall 6-1 to Oxford result in the 2017 Varsity Cross-Country Matches stands as a real testament to the exceptional strength and depth that we currently have in the Club.
After the Christmas break, it was of course time to concentrate on BUCS and gaining as many team medals as possible. When the day came around, it was a bitterly cold and rainy day at Hillingdon House Farm, – exactly the sort of testing conditions that many cross-country runners live for. The Men’s A team got OUCCC off to a perfect start, flying around the 10km course led in by Jack Miller in 5th place and Jamie Parkinson in 7th. The women were next up, also putting in a very strong performance to finish agonisingly close to a team medal in 5th place. The Men’s B team rounded the day off in style, also managing to walk away with the team bronze medal. It was without a doubt, the best Oxford performance at the BUCS Cross-Country Championships in recent years.
Over the Easter weekend, some of our members enjoyed a training camp in Shropshire, covering some very hilly terrain, including a certain climb called “The Wreckin”. OUCCC Training Camps are always thoroughly memorable experiences, providing not only the opportunity to lay down some quality speed-work sessions for the term of racing that lies ahead, but also for fostering some all-important inter-team bonding. Our main Pre-Season Training Camp, which we aim to subsidise in order to increase access to this key event in the OUCCC calendar, is held in September, prior to the Michaelmas Varsity matches. In 2018, we will be heading north to the Derwent Valley, for what promises to be another exciting Club expedition.
The London Marathon saw a number of our true endurance athletes run some fast times in tough weather conditions. Eoghan Totten became the first Oxford athlete to achieve the Marathon Full Blue Standard running an impressive time of 2 hours 26 min 32 sec. Moreover, the Oxford Men won the Varsity Marathon Match against Cambridge. Looking ahead to the rest of Trinity, the vast majority of our athletes continue competing on the track, alongside our sister club OUAC, over distances ranging from 800m up to 10,000m. The focus of the term for many are the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships in Bedford, as well as the Athletics Varsity Match, which this year will be held at the Iffley Road Track on Saturday 19th May. The event will also play host to a series of Open Mile races, open to all current members, as well as to alumnae, of the Oxford and Cambridge Cross-Country and Athletics Clubs, in order to commemorate the recent passing of Sir Roger Bannister.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Club Coach, Kyle Bennett, for his continued help and support throughout the year. Under his careful guidance, the performance of all athletes within the Club, from those who took up competitive cross-country running at Oxford to those who have recently made their international debuts, has improved dramatically. The aforementioned Jack Millar had his first England call-up for the Home Counties Cross-Country Championships at Wollaton Park in Nottingham in mid-March, and Fresher Charlotte Dannatt has also been selected to represent England for the first time at the Trofeo Opitergium International U20 Road Race in Oderzo, Italy on 1st May. This year the Club has benefitted from access to endurance running-specific strength and conditioning sessions through the Sports Federation’s Blues Development Scheme, which has been invaluable in the way of injury prevention. We would also like to thank our sponsors Neptune Investment Management.
2018 has been yet another year of significant progress for Oxford University Cycling Club, with performances reaching record highs. April’s time trial varsity saw both our men’s and women’s teams break Oxford records. The race is a 25-mile individual time trial where each university’s time is based on the sum of the times of their three quickest riders. Our men shaved 37 seconds off the time of the previous quickest Oxford trio while our women demolished the record, beating it by eight and a half minutes. The race also saw Isobel Dodds post the quickest 25-mile time ever recorded by an Oxford undergraduate woman (59:50).
As ever in a sport that offers as thorough an examination of an athlete as bicycle racing, our riders’ progress has been a result of having made meaningful improvements to many aspects of themselves. We have been fortunate to receive the support of HMT Hospitals as title sponsor. Their generous and enthusiastic backing has allowed us to invest in coaching, attend a greater number of events, and improve the standard of equipment used in races. Our athletes have also made use of the Sports Federation’s Blues Performance Scheme to deepen their knowledge of sports nutrition and psychology, and to add a variety of valuable off-bike training to their programmes. Above all else, our athletes have demonstrated an exceptional aptitude for hard work and have, collectively, embodied a professionalism that far exceeds their student status. We are confident that this atmosphere, combined with developments such as increased investment in equipment and technology, will lead to further improvements ready for next year’s race.
