Oxford’s best long-distance runners were on full display on a grey Saturday, as Cuppers Cross Country took over South Parks for an afternoon of impressive endurance.
Following a strong turn-out, including several impressive performances from freshers, the Dark Blues are hoping that both men’s and women’s teams can be triumphant at the annual Varsity Cross Country match against Cambridge at Wimbledon Common in December.
The hills and mud of South Parks made for a tough course, not too dissimilar from Wimbledon, and it is hoped that running the trial race on such a testing circuit will help prepare the Oxford squad for the race that awaits them on seventh December.
Eight men and six women can be selected for the Blues’ team, with further squads selected for the seconds’ and thirds’ match the week before at Shotover.
Former England Junior International Cross Country runner Tom Frith of St Anne’s made it a hattrick of Cuppers titles, taking victory over the near 10K distance by a clear margin. The fourth-year Physics student hopes that he can enjoy his best ever finish in the Varsity match in six weeks time:
“The course was a good representation of the Varsity match, so I’m pleased to put in a decent performance. It is my last year so I am doing everything I can to help the team win the prestigious title of Varsity champions!”
Next across the line was first-year undergraduate Will Christofi, followed by Worcester’s Adam Speake.
The women’s race was also highly competitive, with three athletes getting away on the uphill section on the second lap three, with American graduate student Claire McIlvennie taking victory ahead of last year’s Blue’s member Joanna Klaptocz. German international triathlete Sophie Saller completed the top three.
Club captain Naomi Webber was thrilled the standard of running on display: “It was a really good day. The course was hard but everyone coped well. There was so much fantastic new talent out running – we have great strength in depth this year, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming matches against Cambridge.”
Pouring rain did little to hamper the mood at the annual Oxford Athletics Cuppers on Sunday, with students doing their best to provide a ray of sunshine amid the darkened skies.
Ultimately, Keble took top honours in the college stakes with 173 points to St John’s 106, and 36 cuppers standards were achieved by a total of 53 athletes. with the afternoon providing a useful warm up for many dark blues ahead of Varsity later in the year.
Standout performances came from last year’s BUCS 4x400m bronze medallist George Grundle (St Johns) who stretched his legs over 400m to win in 51.9s, while his medal-winning teammate Adam McBraida (Jesus) won the 200m by five seconds in 27.1s.
Louis Gardner (Lady Margaret Hall) impressed to take the 800m title in 2:05.7, whilst Ian Shevlin (St Catherines) was the only man sub-12 in the 100m, clocking 11.9s.
In the field, triple jumper Sam Trigg (Worcester) tried his hand at high jump, taking victory with 1.75m, while Tom Cross (Kellogg) won the javelin with 37.16m.
On the women’s side, Emily Stone showed her potential as a sprinter, taking the 100m in 13.6, before showing her versatility with 5.02m in the long jump and 24.42m in the javelin.
Stone, of Hertford, ended up as the top-scoring female athlete, racking up an impressive 83 points, while it was Justin Leung of Keble who took the men’s honour with 50 points.
In what were treacherous conditions for hurdling, Heli Copley (Keble) played a valuable role in helping her college to win the competition, by claiming maximum points in the 100m in 18.8s., with Christina Nick (Pembroke) winning the discus with 26.54m.
Even more exciting is that Oxford has many more blues and new athletes to strengthen the dark blue contingent in time for Varsity and BUCS.
You’ve got the tightly-buttoned shirt, and the black-rimmed glasses. You do an arts subject. You are so close. But if you really want to make it as a thesp, we’ve got a few simple pointers to help. Let us present our beginners’ guide to the curious world of Oxford theatre…
1. Find your niche. Obviously, “doing drama” doesn’t mean you’ve got to tread the boards. Behind every brilliant actor stands a phalanx of producers, directors, marketing managers, lighting designers, costume designers, sound engineers, etc., etc. What do you enjoy? Do you want to be creative? Or do your talents lie with organising a team and arranging props? The best thing to do here is get involved with Cuppers, and keep your eyes peeled for any shows who are on the lookout for a team. Don’t be afraid to email relentlessly. Word of mouth is really important in theatre, especially in somewhere as enclosed as Oxford – so be friendly, be completely committed to any roles you take on, and we can assure you it’ll pay off.
