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By Stephen Dempsey
The wind was gathering ominously around the University Club playing fields on Sunday afternoon as the University of Oxford’s Societies’ Knock-Out football competition kicked off.
The Pembroke Ornithological Society (commonly known as the Pembroke A team) were smugly conducting a kick about in the far corner, believing their fraud to have been undetected. The JCR Presidents team were arguing about whether there was quorum and who to elect as captain. Meanwhile, the Afro-Caribbean side were rationalising to all who raised an eyebrow at the 6ft 4 white behemoth in their back line – the scene was set for a clash of football unlikely to be matched all summer.
And then there was the OxStu team, a line-up glittering with dazzling talent and gritty characters who would look at home in South Africa over the coming months. Josh Davis patrolled the goal line with remarkable discipline, turning away potential strikers with a surly look and a short, sharp exclamation: it was Peter Shilton after a bad case of herpes – making odd movements, swearing loudly but still keeping the opposition out.
Lurking at the heart of the team were the dynamic duo of Sam Rabinowitz and Jack Cox – the latter often writing under a pseudonym for the OxStu. Rabinowitz showed the ruthlessness and lack of compassion that has made him a renowned force in college football, hacking down the prima donna Alex Crutchett with an almost maniacal grin, having previously cut down a member of the fairer sex in an unstoppable act of footballing brutality. “I can’t help that women fall at my feet,” remarked the possibly unstable Semite, whilst cleaning the blood off his boots.
“Stukka” Cox, so named for his screaming runs down the flanks, made his presence felt throughout the campaign, chipping in with goals and crunching tackles. Up front, Michael Letzer and Liam Steward-George proved a match for every defence. The latter came to the OxStu team with a fearsome reputation off the back of his glittering college career and proceeded to amaze and astound both providing and finishing in equal measure – as well as making off with the captain’s phone cover.
Letzer, after making a name for himself in the North, proved a key playmaker whenever on the pitch: if only he could have imitated this form in front of goal. Finally, this motley band of brothers was held together by the wily and charismatic manager/midfielder and Sports Editor, Steve “The Special One” Dempsey. Roaming the touchline at the start of each game, often at break-neck pace, his key tactical substitutions (usually involving subbing himself off) proved decisive throughout the campaign…even if Stevie Wonder would have put more in the back of the net.
With such a line-up, how could it possibly go wrong? In a run that will be remember for years to come, the OxStu team got off to a flyer by dispatching a clumsy Cherwell side with effortless ease; passing the ball freely and closing down the opposition with frightening intensity, there was nothing the Cherwell could do but watch and take photos as Cox & co. stretched their legs.
With their rivals disposed of, and the prime aim of the team already achieved, the OxStu went on to dominate the group, beating the JCR Presidents team 4-0, OxHUB 2-0 and drawing with OULC despite having two blatant goals disallowed…much to the amusement, and relief, of traitor and all round political sleaze, Stephen Bush.
Unfortunately, the team’s run was cut short by none other than God himself, in the form of the Oxford Christian Society. After taking the lead through a cheeky lob by Cox, the crowd were left gob-smacked as the OCS team huddled, prayed…and it began to rain. Wearing trainers, the OxStu team had no chance against an aquatically superior (and properly booted) side and was left floundering in the slush. But then again, who cares? OxStu beat Cherwell and that’s all that really matters.
In other news, Sam Rabinowitz’s hearing is next week.