CUJC faced a very stiff opposition from Oxford this year, but still managed to come away with the women’s trophy.
Varsity Women’s Team with the coaches 2016
First on the mat were the City team. In a break from tradition, the fights this year were fought from lightest to heaviest. The first two fights went one apiece – Dean was caught on a lovely uchi-mata, while Giovanni came out with quick feet and attacking judo to get a win with two o-goshis. Unfortunately, Oxford then pulled away with the match. Zhixu lasted a good couple of minutes before being caught by a drop seoi-nage, Chris McGee was on the receiving end of a big uchi-mata, and Nick drew his match out for the full gruelling 5 minutes, eventually losing by waza-ari scored on a drop seoi-nage. This left Oxford 4-1 ahead, with Cambridge only able to win if the remaining three matches were won by ippon. Lee came out all guns blazing and dominated the gripping in his fight, eventually putting his opponent away with a tai-otoshi. The team’s Captain, Greg, unsettled his opponent with his footsweeps before scoring two waza-aris from a left- and right-handed uchi-mata to win the fight, leaving the scores at 4-3. Finally, Emily faced a formidable opponent in Jordan Doherty, and was unfortunately caught with a well-timed tai-otoshi not very far into the fight, leaving Oxford with the City trophy for the first time in several years. Greg Viney, City captain, said “I’m a very proud captain. Well done everyone for the hard work in training and tremendous judo spirit. Next year we shall take the trophy back!”
Next on were the men’s B team. Due to last-minute pullouts we were only able to field a team of 6 players, so they faced an uphill struggle from the outset. Ben came out attacking well, but an ill-timed ouchi-gari left him countered with a massive ura-nage for ippon. Next on was Max, who scored a yuko with an osoto-gari, then displayed good tactical awareness in keeping the fight on the ground when it suited him. Unfortunately, in the closing minute of the match his opponent caught him with a drop seoinage, leaving Oxford 2-0 ahead. Matt started working his grips but was soon caught on a heavy osoto-makikomi, while Jeremy faced a much taller opponent who pulled off a slick tai-otoshi early on in their match. Finally, both Lamberd and Jack fought amazingly against much more experienced opponents: Lamberd kept moving and unsettling his opponent, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a strong o-goshi, while Jack was transitioning smoothly and threatening strangles on the ground before being caught with a tani-otoshi. Unfortunately this left Oxford with a 7-0 clean sheet, including the bye, but considering the grade differences some of our players had to deal with, they fought exceptionally well, and should be proud of what they did.
Ready to defend the women’s trophy for another year, Jenny opened with a drawn-out fight between two very well-matched opponents. Jenny got the scoring going by pinning for ippon with a reverse sangaku at the end of a close-fought match. Rachelle started well with an ouchi-gari for a waza-ari, then transitioned into a pin. Unfortunately her opponent escaped but, undeterred, Rachelle caught her again with a makikomi and pinned her for another waza-ari, to bring Cambridge ahead to 2-0. Next on was women’s captain Suvi – unfortunately she was put in a pin and sensibly tapped out to save her previously-injured shoulder. Marine, our president, then took the field, taking her opponent back with a tani-otoshi for ippon and securing the women’s trophy for another year. Finally, Maddie was up against a familiar opponent (who she had faced in competition just a week previously). Unfortunately she was caught with a counter into a pin from which she was unable to escape, leaving the final score 3-2 to Cambridge.
Last on the mat were the men’s A team. As is traditional, they faced a significant weight disadvantage, with several fighters giving up as much as 12kg to their opponents. First on was François, fighting an experienced opponent, who caught him twice with sumi-gaeshi. Next up, Josh kept Peter Miles at bay for a solid 2 minutes, and even managed to stumble him a couple of times, but eventually succumbed to a pair of well-timed tai-otoshis. Patrick’s determination not to be caught by a dropping seoinage led him to change grips to avoid Will Johnson’s right seoi-nage, and moved him straight on to a left one… Harry and Andrea had tied exactly for weight, and Harry was declared the lighter following a game of rock-paper-scissors, so he took to the mat next; facing a much heavier opponent, he was also thrown with a drop seoinage for ippon. Next was Andrea, facing the Oxford captain Gregor Cremosnik, who took ippon with a a powerful ko-uchi-makikomi. Alex came out attacking, repeatedly working his osoto-gari against a more defensive opponent. Unfortunately, one of these was countered with a handwheel into a pin from which Alex was unable to escape. Last on, Yuki faced a much physically bigger opponent who managed to control both of his sleeves effectively to stifle his attacks, and eventually caught him with a dropping seoi-nage.
All in all, this was a tough year! But everyone who fought showed great spirit and determination, and there was some really good judo from both teams. Massive congratulations are due to the women’s team for winning their trophy for yet another year, and I hope that everyone else was either happy with the way they fought or has figured out what they need to work on in order to win next year.