The Greatest Achievements in Oxford sporting history


1 The 4 minute mile Whilst claims that the feat was considered impossible, even medically dangerous, breaking a world record that had stood for 9 years standing on a windy day at Iffley isn’t bad for someone who only trained during their lunchbreak. Roger Bannister’s achievement was the greatest of all the Oxford sporting achievements, even more so coming in an era where professional sport had started to take hold. 2 Oxford win the FA Cup OK, so what the final was played at a cricket ground, in front of a conference side attendance, in 1874 against 9 lieutenants, a captain and a major. We can still claim an equal share in the meritocractic glory of the FA cup (let’s ignore the fact that the top 4 have held it for the last 12 years). Prehaps it is not surprising we won, the team included 4 England internationals and we had God on our side in the shape of midfielder Rev. Arthur H. Johnson. 3 Oxford student equals World Long Jump record Perhaps the ultimate rennaisance sportsman, C.B Fry held blues in cricket, football, rugby and athletics (excelling at both the long jump and sprinting) finding the time to equal the then world record of 7.17 meters in 1893. If you don’t hate him already you should know he also got a first. His life after Oxford wasn’t as interesting, a spot of nude modelling here, a spot of international cricket there (I needn’t bother to explain he was an all-rounder). Oh, and he was offered the throne of Albania. 4 Oxford win Boat Race by a foot 2003 saw the closest boat race ever with the lead changing 3 times and Oxford rowing at 40 strokes per minute to fend off a late Cambridge attack, after taking the lead with only around a mile to go. Oxford were underdogs too that year, fielding the much lighter crew. 5 Oxford student wins Rowing World Championship Matt Pinsent to be more precise, 3 times rowing blue and boat club president. He won 2 world championship golds and a bronze during his time at Oxford and took a year out from his studies to win gold at the Barcelona Olympics. More importantly he was in the winning 1990 boat race team, although during his year as president he had to endure one of the few defeats of his career. 6 Oxford win first ever Ice Hockey match in Europe On some kind of Victorian version of the Varsity Trip in St Moritz, a few Oxbridge students got together for a puckabout, Oxford winning 6-0. The Varsity Match is now the longest running fixture in the sport. Whilst most Brits probably couldn’t care less about ice hockey, it constantly being a degree too hot to play, the Canadians do, and many eminent Canadians including prime minister and noble peace prize winner Lester Pearson have represented Oxford. 7 Oxford win by an innings and 227 runs at Varsity For those of you allergic to cricket this is a lot. The 1923 varsity match at Lord’s had to be finished a day early after a domineering Oxford display that saw Cambridge bowled out twice on the same day for 59 and 139, Bettington ending with figures of 11-85. If that isn’t bad enough the tabs were beaten by an innings and 425 runs by the 1938 Australian tourists, strewth! 8 Blues beat the USA from 34 points down The rugby league side’s 42-38 victory over the US students after trailing 38-4 at half time in 1999 is pretty impressive. So is the fact we have a rugby league team considering that league players were banned from playing rugby union by the university for many years, and players therefore had to play under pseudonyms of childrens' cartoon characters. With the ending of this ban league has risen in prominence and now commands the full blue it deserves. 9 Tabs sink in 1978 Boat Race Not really a great Oxford sporting moment, perhaps more of a victory for the weather, but still funny and Oxford (unsurprisingly) did win. Cambridge went one better in 1984 when they sunk before the start line after hitting a barge, thus wreaking a £7,000 boat. The excuse given was the 5”4 cox couldn’t see over the rowers. 10 Irish international scores all the points at Twickenham Probably a good idea to finish on a defeat so we don’t get too cocky. David Humphrey’s performance at the 1995 varsity match, however, was one of the greatest personal displays in the rugby varsity fixture, the Irish international of over 70 caps scoring all 19 of Oxford’s points. This included a grand slam (the scoring of a try, conversion, penalty and drop goal in the same game), a rare feat and the ultimate achievement of a fly half .By Jeremy Kelly 


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