2. Audition. For everything. It all counts as experience! When you’re starting out, don’t ever neglect or refuse a role because it’s too small – that role might be the one which introduces you to the best director you’ve ever met, or teaches you skills you’d never have found if you’d gone for Hamlet instead. And don’t be shy when it comes to strutting your stuff in front of the directors: no matter what happens they will have seen worse, we promise. It’s completely natural to get nervous, but don’t let it put you off going for something fantastic. And auditions are usually advertised on Facebook, so now your essay procrastination is sort-of justified. Yay for you.
3. Pick your theatre. Let’s not pretend that there’s no hierarchy. There is. Whether you’re inclined to direct, produce or perform, it’s important to know what kind of level you want to work at. The order, as here decreed by OxStu Stage, is approximately as follows. Ascending: basic college theatre/JCR, Burton Taylor Studio, small college theatre, large college theatre (Keble’s O’Reilly is the best-known), Oxford Playhouse. It’s important to remember, however, that the Playhouse might be the holy grail in terms of scale and prestige, but some of the best experimental theatre and new writing début at the Burton Taylor or college theatres. You have to put in a bid for your chosen theatre, so prepare yourself to defend your production! And don’t shy away from getting creative with space, either: think cafés, college lawns/quads (even in Michaelmas, honestly), churches, the Oxford Union, Worcester’s legendary lake…
4. Societies. Work with them. There’s a huge diversity of production companies desperate to put on something exciting, and University societies ready to help aspiring thespians weave their masterpieces, so getting involved with one is one of the easiest platforms from which to make a name for yourself. Some are smaller, some are huge (think OUDS). If you choose a larger society or production company to be involved with, you’ll probably also find yourself connected to the world of Oxford drama well beyond your own production – and it’s always good to check out the competition.
5. Find your funding. Ok, boring but important. If you want to produce a show, you’re going to need people to give you money. If you want to act, you’re going to need people who like you enough to give your producers money. There are a plethora of obscure funding bodies out there, as well as the big financiers: it’s worth remembering that almost every college has some kind of subsidy or arts pool from which theatre funds can, with the right tools, be carefully mined. Be fearless. Loads of JCRs are also happy to put funds into theatre if there’s a demonstrable college interest.
6. Never give up. Actually no, just kidding: if you’re on your fifth show of the term and being threatened with imminent rustication, maybe taking a break would be good. But it is pretty important not to be discouraged. A show selling badly is not the end of the world; a bad review will not kill you (though we apologise in advance). If you enjoy it, keep at it! Prepare to abandon sleep/your friends/sanity, but don’t take no for an answer. Remember us when you’re famous.
7. And, finally… worst case scenario, you’re still allowed to heave your best dramatic sigh, give it all up and become a theatre critic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO/ Ed Schipul
Saturday of 6th week saw the culmination of this year’s water polo cuppers at the Iffley Road swimming pool. After preliminary matches the week before, the title was to be decided between St Annes, New, Hertford, and LMH, with a third-place play-off between the losers of each semi final.
New triumphed over LMH in the first of the semi finals, leaving Hertford and tournament favourites St Anne’s to battle it out for a place in the final. Anne’s started the brighter of the two and quickly took a one-goal lead. However, Hertford cancelled this out minutes later after a good combination between James Jurkiewicz and Andrej Jocivic. Soon after, Jurkiewicz was extremely unlucky not to double his tally, striking the cross bar twice in quick succession as Hertford built up strong pressure on the Anne’s team. However, thanks largely to the influential Blues player Rhushub Bidd, Anne’s built a 3-1 lead going into the final phase of the game. Water Polo newcomer Harry Jackson rifled in a long-range screamer with 3 minutes left, but it wasn’t enough as Hertford bravely succumbed to defeat.
St Anne’s victory put them into the final against New College. The final was a thrilling affair. Each team traded multiple blows before Sammi Chekroud scored for New, putting them 4-3 up with less than a minute to go. New must have thought it was all over, but Bidd asserted his value to the Anne’s team once more, whipping in a long-range equaliser with less than two seconds left on the clock.
Into extra time and it was New who captured vital possession at the restart. This proved to be crucial as it was in this spell, after some lengthy build up, that Adam Chekroud rose above the Anne’s defence to edge New in front.
Things got worse for Anne’s soon after as there talisman Bidd was ‘wrapped’: ejected from the pool after being sent out three times. This was perhaps the game’s defining moment as New managed to hold onto the ball and secure the title in the most dramatic of fashions. Meanwhile, Hertford secured third place with a 5-4 victory over LMH, Andrej Jocivic stylishly providing the winner.
Whilst New were impressive in victory, the most memorable aspect of the event was the number of novices present in all teams who competed valiantly against more experienced players, in a competition that was largely played in competitive but good spirit.