Our next big race is the inaugural track cycling varsity, to be held on Saturday 16th June as part of the World Cycling Revival at Herne Hill Velodrome in London. Tickets are still available for what promises to be a special event. We hope to see as much dark blue in the crowd as possible.
To watch our progress, follow us on social media and at www.oxforduniversitycc.co.uk.
After moving from the Midlands division, the Floorball club has recently finished its first season in the UK South division. The move to the South division brought fiercer competition and a much higher standard of floorball gameplay. Stepping up to the challenge, we played against stronger opponents and fought close matches with every team.
The team is stronger in all aspects of the game, including some players heading and trying out in the British National Floorball team. The Floorball club has definitely grown both in members and quality since its founding. We have more skilled players while still attracting newcomers to learn the sport.
In the university day tournaments, the Oxford team has repeatedly come up in one of the top positions. There is news that a university league might be set up in UK, though this means that we will have to leave the British league. This important decision is still being discussed.
Iffley Road training facilities
Another piece of exciting news is the completion of the new sports hall at Iffley. This hall has a LED lights below the flooring such that the different lines for different sports can be shown. While the lights for floorball were not installed, we can still adapt and use slightly similar sports to our own. The new sports hall has also allowed us to gain more hall time and training time. We have longer and more sessions now and for the foreseeable future. Coupled with a new captain, this will breathe new life into floorball trainings and translate to a better skilled team.
We have an alumni game coming up on the 26th May. All alumni are welcome to have a game with the current team. This will be held in the new hall and it will be a fun time playing with the old members. This will be followed by a team dinner and more details can be found on our Facebook page!
Looking ahead, we have plans for a Summer school in floorball. While the plans have yet to be confirmed, this is the perfect chance for increasing the popularity of floorball in UK and raise some funds for the club. Currently, the club is trying to set aside enough money to buy a rink. This will greatly improve our training quality and allow us to better simulate the game scenarios. Over the years we have saved for the majority of the cost and would just require a little more for a rink. We would be eternally grateful if any alumni knows a good supplier that the club can be put contact with.
Finally, as per usual, we had our annual elections and a new committee was selected to run the floorball club. The new committee will be headed by President: Lucas Buzaglo, and Club Captain: Ng Si Hong. For any reason that you may want to contact the club, you can contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or the club Facebook page! The Facebook page.
Hillary term was highly productive for the Oxford University Gliding Club (OUGC), with all members making excellent progress and gaining invaluable experience. Highlights include our annual trip to Portmoak, two OUGC pilots going solo and one of our recent alumni becoming a basic instructor. We also have a variety of exciting upcoming events, including the OUGC Annual Dinner, varsity competition and the inter-unis.
Despite being dogged by the ‘beast from the east’ several OUGC pilots made the annual trip to Portmoak for a week’s flying during the Easter vacation. For many this was their first opportunity to experience long soaring flights, with everyone benefitting enormously from this and the experience of flying from a different site. Even when the weather made flying impossible the pilots made good use of their time, visiting Edinburgh and socialising with pilots from the Nottingham and Edinburgh gliding clubs.
We are pleased to announce that OUGC pilots have continued their hard work throughout Hillary term, with two of our pilots making their first solo flights. This is a fantastic achievement, and we look forward to their next achievements. Furthermore, one recent OUGC alumnus has become a basic instructor, which again is a fantastic achievement and a sign of the dedication that OUGC pilots have to their sport.
The OUGC annual dinner will be held on the 12th of May at Somerville College. It promises to be a fantastic evening of wining and dining for all OUGC alumni, members and friends.
All members of OUGC are busy training for the annual varsity competition, to be held in mid-June at Cambridge’s home airfield. This is our most important competition and looks to be an exciting competition.
We are also looking forward to the gliding Inter-uni’s week, a week-long competition/training week held in August. Results from all competitions will be published in due course.
2017/18 has been a great season for OUGYM, particularly in terms of the development of the club. Membership has remained high at 99 members, including a range of beginners and advanced members alike.
The President, Natalie Liu, did a phenomenal job in securing a Sport England grant which, alongside securing sponsorship from Jellyfish, has played a pivotal role in improving the facilities at Iffley sports centre. Consequently, we have purchased a lot of new equipment, including a vault, a new pommel horse and floor beams, and now have extra hall space for training to utilise the extra equipment. This was particularly important for the progress of beginners and to supplement the full apparatus training at Abingdon in the lead up to the Varsity Match.
