After a strong showing in Michaelmas term, sports at Oxford continue to shine well into Hilary. The highlight of first term is always the Varsity Rugby Match, and this year promised to be no exception, with a fantastic showing by the Men’s Blues leading Oxford to another victory. Fortunately, for those who simply cannot get enough rugby, the men’s rugby union team will be playing again on 27 January, this time facing the RAF first team, and will be looking to continue their winning streak.
However, the success of rugby at the university level is hardly limited to the union Blues. The men’s rugby league team also has its season well underway, with the next fixture against Cardiff also taking place on 27th, shortly followed on 30th by the highly anticipated annual ‘Town vs. Gown’ match. The team has posted an outstanding season record of 9-3, with a season-high score of 63 points. They look to continue their strong offensive drives in the coming months and to beat that previous record.
Outside of the rugby world, sports at Oxford have remained competitive in the off season, an essential given the level of anticipation ahead of the Hilary matches. First and foremost are the men’s ice hockey team, who begin the new term competing on Sunday of Second Week. They will also play Cambridge twice in the upcoming months; the extra match will give them some insight into the other team’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to continue Oxford’s success in Varsity level competition, with said fixture occurring in March.
On the river, there is no shortage of rowing to whet the appetite of Oxford’s most obsessive sports fans who will have plenty to chat about with both the Boat Race, Lightweight Boat Race and Torpids this term. Anyone who isn’t into rowing should be prepared for some of the highest levels of rowing chat that will be seen this year.
On slightly different terrain to the sports field, the University Cycling Club have their two Varsity matches in March, comprising an off- and on-road race. On the road, a 25-mile time trial will decide the winner, while off it, Blues will compete in a cross-country race incorporated into a round of the Gorrick Spring series.
In the gym, the Oxford Gymnastics Squad will attempt to justify the arduous journey to Abingdon Gym in their Varsity against a confident Cambridge squad. Swimming’s Varsity meet will occur in late February and after an intensive winter training camp that just concluded in Spain, the team looks to be in their best condition yet. In addition, the team will join numerous others for the bigg e s t tournament of the season, the BUCS Long Course Championship, for the chance to take home the ultimate trophy for swimming . We also look forward to hearing about the swimmers’ training in the light of an exciting potential Channel Varsity Swim later this year.
Both the Oxford Men’s and Women’s football clubs have packed schedules this term, with BUCS leagues reaching their conclusions prior to the much-anticipated Varsity matches in Seventh and Eighth Weeks. On the Men’s side it is the Oxford Third XI, the Colts, who have had the most success, going into Hilary in contention for an unprecedented treble for the second year in a row of BUCS league, cup and Varsity, which is still on the cards in only their second season as a fully competitive side. The Blues’ league and cup struggle have seen them meet Cambridge already in Michaelmas, wringing out a hard-fought 3-3 draw, and Varsity looks set to be as nail-biting as last season’s penalty shootout victory.
Oxford’s Amateur Boxers have a busy term ahead as they face challenges not only from Cambridge in March but also from Oxford’s local boxers in the infamous Town vs. Gown fixture, held in the atmospheric Oxford Union chamber in mid-February. In a sport with less physical contact but with equally intense competition, the Oxford University Table Tennis club will certainly look to ‘smash’ Cambridge in their Varsity later this term.
In the world of more unusual Varsity fixtures this term, korfball, Eton Fives, Gaelic Games, orienteering and windsurfing will all occur, meaning that for those diehard sports fans amongst you who yearn to support Oxford in their more niche endeavours, your appetite should be satiated. As the saying goes, success breeds success. If such a statement holds water, then it can be said with certainty that Oxford’s winter sports season looks more successful than ever. Good luck to all the teams this season – your fans and Cherwell Sport will be there for every fixture along the way