The sun made a timely appearance last weekend to complete an idyllic summer scene at Cuppers including picnics, Pimm’s, and plenty of polo! With 6 colleges competing, spirits were high and support was out in force.
Play kicked off in style with a nail-bitingly close call between St Peter’s and a Hertford-St Cross alliance. Imposing long shots from Jerome Kamm and strong attack from his teammates were matched by some determined ride-offs and resolute defence from Peter’s. Despite a collision and subsequent spill, Wilhemina von Blumenthal bravely played on to help her team to a 1-1 draw at the chukka’s end. It was a robust penalty shot from Andreas Kranke during sudden death that decided the victory for Peter’s.
Brasenose gave the combined Wadham -LMH team a run for their money and sailed through to the final with an easy 4-0 win. Confidently captained by half-blue Jamie Lindsay, they played with considerable panache, outwitting their opponents at every turn despite some bold defence from Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod. Powerful shots by Lindsay and some excellent backhands from Harold Turot kept the ball in the Brasenose half and the goals coming in.
The two mixed teams met in what was to be a patchy semi-final. Littered with stopped play and penalty shots, it was by no means an easy win for the more experienced Hertford-St Cross side. Taking the title of Most Improved Player, Karlijn de Nie provided some formidable defence alongside Lauren Clarke, but ultimately it was not enough to contain a 3-1 win from Hertford-St Cross who took third place overall.
The final between Brasenose and St Peter’s was the perfect fast and furious ending to the tournament. In another closely-fought battle, Lindsay scored some magnificent goals to earn his title of Most Valued Player. There was plenty of action throughout, with Brasenose almost containing a defended penalty by Kranke, and a strong hook by Turot foiling an otherwise sure goal from von Blumenthal just metres from the line.
Ending on a 2-2 draw, it fell once again to (two rounds!) of penalties to decide the game. Though notably Tosti-Ibanez didn’t miss a penalty through the entire tournament, it was winning shots from Lindsay and Philip Santucci that secured the well-deserved 2013 title for Brasenose.
The day was rounded off with a barbeque for players and spectators in the evening sun with a prize-giving of the shiny new Cupper’s Trophy. It was also a chance for the club to thank David Ashby and Martin Foulkes at the Oxford Polo School for all their hard work this term, and for everyone to make sure none of the Pimm’s went to waste!
A sudden death finish decided this year’s Five-a-Side Cuppers tournament, making St Hughs the winners of the 2012/13 title. The tournament, which saw a total of 66 teams compete over the course of the term, culminated last Wednesday when Hughs beat off stiff competition from St Catz in a nail-biting and closely-fought final.
After comfortably beating New 3-0 in their quarter final, St Hughs progressed to take on St Johns in a fast-paced semi. Both keepers displayed the quick reactions needed in 5-a-side and stopped most of the attempts fired their way in the first half, but Hughs managed to take the lead just before half-time. In the second half, Johns equalised in the form of a well-placed goal in the bottom right-hand corner, putting the pressure back onto Hughs. But when a John’s goal kick went awry, Luis Glaeser saw an opportunity to take back possession and sidestepped the keeper to score a commanding goal. This was closely followed by another just before the final whistle, making the final score 3-1 to St Hughs.
In the second semi-final Keble came under immediate pressure from St Catz, but their keeper put on an impressive display, making three brilliant saves in a row and looking like easily the best keeper in the tournament. Midway through the first half a Keble player stopped to appeal a foul, ignoring the first rule of football: play to the whistle. The appeal was denied and meanwhile Ed Steele lived up to his name, pilfering the ball from under his opponent’s nose and scoring a cool and collected goal. After halftime and a series of narrow misses, Keble eventually managed to secure an equaliser but moments later a Catz shot glanced off the post and into the corner. It was passed back across the box and slotted in past the Keble keeper, putting Catz into the final with a 2-1 victory.
With each match just five minutes each way, the final between St Catz and St Hugh’s was understandably pretty frantic and quality play was at times side-lined in favour of pure brute force. Tournament organiser and referee Alex Biggs had a tough job on his hands trying to adjudicate all the niggling little fouls going on. With both teams making mistakes under pressure and giving away possession, the game was still in deadlock at the final whistle and went to extra time.
Neither team made much headway in the first two minute period but after half-time a wide attempt on goal from St Catz rebounded off the back wall into the feet of Chris Lambert, who powered a shot along the floor to put Catz ahead. Then, with just 30 seconds left Hughs managed to produce an equaliser out of nowhere, taking the game to penalties.
