Thursday of 5th week saw the five-a-side Cuppers tournament come to its conclu- sion during an exciting finals day at Iffley Road. Trinity College took the trophy after a successful tournament on the pitch, which more than made up for their paltry five points from twelve games in the JCR First Division.
To begin our run-through of a finals day, let’s start with the last eight matches which kicked off the occasion. The first quarter-final match saw Exeter 2nds knock out last year’s winners St. Hugh’s 1sts with a 1-0 victory. A goal from Chris Bennett was enough to see them through to the semis.
Pembroke 3rds played Keble 1B in the second quarter. With the Pembroke side fielding four Blues players in their starting five, it was perhaps unsuprising that they won the match 2 – 0. Clinically-taken goals from Rich Lloyd and Leo Barnes sealed them a place in the semis, and having made it that far without conceding a goal, they were looking like a good bet to win.
New 1sts beat St. Anne’s 3rds 3 – 0, with two goals from Stephen Hayes and one from Mike Feeney in the third quarter-final. This was a shame for a talented Anne’s side which included Pepe patrolling the defence (sadly not that Pepe though).
In the last quarter final, Trinity 1sts beat Wad- ham 2nds 2 – 1, with their goals coming from the Blues Varsity match’s man of the match, Michael Moneke, and David Baker. The goal of the tournament then came from Wadham’s Jeremy Stothart, who fired in a wonderful vol- ley to get his team back in the match, but the whistle blew soon after, and the semi-finalists were decided.
The first semi-final was contested between Pembroke and Exeter. Pembroke continued to defend well and successfully maintained their clean sheet streak, beating the Turl Street side 2 – 0. Two goals from Tom Brown – one from distance, and a brilliant solo effort – secured their place in the final.
The second semi-final saw Trinity play New. A shocker from New’s goalkeeper allowed Trinity to take the lead with a goal from Nicholas Hobhouse. Tim Wade’s effort – which would have dragged New back into contention – was ruled out for being inside the area. Two quickfire goals from next year’s Blues captain Ezra Rubenstein then stopped any hope of a New come-back, and saw Trinity into the final with a 3 – 0 victory.
The playoff for third place saw seven goals, with New beating Exeter 5 – 2. Exeter’s goals came from Ben Dobson, and New’s came from Tim Wade, Raphael Rifkin-Zybutz, and a Matt Wood hat trick.
The final between Trinity and Pembroke saw the tournament’s top goal scorers face off against a team that were yet to concede in the tournament. The match got off to a shaky start with both teams displaying nerves. Rubenstein spurned an early chance for Trinity, but his teammate, Moneke, was on form to prevent Rich Lloyd from putting Pembroke ahead with a last-ditch sliding tackle in front of goal.
Soon after, Moneke struck from long distance to put Trinity 1 – 0 ahead. This was followed by a solid strike from Rubenstein to double their lead going into half time.
The second half got off to a faster start with Moneke hitting the post early on. Rubenstein showed his class – and why he’s the most capped Blues footballer on record – by bursting the net with a wonder strike after being fouled in the opposition’s half. He went on to complete his hat trick with a back heel flick that saw Trinity win the tournament.
Cherwell Sport spoke to Ezra Rubenstein, who was voted player of the tournament, after the match. Delighted with his team’s performance in the final he said, “Who needs a keeper?” He then reflected on the tournament by saying, “Wadham gave us our best game in the quarter-final, and I didn’t think the final against Pembroke would be that easy.”
The team of the tournament, including four subtitutes was made up of Ben Szreter of Wadham in goal, Josh Vivian (Wadham), Pepe (St. Anne’s), Ezra Rubenstein (Trinity), and Dan Ginger (Keble). On the bench were Fred Ellis (Trinity), Mike Moneke (Trinity), Matt Metcalfe (Wadham) and Tom Brown (Pembroke).