The Oxford University Tiddlywinks team faced a devastating defeat against Cambridge in the Varsity matchm on May 4th. The final score stood at 106 to 6. Eight pairs played four matches, but unfortunately the Oxford side did not manage to win a single one.

This defeat came as something of a shock to the Oxford Tiddlywinks team who had previously told Cherwell that “years of hard work have gone into this…undoubtedly the most prestigious Varsity competition.” Crawford Jamieson, an Oxford team member, offered a possible explanation for their defeat “The team suffered from some finger injuries. I myself forgot about how nail varnish can affect play.”

The effect proved most disastrous. Joe Price commented “What has been most devastating about the loss is that my family has disowned me. In my opinion their [Cambridge’s] win was a load of wink.”

Some have moved beyond mere bitterness towards their foes, to going off the sport altogether. Sonia Morland had a post-match epiphany: “So we lost quite badly, but at least taking part was fun- oh no wait- it wasn’t, turns out Tiddlywinks is a deadly dull sport”.

Certain members of the team are now said to be preparing to send a letter to Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor, apologising for their defeat. They are blaming the loss on lack of funding for the sport by the University. Indeed, the quarter-blues the team claimed this year is not recognised by the official blues committee. The general apathy from the rest of the University is echoed in the statement of Nieaogeumbh Burns, a first-year student at New College: “I still don’t care about Tiddlywinks.”

The event was hosted at Exeter College, and the two teams together went for a pub lunch that day. The Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC), in existence since 1955, likes to emphasise its boozing traditions, their official song is:

“The Tiddlywinks mats are soaked in port,                                                     And so are those who play the sport                                                      Tomato juice and such like drinks,                                                            Aren’t good enough for Tiddlywinks,                                                               And when we have won the cup,                                                                   It takes us weeks to sober up.”

It is a contrast to Oxford’s more traditional song, which begins:                 “And did those winks, in ancient time                                                              In yellow, red, blue and green.”

One Oxford team member commented when asked about the victory “It’salso worth noting that the Cambridge team actually cared.”

The 2011 Varsity match (where the final score stood 99-13 to Cambridge) led to the resignation of the Oxford captain, Daniel Lessing, due to pressure from the rest of the team. 

It remains to be seen what impact this year’s defeat will have on team dynamics.

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