The competitive season started off with a strong performance at the Birmingham open, particularly from the men who brought back a total of 9 medals, with a special mention to Alex Koziell for placing 3rd in the all-around men’s intermediate competition. Despite an unfortunate injury at the Loughborough open, the girls team that attended still managed to achieve two medals even without completing the competition.
This year there was a major development in the men’s side of the Varsity competition, with the introduction of a B team. This signifies a dramatic improvement in comparison to OUGYM’s struggle to fill a men’s A team in the Varsity Match two years ago. Whilst Varsity didn’t produce the results we were hoping for, the scores were very close with Cambridge and we achieved more Blues than ever before. A specific mention to Jamie Carpenter for coming 3rd in the men’s all around competition and to Megan Buckley and Katrina Kelly for coming 2nd and 3rd in the women’s all around, respectively. Our men’s captain for the year, Sid Baines, has put in a lot of hard work, showing true dedication to the club, and in doing so received a nomination for Tabs Captain of the Year. After public voting, he came 18th in the country, a great achievement for him and for the club, proving our great leadership.
It is important to also mention our amazing coach Chris Seelig, who has shown so much commitment to the club and whom without the club would not be the same. He is responsible for our success and progression, and the club is very grateful, as always, for all of his hard work.
We have had a great year and are looking forward to next year, in order to build upon our achievements. We hope to secure further funding in order to purchase more equipment to build up the Iffley facilities and reduce our reliance on Abingdon even more. I’m sure, with another dedicated committee having been elected that OUGYM has a great year to look forward to.
The 2017-18 season was one of unprecedented growth and success. This year saw numbers of recruitment for the men’s side soar. The Men’s 2nd team was consistently able to field a team in SEMLA matches. Following this, the men’s 2nds team has been entered into BUCS for the first time in the club’s history. The story is similar in the mixed team. The quality of this year’s new recruits made varsity selection difficult for captains Francesca Fitzgerald and Gwenyth Audran. They hope to build on this next season to deliver some solid performances and to take back the varsity trophy. The women’s teams worked hard to win both their varsity matches, reflective of the effort put in throughout the season. The women’s Blues victory was a particularly notably achievement, defeating Cambridge for the first time in the memory of all current players by a convincing 8-4.
This year we have aimed to increase integration, between mixed, men’s and women’s teams has been an aim of this season. This Trinity term, joint weekly stick work sessions have be introduced to prepare us better for next season, but mostly to bring the club closer together as it grows. The club has also launched the development squad, designed for female players who have not had the chance to pick up lacrosse at school. This squad, organised by current players, aims to coach complete beginners to University standard by their second or third years.
On 24th February 2018, Oxford hosted the 102nd Varsity Match in Uni Parks. Despite the freezing temperatures, over 300 spectators came to watch the eight games which took place. This year saw the inaugural mixed alumni match, in honour of OULC alumna Lottie Fullerton, after which the match is named. This will be a welcome addition to the Lacrosse Varsity programme in the years to come. The Parks were full of energy and excitement; it was fantastic to have the Match at home again and the enthusiastic Oxford support translated into results. Both women’s teams and the men’s blues defeated the Tabs, whilst the men’s 2nds were unlucky to lose by one goal in the final minute. Tough competition from Cambridge’s impressive mixed team proved too much for Oxford, but the team basked in the improvement from the beginning of the season.
The alumni matches were no less hotly contested. The unfailing enthusiasm of the men’s alumni team was out for all to see on that frosty morning. The dedicated group even rented a house in Oxford the night before to mentally prepare for the day ahead. Their dedication and passion for the game was too much for Cambridge, who were defeated 4-3. The women’s alumnae had strong turnout, mainly from the previous couple of years, though they were unlucky to miss out on the win. Still, their commitment to the post-game celebrations was as strong as ever. The inaugural Fullerton mixed alumni match was taken by Cambridge.
This summer will see the launch of the Penthesilea Group, the society for the alumni of OULC. The group will host annual drinks events and more casual socials based in London throughout the year. Penthesilea members will receive a newsletter with the progress of the club and be invited to participate in the alumni matches each year. Membership is £19.03 per year (after our foundation date) and your contribution will help the development of the club, permitting coaches, investment in equipment and improving access for the club. If you would like to become a member, please visit https://www.campaign.ox.ac.uk/club/lacrosse and enter the suggested donation amount. If you would like to learn more about the group, please contact us at email@example.com.
