2012 Varsity Match, 11th March, at Oxford Town Hall
2012 Varsity Team
The 82nd Judo Varsity Match was held in the prestigious venue of Oxford Town Hall. The Cambridge women went into the match defending the sake bowl trophy, while the men’s A, men’s B and city teams were all looking to avenge narrow losses at last year’s event.
City team: Oxford 3 – 5 Cambridge
Opening the match for Cambridge was Matt Ives. Despite conceding some early shidos, he threw his opponent for ippon with uchi mata to bring his 2012 record to an impressive eleven wins and zero losses. Next up was Cambridge veteran Norbi Gróf, who made short work of his opponent, throwing him for ippon with kosoto gake. Wins by pin followed from Portuguese sensation André Martins and team captain Chris ‘Charisma’ Coward, to make the score 0-4. Momentum swung Oxford’s way as Graham Belcher and Doug Heller were both beaten, bringing the score to 2-4. In one of the day’s best fights, Chris McGee then came out attacking against a Commonwealth medallist. Despite giving it everything, the Oxford player’s experience eventually told as he managed to throw Chris for ippon. This left all the pressure on Ndollo Eboumbou in her first varsity match. She delivered with an armbar, to secure the trophy for Cambridge.
2012 City Team
Men’s B team: Oxford 3 – 4 Cambridge
Following on from the city team’s win, the B team secured a second trophy for Cambridge with a narrow victory against a significantly heavier Oxford line up. CUJC beginners Joshua Falconer-Roberts and Connor Tann fought first. Joshua was unlucky to be thrown for ippon by an Oxford beginner with a huge weight advantage, while Connor found himself up against a taller, stronger and more experienced player and was also thrown for ippon. Andrew Tam came out attacking, looking to pull a win back for Cambridge. No sooner had he registered a yuko through his favourite drop-seoi nage technique, than his opponent was disqualified for a brief leg grab, making the score 2-1. Team captain Alec Barns-Graham was next up, and had a tough fight that went the whole five minutes. Despite seeming to throw many more convincing attacks than his opponent, he received two shidos and lost by a yuko. Liang Wu swiftly pulled an ippon back, by countering osoto gari with osoto gari, to leave the score at two ippons apiece and one yuko to Oxford. In the final fight Rob Blackburn registered an early yuko with a sumi gaeshi, but was unable to score further, as the fight went the distance. This left the teams tied on two ippons and one yuko each. Joshua’s fight was chosen at random to be refought, and under immense pressure he delivered a textbook kosoto gari for ippon to take the trophy for Cambridge.
2012 Men’s B-team
Women’s team: Oxford 4 – 0 Cambridge
A weakened women’s squad this year found themselves up against a vastly more experienced Oxford team. Anna Baxter put up a good standing performance, but the fight went to the ground and her opponent was able to work her into a pin. Team captain Megan Sorenesen fought next – she held her own for the first half of the fast-paced contest, but was unfortunately thrown for ippon later in the fight. CUJC newcomer Rebecca Senior was then caught with a well executed hip throw by Rebecca Bayliss, Oxford captain and Commonwealth medallist, making the score 3-0. With the match already gone to the opposition, Rachel Moore put in one of the day’s best performances against Oxford’s Australian International. Despite numerous attacks by both parties, no scores were registered as the exhausting contest went the distance and ended in a draw. Concluding the match was the team’s second newcomer, Ceri Jones, who fought well but was unable to escape from her opponent’s pin. Despite the disappointing scoreline, four out of five of this team have another year at Cambridge, and will be hungry for revenge. In coming years Oxford will be unlikely to enjoy the same dominance of the sake bowl as we’ve seen over the last decade.
Men’s A team: Oxford 6 – 2 Cambridge
This was another tough year for the men’s A team as they found themselves again out-weighted by their opposition. Opening the day’s final match, Gregory Racz was disqualified for an unintentional shoulder lock as he twisted to escape a strangle. Ex-captain Kane Chandler then looked in control against his heavier opponent, but was judged to have committed a subjectively illegal leg grab and was also disqualified. Ed Taylor fought bravely against Oxford’s captain, Max Denning, and escaped well from an armlock, but was later countered for ippon to bring the score to 3-0. With momentum going Oxford’s way, team captain Toby Schmidutz dug deep to come back from a waza-ari down, and pinned his opponent for ippon. Unfortunately momentum swung away from Cambridge again as Vlad Crisan’s attempted drop-seoi nage was blocked, and he was worked into a pin. In a fast-paced evenly-matched encounter Marton Farkas held his own for most of the fight, but towards the end the Oxford player managed to get in for a kouchi gake and throw him for ippon. This made the score 5-1 with two contests remaining, and handed the trophy to the opposition. Despite this, Cambridge’s remaining fighters refused to roll over. Dave Saxton started well and looked strong against a fast Oxford player. He was unlucky to have his pin broken, and was later caught with two waza-aris for ippon. Finally Jesse Olszynko-Gryn rescued some pride for Cambridge as he caught his opponent with a skillful hip-throw. This has been something of a transitional year for the Cambridge men’s squad, and despite the defeat there were some encouraging perfomances. There is good reason to be optimistic for the future.
With honours split 50/50 at the end of the four matches, there is everything to play for next year. All four Cambridge teams fought incredibly well. They should be proud of the dedication that they have shown to training and of their accomplishments on the day.
Rob Blackburn – President