Many of you may not be familiar with the term ‘Doxbridge’. If you throw it into Google Maps, the result is a charming street named Foxbridge in Swindon, just next to the Four Star Cleaning Services (why they didn’t call it Five Star baffles me). However, it is in fact a yearly sports trip to Dublin, featuring the finest collegiate athletes that Durham, Oxford, and Cambridge have to offer. Many of you are right to enquire why Durham were invited. I too scoffed when I found out that they only have a 19th century history. However, this was just a minor shock considering the earth shattering news that Colleges from York and Dublin were also invited. This caused much disquiet among the group and rumours of a boycott similar to the 2009 boycott of England’s Cricket Tour to Zimbabwe abounded. However, we bit the bullet and the tour went ahead.
But what is Doxbridge? It consists of four days: two days spent travelling, two days spent playing sport. This also consists of three nights out in the historic city of Dublin, a labyrinthine complex which is nigh impossible to navigate at three in the morning and after the odd Guinness (which as far as this reporter could tell tasted no different to the Guinness in England). There is a plethora of sports to choose from, including football, rugby, netball, hockey, lacrosse and others. Truly, for any who love sport, this is the World Cup, the Olympics and Fresher’s Week rolled into one.
Despite constant – and slightly annoying – reminders via apparel that we must “tour harder” and that we were having “the time of our lives”, Doxbridge was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. Two days of gruelling sport, played to a relatively high standard, with the exception of Jesus College, who seemed altogether fazed by the notion that sport would be played on the trip. After suffering numerous defeats on the first day they opted for a trip to Seaworld on the second. However, when I overheard one of them in the toilets of a club, cheering up a melancholic Paddy with a surprisingly interesting fish fact, I could sea that they truly had a whale of a time.
Back to the sport. Despite a disappointing lack of professional scouts many of the games throughout all disciplines were hard-fought and entertaining. Focusing on football, as the most well-attended sport and the only one I saw, I can tell you that after a highly competitive first day, many teams still had the chance to win what was dubbed by the rep as a ‘winnable’ tournament. However, by the second day, injury and hangovers had taken their toll and teams were forced to try out rather unorthodox tactics, including the 2-3-5 formation of the the 1930s and the New College captain’s innovative notion of only defending space, even with the opposing striker clean through on goal. Vanbrugh College of York eventually ran out as winners after a scrappy final which featured a striker with the worst chat since Episode 2 of Shark Tales (4.06 minutes in).
So looking back. Was Doxbridge full of the “first-class sport and legendary craic” that was promised. About the former, I would have to disagree, judging by the mental and physical fitness of many of the rugby players I saw. About the latter, having looked up the definition, I would most definitely agree. A fine holiday in the eyes of many, mixed with some great nights out. And whilst I doubt anyone merited a blues call-up based on their performances, much ‘mad tekkers’ was seen across the board.