With the players firmly settled into their groove come Hilary Term, this is where the teams begin to hit their stride and we see the first glimpses into OULTC’s huge potential for the Varsity matches…well that’s plan at least.
In short, most of the teams ended up battling their way to solid mid table positions in their respective BUCS leagues. Both the Blues epitomised this; not close enough to relegation to unsettle any nerves but neither did they dash any hopes we had of getting promoted. Solid is the word. The same goes for M2. No thrills but they got the job done. W3 and M3 decided to up the ante when it came to the excitement levels and treated us all to a relegation scrap before making safety never look in doubt and ‘comfortably’ finishing just above the drop zone. Unfortunately for W2, they decided to dice just that bit too much with relegation and so ended up dropping out of the Midlands 1A league. Until next year’s BUCS leagues.
Blues Tour – Tokyo
This year, a group of 11 of the both the men’s and women’s blues were lucky enough to go to Tokyo for their annual tennis tour. Here is one of our new cohort, Ed Kandel’s, report on the trip…
From tennis matches to dumpling eating competitions, war memorials to Hello Kitty cafes and traditional bathing houses to fish pedicures — the Tokyo tennis tour had it all. Our team of Oxford blues tennis players was 11 strong, 7 guys and 4 girls, and based at Keio University, the oldest higher education institute in Japan. We were lucky enough to train and play against the great students there almost every day of the tour.
Their tennis facilities were luxurious — 8 newly refurbished championship acrylic courts, with two of those being indoors. Our joint training sessions were always great fun, whether it was us trying to survive their intense 30 minute pre-session warmup or teaching them how to play dingles, an OULTC special. The Oxford tennis team represented the club with a great attitude across the whole tour with some standout performances: Shunta Takino had a 3 hour epic thriller of a match whilst Saleem Rizvi saved a heroic match point with a hot dog. Even with the team pulling out all the stops, Keio’s players performed in the big moments and had a healthy lead over us at the end of the tour. When we weren’t playing tennis, we did and saw some amazing things in Tokyo, albeit too many to describe here without writing a dissertation-length piece.
Overall, it was an amazing 10 days in a unique city with a great group of people. If you ever have the chance to go on a similar sports tour, I would highly recommend it. Huge thanks are due to Keio University and its students for hosting us so graciously and to Oxford students Shunta Takino and Nanami Yamaguchi for arranging everything.
2s and 3s Tour – Portugal
Report by M2 skipper Casper Scheible
The annual 2/3s tour took place over the Easter break, with a group of 24 OULTC players travelling to the Algarve for a week of tennis in the sun. We played at the Vale de Lobo Tennis Academy and stayed in villas within walking distance of the club. Everyday we were put through our paces by the coaches in 1.5 hour training sessions, and spent most afternoons doing further hitting sessions or playing friendly fixtures against Tonbridge School and Bradfield College. Against Tonbridge we played a round robin doubles tournament, allowing us to play against fellow OULTC players, as well as Tonbridge students and some of the coaches at the club. Despite a pair of coaches ending up victorious, the M2 pairing of Ignacio Perez and Casper Scheible finished in a strong 2nd. Against Bradfield a similar set-up was adopted, except for the top 4 seeds from M2 who played a fixture against their strongest players. Everyone played a singles and doubles match, with OULTC winning 5-1 after some well-fought sets. Off the court this was also a great opportunity to bond as teams and get to know other members of the club. Overall, the tour was a really great experience, and an ideal way to prepare for the upcoming term.
At the start of Trinity, the club held an open to all charity doubles tournament in aid of Cancer Research. The event was a big success, with an enjoyable afternoon being had by all and over £100 being raised.
- 2s/3s/4s/5s varsities – 23rd & 24th June in Oxford, University Parks, Iffley, and other college courts
- Blues varsities – 30th June & 1st July at Moor Park
- Other Matches
- Men’s and Women’s Blues vs The All England Lawn Tennis Club – 13th May
- Women’s 2s vs The Hurlingham Club – 12th May
- Men’s 2s vs The Hurlingham Club – 13th May
- Men’s Blues vs UK Armed Forces – 19th May
- Men’s Blues vs The International Club – 2nd June
- Women’s Blues vs The Army – 10th June
- Men’s Old Blues Match – 16th June
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about OULTC and the alumni programme, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 our website.
