Old and new, experienced veterans and green rookies all took to the University Parks last Saturday to play a part in an enthralling mixed lacrosse Cuppers tournament.
The format of the competition was simple with the teams being randomly allocated into four pools of five teams. From there, only the winners of each of the four groups would advance to the semi-finals. Although some teams failed to show up, each group had at least four teams competing. With all the teams knowing that only one side would progress from each group, each match was vital and a series of tense encounters ensued.
Following on from their netball Cuppers success, Teddy Hall managed to qualify for the next round with relative ease after fending off competition from colleges such as Brasenose. Their semi-final opponents were competition favourites Keble, who had struggled to overcome Lady Margaret Hall at the group stages.
In the other half of the draw, it was St Hilda’s who navigated a tricky group which included colleges such as St Catherine’s and Queens. It was in the last group that the battle for a berth into the semi-final was most intense, with no team in the group dominating its opponents. Oriel and Christ Church both started impressively, with Oriel winning their first match 4-0. Christ Church also got off to a hot start, beating their first two opponents, which included Oriel.
However, it was the joint team of Wadham and St Anne’s that were to finish strongly in the group and qualified to the next stage. They only dropped points in the last match in a 1-1 draw against an Oriel team.
St Hilda’s played Wadham/St Anne’s in a tight game that was, in the end won, by Wadham/St Anne’s, surprising given that they had only been formed as a team on the day of the tournament.
Even more surprising, however, was the result of the next semi-final. In a reversal of the recent rugby Cuppers victory over them, Teddy Hall overcame the odds to beat the much-fancied Keble side.
In the final of what had been, up to this point, an unpredictable tournament, there came a match that was never really in doubt. Buoyed by their stunning victory over Keble, Teddy Hall continued in that fierce vein of form and swept into the final confident of their ability to overcome a team that had only been created on the day of Cuppers itself. Wadham and St Anne’s could not quite overcome their opposition and fell to defeat at the last after their own remarkable performance that day. It was a familiar final result in what had been a surprising tournament full of shocks and close fought battles.