Image credit: Andreas Polo

Recap: A blue Easter

Oxford terms are intense, with eight weeks of term, tutorials, lectures, and extra-curricular events (not to mention collections and other stress-inducers). The promise of a few weeks of break in the vacations is often what motivates students through their work. Yet, of course, the University never ceases to remind us that the time between terms are vacations, not holidays, for we are to vacate our rooms and work is to be continued. Indeed, while academic work does (slowly) continue, much of Oxford’s student population also represents the University in its various Varsity Matches, and the Easter vacation was exceptionally busy for them.

This period was hallmarked by the Boat Races which occurred on 29th and 30th March. Despite E. Coli in the waters, saw remarkable attendance. With the 4.25 mile winding along the Thames, spectators in support of the Dark Blues would have surely been pleased with the early lead that Oxford established in the majority of the races.

However, approaching the turn at Hammersmith Bridge, the leads were soon seized by the Cambridge Light Blues, leads which were held onto until the end, ultimately culminating in another sweeping victory by Cambridge in all but the women’s reserves. Notably, in the Men’s Blues race, while a sizeable lead of 15.72 seconds had been established by Cambridge as the teams went under Barnes Bridge, their stroke seat, Chemistry PhD candidate Matt Edge, began to visibly falter, opening the door ever-so-slightly for the chasing Oxford. A valiant effort was had, but the result remained too significant.

While the Boat Race in recent years has been a devastatingly one-sided affair in favour of Cambridge, Oxford enjoyed great success in other Varsity matches during the Easter vacation. Heading into the Golf varsity match (held at Rye, East Sussex, this year), Oxford had won 12.5 University Matches out of the past 14, the firm favourites. And despite the sunny Sussex weather quickly turning from a sunny Mediterranean to hail and gale winds, Oxford emerged victorious in all three of its golf matches: 9.5/5.5 in the University Blues; 8:1 in women’s; 10:5 in the Divots vs Stymies match (2nds), continuing an impressive Oxford streak now at 13.5 from the past 15.

Of course, not all the matches were so lopsided. While Association Football may have ultimately ended in Cambridge’s favour at 4:2, the Men’s Blues competition was particularly fierce: a fine game of 1-1 saw the match enter into penalty shoot-outs where Oxford won 3-0. The Lacrosse varsities also saw fine performances from both sides, culminating totally in 3:3, but with Oxford emerging victorious in Men’s Blues, Women’s Blues, and Men’s 2nds.

With Trinity ushering in a hopeful summer, the Varsity series continues with Varsities yet to happen for Cricket, American Football, and many others. While the current standings are finely poised, Trinity surely heralds more exciting matches and results.

To keep updated with results, refer to the University Sport’s dedicated Varsity Series webpage here.

Image description: The Oxford v. Cambridge Polo match