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University Women’s Varsity Report 2023

This year’s Varsity competition saw an excellent display of women’s judo. The University Women’s A Team was very strong, consisting of Sarah Spencer (1st Kyu), Fiona Gibbs (2nd Kyu), Roksana Dutkiewicz (1st Dan) and Robyn Irwin (1st Kyu). Unfortunately I was unable to compete due to a shoulder injury that I had sustained at BUCS a fortnight prior to Varsity, but despite being a woman down the team comfortably won the competition. Sarah won the first bout with a well-executed drop morote seoi-nage, scoring ippon, before Roksana won the second fight by ippon using a lovely o-uchi-gake. Fiona was up next and threw for waza-ari with tani-otoshi before completing the ippon with a mune-gatame hold down. Roksana then had a second fight which didn’t count to the overall scores as it was Oxford’s ‘bye’ as Cambridge only had four fighters. However, Roksana still won it in style with a tani-otoshi waza-ari followed by a juji-gatame that gave her an ippon. The final bout saw Robyn fight hard against the Oxford Women’s Captain, but unfortunately Oxford clinched the win.

For the first time in the history of the competition both universities brought a University Women’s B Team, with the aim of encouraging participation from beginner judoka and supporting their development. The Cambridge University Women’s B Team consisted of four participants, Neha Abraham, Lily Ainslie, Lily Fisher and Amelia Brookes, all four of which began judo with the CUJC beginners’ course in Michaelmas 2022. Aside from the CUJC Beginners Competition in January 2023, these were their first competitive fights and they rose to the challenge admirably. Despite ultimately losing their fights, all four judoka showed some great skills and techniques during the competition. In particular, Amelia fought well in not one but two fights (due to numbers), scoring waza-ari in the second from a lovely drop seoi-nage, and Lily Fisher used a nice tani-otoshi to score waza-ari in her bout, narrowly missing out on winning when her hold down was broken by her opponent. Neha and Lily Ainslie also showed off the skills they had learnt since taking up the sport, with good gripping and intensity. I look forward to seeing all four of these judoka in competitions next year and inspiring the next round of CUJC beginners.

Overall, it was a brilliant competition and everyone involved fought hard and demonstrated the talent and friendship at the core of CUJC. It was great to retain the Women’s A trophy, and hopefully we can win back the Women’s B trophy from Oxford next year!

Cassia Taylor

CUJC University Women’s Captain 22/23

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