Somerville emerged victorious in this year’s Netball Cuppers, defeating Keble in the final, with the 2014 champions, Teddy Hall, losing at the semi-final stage.
Twenty-nine teams, up on the twenty from 2014, entered to play for the coveted title of Netball Cuppers champions 2015, a tournament played over a single day at the Marston Community Centre. It is truly remarkable that over 200 girls came out for the colleges, as well as plenty of supporters for each team. Netball can generate something of a bad reputation sportsmanship-wise, yet Hebe Westcott, the OUNC Cuppers and League secretary, commented on the smooth mixing of novices to OUNC players, with “plenty of apologies for stepping on toes, which is a really nice contrast to BUCS”.
The matches were short and sharp, with four pools of seven or eight and mixed ability in each team. Eight teams made it through to the quarter-finals, with an upset as League winners Oriel lost to a strong, tall Teddy Hall side. Teddy Hall and New then lost in the semi-finals, setting up a Keble versus Somerville final. The Keble support should be commended, with the majority of the rugby team, and even the captain’s mother, turning out to shout. However, this support did not quite give the boost needed as Somerville emerged triumphant.
Somerville were strong throughout the tournament, especially in defence. Harriet Dixon, the Goal Defence for the Blues, as well as a Blues fencer, was invaluable for the college team, dominating their defence and preventing the conceding of many goals throughout the day. In the first half, Keble appeared dominant, but Somerville put their heads down and pulled away to victory.
One of the intentions of the tournament is to foster team spirit amongst colleges and sporting competitiveness, which may be missed in a term of revision and exams. This was particularly apparent in the umpiring by every college, and the respect shown for decisions. The popularity and strength of netball was evident in the fact of many colleges entering more than one team, and even an appearance by Osler House.
Netball is the perfect way for many people to become involved in sport, and turn out for their college, with leagues running through Michaelmas and Hilary terms. In all divisions except Division One, each team may have a male player, and mixed netball Cuppers are being held later in the term. An OUNC member commented that all teams and players came with a “brilliant attitude”, and it was a great tournament for all involved.