After misses from both sides and one penalty hitting the post there was still nothing to tell the two teams apart, so the shoot-out went to sudden-death. The outcome of the game rested on the shoulders of the two keepers, but it was Hughs’s keeper who brought home the victory when he managed to keep out the efforts of Catz’s keeper with a low dive to his left.
St Catz were clearly pretty devastated to lose out on the title by such a narrow margin but they played with dogged determination and enthusiasm and lost to worthy winners in the form of an organised and audacious team from St Hughs.
PHOTO / Charley Turton
[caption id="attachment_40734" align="alignright" width="300"] Brasenose: 2013 7s Cuppers Winners[/caption]
This year’s Cuppers tournament stood as testimony to just how different a discipline Sevens is to the 15-man format of the game. Neither League nor Cuppers Champions Keble and Teddy Hall managed to reach the semis, both worthily defeated by stronger opponents, whilst it was Brasenose who deservedly triumphed over New in the final to become 2013 Sevens Champions.
Against the backdrop of a wet and rainy Iffley Road, victories for the underdog began in the very earliest rounds of the competition. St Edmund Hall failed to progress from the group stages on day one and there were similar scenes on Friday, as St Catherine’s resoundingly beat Keble by 29 points to 5, in a stark reversal of last terms quarter-final in University Parks. A somewhat dispirited Keble side bemoaned a notable lack of senior players, in particular the absence of fly-half Charlie King, who it was alleged “had lost interest since winning players’ player”.
Oriel, Catz, New and Brasenose progressed in their respective ties to force Somerville, Balliol, Keble and Magdalen into the plate. Two fairly one-sided contests meant that Keble were to face Somerville in the final, but a confident and assured performance from the ‘Ville left them resounding victors 21 points to 10.
Meanwhile the semi-finals of the main draw were anything but one-sided as New scraped past Oriel 19-17 in a thrilling contest, before Brasenose narrowly edged out Catz with a score of 7-5.
In the main final, Brasenose proved too good for New, putting in an excellent display of high-tempo rugby to prevail 19 points to 7 and lift the coveted Sevens trophy.
Reflecting on the disparity between the results of the 15-man and seven-man formats, Keble centre William Mason pinpointed some of the key differences between the two versions:
“Because there are far fewer players, if you bring the ball into contact there’s a good chance you’ll get turned over so you have to try and avoid that as much as possible, whilst there’s no fullback or cover defence, which means you have to make your tackles, because if you don’t there’s no one there to make up for your mistake. Those are just a few of the reasons why Sevens is a completely different ball game.”
Sevens is Rugby’s Twenty20; dynamic, exciting and unpredictable. Brasenose were worthy winners of a successful tournament, which will hope to enjoy even greater support by next year.
A dominant Wadham team conceded only two points in all games as they defeated a field of 13 teams in the one-day extravaganza that was Chess Cuppers. Over 50 players from 11 different colleges braved an early Saturday morning to travel to St Hugh’s to compete in the annual competition, held by the Oxford Students’ Chess Club. Despite the bleak weather, there was an excited buzz around the room, which soon turned to silence as the beginning of play was announced.
Wadham dominated their league, carrying 10 out of a maximum 12 points. A juicy finals round was in prospect when Mansfield 1 bettered that performance by scoring 11/12 in their league. In a tough league, Blackfriars Hall won through despite being held to a draw by the hosts. The fourth semi-final slot went to a deserving St Edmund Hall, who, despite losing to Mansfield 1, managed to whitewash every other team in their league (9/12), pipping the reigning champions Trinity and new entrants Balliol.
Wadham’s form improved from incredible to imperious as they won every board against Teddy Hall, despite the valiant efforts of Chess Society President David Hewitt. But Mansfield 1 were unable to carry their morning form to the semis; a close game against Blackfriars led to a second drawn match of the tournament. In the high-pressure rematch, though, Mansfield overcame the more contemplative Blackfriars team to progress to the final.
In the third-place play-off, Hall recovered their form to beat Blackfriars 3 points to 1. But eyes were already turning to the much-anticipated final. It was the final everyone had been waiting for, between two teams who had exhibited almost total dominance at the league stage. But the final score did not reflect the quality of the chess. Wadham won every board, exhibiting tremendous composure under pressure.
Wadham emerged the deserved victors in a tournament that included several players with internationally-recognised rankings. The growing popularity of Cuppers suggests an increasing depth in Oxford’s chess playing talent, which bodes well for March’s Varsity match.