Cambridge defeated Oxford 4-0 and Cambridge Ladies defeated Oxford Ladies 4-3 in the 99th Varsity Match held under the burgee of the Royal Southern YC, Hamble on 28-30 June 2016. The match took place in fairly windy conditions, with racing being abandoned after three races on the Wednesday. Originally planned to take place in SB20’s, a switch was made to Squibs at the last moment, and they proved better suited to the conditions.
The main event team racing was somewhat predictable. The powerful BUSA-winning trio of Gratton, Gilmore, and Eames were too strong for the Oxford first strings. The difference was also marked in the contest between the Oxford second strings and the BUSA-fourth-placed pair of Pinder and Ormond, plus Sloper who replaced the third BUSA helm Anna Prescott (Anna was helming for the Ladies). So the Cambridge machine powered away relentlessly to win the Yule Oldham Cup for the fourth year in succession.
The Ladies match was entirely different, with Oxford determined to maintain their dominance of six wins in the last seven years, and the two-boats-a-side format providing a good many very exciting mark roundings and finishes. Oxford took first blood, then Cambridge levelled – and the contest continued in this fashion until the deciding seventh race. In this final race the Cambridge duo of Tilley and Prescott pulled out the stops and established a commanding 1, 2 lead on the first beat. They held this to the finish and so took joyful possession of the O&CSS 75th Anniversary Ladies Salver – though Oxford came within a whisker of splitting the combination at the final (leeward) mark.
The event concluded with the usual very convivial dinner, and it was encouraging to see a good sprinkling of alumni present. A big thank-you to Royal Southern for the very willing way they supported the event, both on and off the water. As well as running the racing very smoothly, accommodation was found with club members for all students and umpires. A big thank-you also to the umpires for their excellent work over the two days of tough racing – and to the Portsmouth Sail Training Trust (opens in a new window) and John Gillard for making their four Squibs available and obtaining the remaining two boats at such short notice.
Cambridge: (1st helm, 2nd helm, crew)
Tim Gratton (St Catharines – Capt), James Pinder (Robinson), Paris Thomas (Magdalene)
Robbie Gilmore (Magdalene), Bryan Ormond (Pembroke), Jamie Webb (Caius)
Chris Eames (Selwyn), Hugo Sloper (Selwyn), George Hopes (Corpus Christi)
Oxford: (1st helm, 2nd helm, crew)
Joe Gough (Corpus Christi), Matthew Haji-Michael (St Benet’s), Lazar Liebenberg (New)
Sam Jenkins (Brasenose – Capt), Bryn Phillips (Hertford), Matthew Ely (Brasenose)
Josh Bell (Corpus Christi), Penny Wieser (Worcester), Jonny Taylor (University)
Cambridge Ladies: (helm, crew, crew)
Rachel Tilley (Christs – Capt), Daisy Baxter (Trinity Hall), Chloe Macaulay (Clare)
Anna Prescott (Magdalene), Cat Wallace (Emmanuel), Hannah Bibby (Christs)
Oxford Ladies: (helm, crew, crew)
Penny Wieser (Worcester – Capt), Kate Cole (Regent’s Park), Rowena Conway (St Edmund Hall)
Phoebe Noble (New), Anne-Laure Villa (Trinity), Mimi Prickett (Trinity)
Event Team: Peter Aitkin (PRO), Chris Mansfield (Commodore), Henry Rochford (ARO), Colin Hall, Henry Rochford (RSYC Sailing Officer), Lisa Rochford (Accommodation), Jonny Taylor (OUYC Match Organiser), Tim Gratton (CUCrC Squib Organiser)
Umpires: Bruce Hebbert, Ed Fryer, Nick Rusbridge
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