Last Saturday marked the date of the 64th annual Varsity match between the Oxford University Company of Archers and the Cambridge University Bowmen. Both clubs braved wind, rain and even hail on Christ Church Meadows to shoot the 108 arrows required to complete the competition.
With a strong team going into the match, Oxford knew they had to be on their mettle to beat Cambridge; it was just a case of performing on the day in spite of the adverse weather conditions. This Oxford team managed that in style. Oxford’s stellar team of Kirstie Smith, Matthew Langton, Alex Smith and Angelina Measures put in a solid score to win the match.
Oxford finished over 300 points clear of their rivals, with at least one club record toppled; the Tabs were well and truly shoed and the Rosebowl trophy was retained by Oxford.
Echoing the success of the first team, the Oxford novice team reclaimed the novice plate from the light blues meaning that Oxford had managed the double for the first time in its club history.
Star performers on the day were Kirstie Smith, first overall and only the second Oxford archer to be awarded a Blue, and Matthew Langton, who was the highest scoring male archer.
The real story, however, is that this is no flash in the pan; Oxford has been steadily narrowing the gap on its rivals, particularly Cambridge, for a number of years.
Early indicators of Varsity success came at the BUCS Indoor Archery competition, with more silverware and a national title for Kirstie Smith, and a second place position for the club overall.
In effect, the Varsity match is only the start of the archery outdoor season: several key national competitions remain.
Oxford archers can take heart from this resounding victory and rest assured that fitness sessions and practice in the pouring rain have allowed them to taste success when it mattered most.
PHOTO / Amaryllis Barton