The year so far has been a busy one for OUPC. November saw many freshers’ first exposure to rifles at the Past vs Present match. The addition of a new course of fire (which involved sprinting to the firing point!) made for a particularly fun event. The best novice award this year went to a thoroughly deserving Michael Swain. The contingent had a great time catching up with our alumni, and continued our fine tradition of graciously conceding the victory (read: being thoroughly trounced by the Past).
There were two additions to the shooting calendar this year. Firstly, we entered the Midlands Postal League for the first time. This provided good competition training for freshers and experienced shooters alike, and both our teams placed second in their respective divisions. Secondly, Imperial College London invited us to a friendly match at their London range. It was a rare opportunity to practice both LSR and gallery rifle, and the warm welcome from the London club made for a thoroughly enjoyable day of shooting. We brought back the victory in the 10 m air pistol (Thomas Bailey) and LSR precision (Chris Slade), as well as an incredible envy of their range facilities!
The Small-Bore Varsity match took place at Wantage this year, and Cambridge earned much kudos by showing up through the remains of heavy snowfall. Oxford won the A team (2179 to 2143) and Women’s (1774 to 1704) matches, with the B team victory going to the Other Place. Our A team score of 2179 is the highest on record, from either side, in the history of the pistol varsity.
Our Annual Dinner followed on the same evening. There was an excellent turnout of alumni, both recent and long-standing, and we filled the dining room at Vincent’s Club to capacity. There was a lot of positive feedback about the venue, which we had never used before, and we hope to return in future years.
The Oxfordshire County Pistol Championships were held in the first weekend of May, and OUPC took nearly all of the prizes. The Tamesian Tankard for the winning team aggregate went to OUPC. Outgoing captain Herman Ahmad set a new record for the rapid match, with scores of 100, 98, 100, won the Macallan International Trophy for the highest individual aggregate, and the Sports Pistol and Standard Pistol Shields; incoming captain Igor Wasilewski won the 10 m Air Pistol Shield, and the County Bronze Medal for runner-up in the individual aggregate.
With the major competitions out of the way, we have now begun the long-awaited overhaul of the club’s air pistols. Our Steyrs have been in the club for a long time, and all bar one are in need of significant servicing and repairs. It has had to be put off for several months due to Varsity training, and because of the significant costs, but with the main pistol season over and three guns completely out of action, this is the time to get it done.
A new committee took over at the end of Hilary, and we hope to lead the club onward to greater success.
Hilary term is always an exceptionally busy time for OURC, and this year has been no exception. Along with the usual varsities against Cambridge, the calendar has also included matches against other Universities as a warm up to the main event. One particularly tight match against the University of London saw the opposition top OURC by just 6 points, and Tsvetana Myagkova leading the scores with 190.
Smallbore Varsity: The Heslop and The Bentata
The team put a huge amount of effort into pre-match preparations, both in terms of time down in the range, but also attending a quick sport-psychology lesson from the Blues coach, Alex Robertson. Sadly, the matches at the Lord Roberts Centre did not go in OURC’s favour, with some new and returning members of Cambridge out competing OURC’s strong effort with 1544 against our 1479 in the Heslop. The Bentata was a much more closely fought affair, but Cambridge pipped OURC by just 9 points, scoring 760 compared to OURC’s 751. The day wasn’t without some cause for celebration though, as OURC welcomed a new half blue in the form of the top scorer for both matches, Kate Foye with a score of 192.
2nds & 3rds
Thanks to our huge recruitment drive this year, OURC also managed to a field strong teams for the seconds and thirds matches (The Kensington and Ex-Captains), which this year was held for the first time in the neutral grounds of the Cambridge OTC on the 10th March. Cambridge proved victorious, but many of Oxford’s newer shooters put some brilliant scores down the range, showing some real promise for next year. We can guarantee that Cambridge will have a real run for their money in all the matches next year.
