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 email@example.com.
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!