The annual Town vs Gown athletics match was as always an exciting affair as Oxford athletes regained some pride following a calamitous varsity. Athletics clubs from all around Oxfordshire sent their best troops to do battle with the mighty OUAC. Putting the unexpected result from the varsity match behind them, athletes from across the University put on a convincing show of prowess and determination. In the men’s match, OUAC emerged victorious, while in the women’s match they suffered a very narrow defeat.
The men’s track events began with the blockbuster event: the 100m. In the men’s match, OUAC Blue Hallam Dixon was beaten by the finest of margins in a race that was on a knife-edge until the finish.
The 100m was followed by the 400m and mile races, in which male athletes from Oxford University picked up the win with comprehensive performances. On the men’s side, it was clear that the Town’s morale was beginning to crumble. They mounted a brief comeback in the 110m hurdles, with the University athlete finishing a close second.
However, after a steward’s inquiry by the University it was revealed that the Town athlete was cheating by using lower hurdles. Oxford’s Tom McQuillin was thus awarded the win and the Town athlete awaits confirmation of his competition ban for violating IAAF regulations.
The University proceeded to clean sweep all other events as the Town’s rally was not sufficient to overcome the composed University athletes. They won the 200m, 800m and 5k races.
It was a similar story in the field. After an early surge in the javelin and discus, the Town could not maintain their momentum and proceeded to lose all the other field events.
David Kelly jumped a fine d i s t a nc e to win the long jump, whilst Harry Woodcock reigned supreme in the shot put, winning by well over a metre.
In the women’s events, entries from the University were more sporadic, perhaps due to fatigue from varsity. However, University athletes won almost every event they entered. The 100m race was dominated by OUAC’s Eniola Oyesanya, who eased to victory with a 0.5 second margin over second place. Solid performances by Ellie Hinde, Eline Helmer and Briana Hazlewood secured OUAC the victories in the 400m, the 100m hurdles and the coveted 3000m race walk respectively.
In the field, OUAC women stepped up to the mark, clean sweeping the entire field competition. Christina Nick’s fantastic double in the shot and discus laid a precedent for further victories. Polly Fullerton launched herself well above any of her competitors in the high jump, while Kate Davies demonstrated why she is OUAC’s javelin extraordinaire.
Unfortunately the dominant performance in the field could not quite compensate for the deficit in the track.
The women’s match was perhaps the more exciting of the two contests because drama continued right up until the last few events. In the men’s match, the last event (the 800m won by Niki Faulkner) was a mere victory lap (x2).
The University will be hoping next year t o retain the title in the men’s match and the women will be hoping to steal the coveted title back from the grasp of the town.
For now though, OUACC looks towards a packed end of season. Next weekend, they head off for the South England Athletics Association championships at the Lee Valley athletics centre.
At the end of the month, Light and Dark Blue will join forces to take on the best of Harvard and Yale at Iffley in a Brits vs Yanks showdown. The season culminates with the UK championships in Birmingham on Friday 3rd July.
For now the club will hope to use the momentum from these encouraging results to push on for a fitting end to the season.