While the Kensington and Ex-Captains was running, four more experienced shots from Oxford (Abi Howell, Jonny Page, Hattie Mansell and Haoyu Niu) were delving into the weird world of three-position shooting during the Lermann, taking place at Cambridge’s home range on Queen Elizabeth Way. Since OURC still doesn’t have access to a range in which we can practice kneeling and standing shooting, the concept of shooting in any position other than prone is still very alien to the club. Nevertheless, the four adventurous souls on the team did what they could to put up a fight against Cambridge, who unfortunately beat OURC on the day.
The next major event on OURC’s calendar was the Easter Bisley training camp, which this year was attended by a record 28 people. This huge number of new fullbore shooters is credit to the effort put into recruitment this year by the President Abi Howell, Secretary Hattie Mansell, and the rest of the committee. The weather from the 2nd to the 9th April was inclement to say the least, giving the freshers a taste of outdoor shooting at its most unpleasant and most challenging, but despite this, some brilliant talent was on show. Special mentions go to the fullbore-freshers Tom Jewson and Brandon Ford, who scored possible on their second day of match rifle shooting, and Thomas Nightingale who was the top new target rifle shooter during the intra-OURC match on the final day’s practice.
None of this would have been possible though, without the help of alumni, and members of the NLRC and English XX who braved the horrendous weather to help coach both new and returning shots alike. Thanks go to Tom Rylands, Guy Larcombe, Ben Craig, Ashley Abrahams, Tom Hendriks, James Shepherd, Rosanne Furniss and Mick Silver, for giving up their time to help the club.
At the end of the TR week, four members of OURC were chosen to represent Oxfordshire in the Stock Exchange match. As predicted, Mick Silver top scored for Oxfordshire, but OURC’s guest member Elliot Sewell was close behind and the highest scorer in the club. We’d like to say a huge thank you to ORA for inviting us to the match, and we look forward to being more involved with county-level shooting in the future!
An Empire match against the London and Middlesex Rifle Association kicked off what looks to be a packed fullbore fixture calendar for OURC. In what were truly atrocious conditions, Oxford’s team of six put down an impressive score of 1111.81 against the LMRA’s 1123.96, with Jonny Page top scoring for the club with 192.18. OURC’s most recent match against the RAF (another Empire with a team of 5, and with much more clement weather) captained by Jonny Page showed how much talent is within this year’s cohort of fullbore recruits. Of the three on the day, OURC managed to beat one of the teams put forward by the RAF, despite two-thirds of the Oxford team comprising of people who had never held a fullbore rifle just a week earlier, scoring a total of 887.60. Some interesting wind conditions at long range also allowed some coaching prowess to show too, with Tsvetana Myagkova coaching Jonny to the highest score in the match: 195.20.
In the run up to the Imperial over the summer, and the varsities during that fortnight, OURC will continue to train both smallbore and fullbore in various matches against other Bisley clubs. Two matches against the LMRA and RAF have already taken place, and we look forward to testing our mettle in many more fixtures. If you ever happen to be in Bisley at the same time as OURC, please don’t hesitate to come and say hello!
As always, if you’d like to stay in touch with OURC and follow Trinity term progress, you can follow us on Facebook , Instagram, and the OURC website . Our Alumni Officer, Jonny Page (email@example.com), 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,
Hilary Term, whilst not as busy as Michaelmas, has still seen plenty of rugby played with opportunities for then younger players in the squad to get a taste of Blues rugby. The term began with a training session with Canadian National team at Iffley Road, as they prepared for their two legged World Cup qualifier against Uruguay. A week later the Blues hosted the might of the British Army and with a young squad gave a strong account of themselves in a 26 points to 15 loss. Next up was a visit to Portsmouth to take on the Royal Navy and again despite another loss, the squad performed with great heart and scored some wonderful tries.
Back to Iffley Road next for the visit of the Welsh Crawshays invitational side, the Blues were ahead at half-time but eventually succumbed to the more powerful visitors and to the conditions which by the end of the game left each side completely indistinguishable from each other! Unfortunately the visit of a second invitational side, the Penguins, saw the match cancelled, which left just Waseda University to come. OURFC and WURFC have a long and extremely close relationship, going all the way to 1952 when OURFC were the first UK sports team to visit Japan after WW2. The match was a highly entertaining affair, enjoyed by a large crowd which saw The Blues emerge victorious by 27 points to 19, followed by an enjoyable evening in the OURFC Pavilion and later at Hertford College.
