On the 9th of March, CUJC travelled up to compete against Oxford in the annual Varsity match, and came away with 3 of the 4 trophies at stake.
Varsity Team 2014
After an early start and an uneventful coach journey, the first on the mat were the city team. Greg Viney opened the day in style, catching his larger opponent with ouchi-gari and finishing with a kesagatame. Sam Richie, kindly filling in from the Comberton club, put up a spirited fight but unfortunately got caught with an ouchi-gari himself, leveling the scores again. Jamie Sutherland then showcased some nice judo (and a little bit of BJJ too) to win by waza-ari awasete ippon from two footsweeps, while Javier completely outclassed his opponent, winning with an incredibly rapid seoinage. Lee Beamiss, City Captain, saw off a skilled and spirited opponent with a strong osoto-makikomi, and then Jonathan Toner sealed the victory for the City team with an uchi-mata and a pin. Matt Jayne then faced a much smaller opponent, and despite a long and even fight full of attacking judo, he overextended himself while going for a footsweep and was countered. Last up, Emily Ross had a tough introduction to Varsity judo: her experienced opponent never really gave her an opportunity to get started, attacking with hanai-goshi and following up with kesagatame. Overall, this left the City team 5-3 up and once again in possession of the City trophy—well done to all who fought, yet another successful year for Cambridge’s superb city team.
Next up were the Men’s B team. Once again, Oxford failed to bring a team; with only 2 actual students on their side, we had won the trophy by default, but our team took to the mat anyway to show them just how much we deserved it. Eduardo faced a low-graded but very highly-skilled player, but disposed of him nicely with a big osoto-gari for ippon. Despite an injury sustained at BUCS, Will Kaufhold faced a strong opponent who eventually tapped to Will’s armbar. Alec Barns-Graham then pulled off a blistering display of judo, gripping up and immediately throwing for ippon, while Andrew Tam surprised and amazed everyone by doing the same not with seoi-nage but with osoto-gari! Rob Blackburn carried on our winning streak with a neat transition into a rolling strangle. Charlie Whittaker, too, wasted no time with his fight and immediately threw for ippon with yet another osoto-gari. This just left the captain, Ed Almond, to complete the whitewash with a de-ashi-barai. All in all, this was a truly impressive performance from every one of our players, with a great many of them showing strong potential for being on the A team next year.
The women’s team then took to the mat—Oxford only fielded 3 students out of the team of 5, so 2 of the fights were demonstration fights against Oxford city players. First on was Madeline Ang, the women’s captain, who despite a promising start was unfortunately pinned by a city player after a drop seoi-nage. Marine Dupoiron, fighting a student, continued the excellence of her performance at BUCS to win with ippon from a harai-goshi. Janna Klein, facing a much smaller opponent, demolished them with an osoto-makikomi. Sophie Reed (who was fighting competitively for the first time) had a long fight which eventually went her way with, in her own words, “an inspired application of panic”. Finally, Trisha was thrown for ippon by Oxford’s other city player—counting byes for the missing players, this left Cambridge with another whitewash!
Finally, the Men’s A team took to the mat. Having suffered a 6-1 defeat last year, they were out for revenge: Greg Racz, having dusted off his judogi, scored a lovely ippon with tomoe-nage, while captain Lawrence Rowles threw with a nice drop seoi-nage to put Cambridge 2-0 clear. Next up was Hiro Kokudai, who was caught with a harai-goshi, and Patrick Loiseau who despite a promising start and lots of attacking judo had his ouchi-gari countered to level the scores at 2-2. Unfortunately the next two fights also went Oxford’s way: Rio Xin was caught by an osoto-makikomi by a much taller opponent, while Josh Hunt fell afoul of the uchi-mata of an opponent who was taller still. Last up, Patrick Killoran fought Oxford’s captain, and after a nail-biting referee’s decision came out on top, winning by ippon from his sutemi-waza. This left the men’s A team 4-3 down, so the trophy once again went to Oxford—however, the quality of judo was far higher than last year, and it could easily have gone Cambridge’s way, so with any luck we’ll be back next year to claim this one too…
Overall, it was a day of very impressive judo across the board, with everyone giving it their very best. We had a wide range of experience levels across the teams, from people who have done judo almost all their life to people who had never entered a competition before, and the hard work that everyone put into training all year round was really evident. Congratulations to all!
Josh Hunt – President