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By Tim Wigmore
Oxford University Chancellor Chris Patten has sent a letter in reaction to Oxford’s thrashing by Cambridge in the Inter-Varsity Tiddlywinks on May 1st.
Much to the surprise of the team, the Chancellor responded to the team’s letter of apology. He wrote: “News had, of course, reached me in London concerning the Society’s recent humiliation; and I understand that there was some debate about whether this catastrophe should lead on the BBC 10 o’clock news.
“You may, of course, be right that perfidy played a part in the outcome, though it seems to an outsider more likely that you have all been spending far too much time in the library!
“Perhaps I can give you a piece of advice as a very old man? If you continue through the rest of your adulthood ‘winking’ at people, you may find that it gets you into quite a lot of unnecessary trouble.”
Oxford were beaten 99-13 in the game – the first since 2005 – which took place in a lecture room in Balliol College.
After their defeat, the Oxford team wrote an open letter to Patten, “to apologise for our shameful defeat, the worst since records began.” They pledged to continue playing and improve on their display next year, saying: “Maybe we’ll even read the rules fully before the match.”
To their Cambridge counterparts, they had defiant words: “Out of the ashes of this disaster will rise the phoenix of success. As the North American Tiddlywinks Association motto says, “Fiat vincs, ruat cælum!”” – ‘let winks be played while the heavens crumble.’