In addition to the Blues, the men’s Under 20’s were preparing for their Varsity Match to be played at Iffley Road at the end of 7th week. In the build-up they enjoyed a convincing win against a Bath University XV, but then very unfortunately their Varsity Match succumbed to the extreme weather that gripped the UK and despite the efforts of both clubs a suitable alternative date could not be found.
In the middle to Hilary Term, the 2018 Captain and Team Secretary Elections took place, as tradition dictates, these roles are chosen by their peers in a rigorous evening of ‘husting’. Dom Waldouck of Kellogg College and Ollie Adams of Lady Margaret Hall were duly elected Captain and Team Secretary respectively and all at OURFC wish them well for their year in office.
Hilary Term for the women was a busy one as the Blues had four BUCS league fixtures to complete, against the four teams above them in the table! Whilst they didn’t manage to record a victory, there was some highly encouraging performances and a number of players experienced a taste of Blues rugby for the first time, which augurs well for next season and beyond. The Blues finished 4th in the league, resulting in a visit to Edinburgh in the quarter final of the BUCS Knock-out Cup, however this match also fell foul of the weather and unfortunately Oxford had to concede walk over the Scottish University as the end of tem arrived and they could not raise a team to travel in the vacation.
The Panthers played only three of five scheduled matches in the build-up to their Varsity Match, again matches were lost to the weather, and the rearranged Varsity Match saw them unfortunately go down by 17 points to nil against a strong Cambridge Tigers team.
At the end of Hilary Term, the 2018/19 Captain and Team Secretary Elections took place, these roles are chosen by their peers in a rigorous evening of ‘husting’ very similar to that undertaken earlier in term to elect the men’s. Abby D’Cruz of Keble College and Susy Rees also of Keble College were duly elected Captain and Team Secretary respectively and all at OURFC wish them well for their year in office.
For more information on all OURFC fixtures and events please visit our website.
In 2017 the club made significant strides in their fundraising campaign which began in 2016; the campaign is split into two fundamental parts:
- To create an Endowment Fund of a minimum of £4M by April 2019
- 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:
Underwater Exploration Group
2018 has got off to a wonderful start in OUUEG. In January twelve divers went to the northern Red Sea to dive its amazing wrecks and reefs. Back in the UK, diving was done during the cold winter months mostly through dive charters on the South coast, and, when the weather really wasn’t game, at inland sites across the country.
In April we took all our kit and our RIB Seahorse down to the Lizard in Cornwall for the Easter Training trip. Around 40 divers joined us over the course of eight days. Eight ocean diver trainees became qualified divers, and many others worked towards higher qualifications and gaining instructing and boat handling experience. We had wonderful dives straight off the shore at Porthkerris beach, and on the wrecks of the Volnay or Mohegan and the reefs of the Manacles rocks, a short boat ride away. Other highlights included a night dive and an underwater Easter egg hunt.
Theory and pool parts to courses continued in Oxford. Six students took their sports diver to expand their diving skills and we trained several new boathandlers. Some of our keenest new members from the last couple of years began the diver leader course, and we look forward to developing their dive management skills and experience over the coming season. Two new members will shortly be doing their instructor foundation course, and another member, who joined OUUEG as a complete beginner, will shortly qualify as a full instructor.
Seahorse is now back on the drystack in Plymouth ready for lots of weekends of wonderful diving this season. A trip at the end of May will focus on dive leaders putting their new theory into practice. In August some pioneers will set off to Cornwall for our first time diving off kayaks! Many other trips are also planned throughout the summer from Land’s End to Northumberland.
Our black-tie dinner is being held this month with a talk on coral reef conservation from new member and science communicator Sally Le Page.
Hilary term saw Oxford Octopush (Underwater Hockey) soar to new heights, with best-ever finishes for both the A and B teams at Student Nationals. These came as the result of many hours spent in the pool, and many more devoted to post-training tactical sessions. Earlier in the term, the Club held its Annual General Meeting, and received some positive press courtesy of Stanford Daily sports correspondent Bobby Pragada:
“this sport is too good to leave to the British”
For those unfamiliar with it, Underwater Hockey is a fast paced, 3-Dimensional sport played on the bottom of the pool. It’s a team game with a twist: you can’t communicate, and the person you need to pass to could be two metres above you. Most people come to university having never played before, but with a bit of perseverance are able to pick it up fairly quickly. The sport is easy to learn, but incredibly difficult to master – making it very engaging, and producing highly passionate players always looking to improve.
