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By Rebecca Gillie
The men’s football Blues will be hoping for the perfect end to a fantastic year for them, as they face Cambridge’s Light Blue team in the 127th Varsity Match this Friday.
In their most successful season in recent years, the university first team have lost only one match in 2011, and have managed some comprehensive victories in several league, cup and friendly games this year. The team are awaiting playoffs which could see them win promotion to the top tier of the BUCS football league, joining the ranks of teams such as UWE and Bath University first teams. The team also had a long run in the BUCS cup, unfortunately losing 4-0 to Loughborough in the quarter-finals in February.
This term sees the men face their oldest rivals in what is set, as ever, to be a fiercely close Varsity Match. The score will be settled at Oxford United’s impressive Kassam Stadium, and the Dark Blues will be aiming to use the home advantage to its fullest. Judging by their season so far, Oxford have reason to be quietly confident. Cambridge have enjoyed a comfortable but in no way outstanding season in the BUCS division below Oxford – and having competed in a lower cup knockout competition, will be lacking in the experience that the Dark Blues have gained playing against top-class opposition.
This year, the Dark Blues have seen radical changes to their style of football. The Martin Keown era saw attempts at beautiful football, but under Mickey Lewis’ reign they have developed an effective style of football with a touch more physicality – the squad can boast two boxers and an ex-rugby player. Varsity debutants will be looking for support from returning Blues from last year’s victory on penalties. The experience of veteran Blues player Ben Quigley and St John’s Adam Zagajewski, as well as captain Elliot Thomas from Worcester college, will be vital. Blues newcomer and current top scorer Ezra Rubenstein certainly looks like the player to watch, and the crowd will be hoping he produces some more magic to put the home side ahead on Friday.
Having won their final pre-Varsity friendly 2-1 against the RAF, the Dark Blue outfit look set to put up a very convincing fight in their battle to retain the C.B. Fry trophy. With the number of Varsity wins finely balanced 48-47 in Oxford’s favour, the match is undoubtedly going to be another tense and exciting Varsity epic.
Tickets to the Varsity Match at 7.45pm on Friday 6th May are still available, priced at £8 each. Email email@example.com for more information, or to buy and lend your support to the Dark Blues.