Cambridge went into the 83rd Rugby Fives Varsity match as favourites following wins in the last two years and strong results throughout this season. The match started with the top four players from each side playing one game of singles to fifteen points against their opposite number.
In the first match, captain Ed Kay eased to a 15-4 victory against Oxford’s no. 1 player. At no. 2, Jacob Brubert, playing in his 4th varsity match, showed superior fitness and consistency against Oxford’s Francis Thomas and won comfortably 15-6. The third and fourth seeds were much closer with Jack Malde giving a strong performance but narrowly losing to the Oxford captain 16-14. James Lane produced a powerful display at no.4 and won 15-13. This meant that Cambridge had opened up a twenty point lead with the score at lunchtime 59-39.
After lunch, all eight players were in action with four doubles pairs playing 4 games to fifteen points each. Cambridge’s first pair and current BUCS doubles champions, Kay and Brubert did not have their best game but still managed to see off Oxford’s 1st pair 15-6 15-12. They then improved their performance to comfortably beat Oxford’s no. 2 doubles pair. Lane and Malde showed a few nerves in their first match and lost 15-0 15-10 to Oxford’s 2nd pair but raised their performance to win 10-15 15-9 by a slim one point margin in their next.
Cambridge’s 3rd pair of Tom Chase and Will Sloper produced a dominant and hard hitting performance against their Oxford counterparts to win 16-4 15-8. Chase and Sloper then dominated their next match 15-1 15-2. At no. 4, the in-form pair of Jacob Ader and Peter Judge showed their class by winning 15-1 15-3 but narrowly lost to Oxford’s 3rd pair.
The final result was a win for Cambridge by 265 points to 176. The last time Cambridge secured a hat-trick of Varsity victories was 1992 and this showed the class and dedication of the current squad.
In the Sparrows v Beavers match, captain Rob Mathias, playing in his 1st Varsity match, led his team to a 131-96 point victory. Matt Chipping and Mathias produced strong displays in both singles and doubles matches to secure maximum points. Wilson Lau and Ben Quarry played well but unfortunately lost all four doubles matches. It should be noted that Quarry claimed his first ever competitive singles win by beating Oxford’s no. 12 player 15-1.
This has been a superb season for the Rugby Fives club, winning multiple trophies and showing exceptional commitment. This year is the end of an era for Varsity Fives as next year Cambridge will have its own courts. Since 1995, the club has to train and play all matches at Oundle school, which is an hour’s drive away.
Starting next year the club will be playing on new courts in the sports centre at the West Cambridge site. All these bode well for an era of dominance for CURFC.