This year, Student Nationals were held at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, in Glasgow. The field at Tollcross was eighteen-strong, including two intrepid Oxford teams. The competition consisted of three stages – two round-robins, followed by playoffs for first, second, third, and fourth. The teams were divided into three groups of six for the round-robins, with the results from the first determining the groups for the second.
After a shaky start in stage 1, things came together for Oxford A, and they won a series of games to ensure qualification for the top group in stage 2. Oxford B had a stellar morning of hockey, and would have qualified for the top group as well if the rules hadn’t forbidden it (the team featured several players who are not current Oxford students). Moving into the second round-robin, Oxford A lost hard-fought matches to Plymouth (1-0), Aberystwyth (2-1), and Warwick A (1-0), but managed to hang onto fourth place – setting up a juicy rematch with Plymouth in the 3rd and 4th playoff. The narrow loss to Aberystwyth, who went on to win the tournament, was a particularly heroic display. Oxford B continued their fine form in the second group, and, despite a defeat at the hands of hometown hopefuls ‘Edinburgh Hippos’, finished in 9th place overall – five places higher than last year.
In the playoffs, Oxford A charged to a triumphant 5-0 lead over Plymouth in just the first half, and managed to hold on to secure a third place finish – even with a late Plymouth resurgence, and a power-cut interrupting play. This was Oxford’s first-ever podium finish, and an improvement of one place over last year. It capped off an brilliant tournament.
The AGM, held earlier in March, saw the election of several new members to the OUOC Committee. The Club welcomes Johanna Hettinga as Treasurer, Chloe Thickett as Secretary, James Kohout as Captain, Ed Clennett as Social Secretary, Christina Hunt as Kit Officer, Romain Bourdette as IT Officer, and Toby Newberry as Press Officer. They join returning president Calum Dee.
This term, the Club also received a small amount of attention from the international media, when Stanford Daily sports correspondent Bobby Pragada stopped by to observe a training session, and interview former club president Tom Scott. In his own words, Pragada found the sport “a truly unique experience,”:
“Tom was right, you really did need to be underwater to appreciate the sport. From the dry land, the activity looked like a bunch of heads popping up for gasps of air and incoherent splashes as people moved underwater. But watching from the sidelines with my goggles on, the sport was truly beautiful. Teamwork abounds in the complex puck movements that the game requires, and possession changes constantly. People float around at different levels in the water, waiting for an opportunity to strike or gain an advantage.”
You can read the full article here. Nice work, Bobby!
Next term, the early focus will definitely be on Cuppers in 3rd Week, with several strong contenders looking to unseat the defending champions (St Hilda’s). The Club has also secured an additional weekly training session, boosting the total time available for Octopush each week to over six hours (!). The OUOC continues to thrive, and we look forward to more success heading into Trinity.
If you would like to keep up to date with what’s going on at the club, then we post regular updates on our website. Or you can follow us on social media: Oxford University Octopush Club on Facebook and @OUUWHC on Twitter.
Women’s Boat Club
Since 1984, Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Rowing Club can be found once a year gracing the Henley reach in a valiant effort to secure Dark Blue victory.
You’ll be familiar with the open-weight Boat Race on the Tideway, which is brought to our screens in March/April – we often race the week before over 2km, making for a dynamic, fast-paced race with nail-bitingly close finishes most years (this year only half a length). A lot can happen out on the track! Oxford lightweights train for as many as 12 sessions a week whilst maintaining a careful diet in order to weigh in at 59kg on race day. Though they be but little, they are fierce.
Next up for the club is BUCS at Nottingham Holme Pierrepoint (5th-7th May), where the girls will fight to win the opportunity to represent GB Universities at the European University Games which takes place in Portugal in July.
We’re fortunate to have such a fantastic network of alumni and loyal supporters who truly form the bedrock of the club and have kept Oxford lightweight rowing alive, going from strength to strength year after year.
Have you been involved with our club in the past? Share with us your favourite memories or let us know what you’re up to now – we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – just search OUWLRC/Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Rowing Club.
Please get in touch with Heather Brickell (email@example.com) 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/).