I 19 www.sport.ox.ac.ukIn terms of fixtures, the results have been a mixed bag. We got off to a flyer with wins against Harrow and Eton (it seems the former have undergone a revival since the departure of James Batting) but faltered a little against the older players, suffering heavy defeats at the hands of the North Oxford Fives Club. The University Championships is the most important tournament aside from the Varsity Match, and I am frustrated to report that for the second year running Oxford lost in the final to a talented, albeit fortuitous, Cambridge pair. Rex Worth and Balrik Kailey fought to the end but were eventually undone by the monotonous, error-free opposition. Despite this setback, hopes were high for the Varsity Match. With the morale issues of the previous season firmly behind us, we felt confident about our side with debutant Conrad Ryan bolstering the 1st VI. The match was one of the closest in years and Oxford went down 2-1 in both the 1st and 2nd VI. The post-match dinner was a lovely evening; Eton College's hospitality was excellent and thanks must go to Mark Williams and Gareth Hoskins for helping organise the day.All in all last season was great fun, and looking at the strength and depth of next year's squad, I have high hopes for the Varsity Match 2011.FENCINGThe Oxford fencing beginners went to Cambridge to compete in the second ever novice Varsity Match, but sadly lacked the same aggression as Cambridge and so did not bring home the trophy. This occasion also marked the graduation of our excellent beginners' coach Chris Jones. Because of this, the Club ran a Level 1 coaching course for Club members and local fencers, with 12 people emerging as able beginners' coaches. The new academic year started strongly, with large numbers of new members attending these sessions (a record 90 turned up to the taster session!). This strength continues and we hope to win the novice Varsity Match for the first time in 2010-11.The Squad has continued to be in the capable hands of our coach Tomek Walicki and has finished the year strongly, with both teams making it to the BUCS semi-finals. At the BUCS Individual Championships the Club has also been successful, with Mathew Shearman winning the Men's Foil, Dominic Kerr coming second in the Men's Sabre with Alex Crutchett sixth, Boris Davis finishing seventh in Men's Epee, and Stephanie Pambakian coming seventh in Women's Sabre. The Men's seconds team is also going strong, and for the first time a Women's seconds team has been fencing in the BUCS league and is currently ranked as the third second team in the country, which is a fantastic result for a new team and their Captain Rachel Gregory. FOOTBALLThe 2009-10 season was another successful one for OUAFC, with the Men's Blues winning a dramatic 126th Varsity Match 5-3 on penalties against their Light Blue rivals. The Blues trailed for most of the match 1-0, after a penalty was awarded to Cambridge for a tug on Cambridge striker Matthew Stock. However, as the match drew to a close and entered its final minutes, up stepped mercurial Oxford midfielder James Kelly to curl a beautiful free kick around the Cambridge wall and into the bottom left corner of the net. With the teams deadlocked at 1-1 throughout extra time, a clinically executed set of penalty kicks from Oxford clinched the C B Fry trophy for Captain Leon Farr's team. Meanwhile, the Women's Blues were unfortunate to lose their Varsity Match 1-0 against a strong Cambridge outfit, but the Furies were victorious in a thrilling 3-2 encounter against the Cambridge Falcons. In BUCS the Women's Blues were relegated to the Midlands 2B League after a disappointing campaign. The Blues were often unable to recreate the form which led them to victory in the BUCS Knockout Cup, in which they beat many of the sides who had earlier thwarted them in league fixtures. In the Men's, the Blues were unlucky not to take the league title after drawing 0-0 in a final-day league-decider against Nottingham Trent, ensuring that the holy grail of BUCS Premier League action continues to remain out of reach. In the fiercely contested JCR Premier League, Christ Church became champions with a fine total of 11 wins from only 16 games, with only one defeat all season. Missing out by a single point were St Catz, who remain a strong force in College football. In the First Division, Worcester ran away with the League Title after winning 16 of their 18 matches, without drawing a single game. With promotion to the top tier of a new, four-league college structure, Worcester will believe they are back where they belong. Meanwhile, Second Division Lincoln were the shock winners of Cuppers, thrashing Premier-League heavyweights St. Catz 4-0. Time will tell whether the loss of Blues players Alex Biggs and Matthew Flood will have an adverse effect on the side this year as they move into the newly formed First Division. Finally, Hertford College will aim to improve on their tally of zero points last season - a run of 14 consecutive losses which saw them concede 68 goals! It is an unfortunate record which left Hertford rooted to the foot of the JCR basement division, languishing on goal difference behind OXILP, who pulled out of the league without having played a single fixture.GAELIC GAMESThis year has proved very successful in recruiting new members to Gaelic games in Oxford, seeing a large increase in the popularity of hurling, camogie and football. This has allowed the structuring of regular training sessions, resulting in much stronger performances by all teams in OUGAA.The Men's Football Team continues to be strong, building on their Varsity victory last year. The Gaelic footballers reached the semi-final of the British University Championship,
20 I OXFORD UNIVERSITY I SPORTS REVIEW 2010 which is a great achievement for Gaelic games in Oxford. The Varsity Gaelic Football Match was won by Oxford and saw a great display of teamwork and skill, representative of the hard work the players have contributed this year. The Women's side continued to improve this year and has also had success in recruiting new members. A closely fought Varsity Match led to Oxford winning by a single point.The camogie team were able to complete the Varsity double for the Women this year. The Women's side competed in the Birmingham tournament held on 20th March and, boosted by committed new members, played in the John Mitchells tournament and got through to the final. For many this tournament was their first match and all played with skills and quality beyond their experience; a great achievement for beginners to the sport.In the Men's hurling side great dedication shown in training has enabled the team to enter tournaments, something that has not been possible in recent years. The hurlers took part in the seven-a-side Birmingham tournament on the 19th May, which allowed all players to gain more experience and match practice. This showed at the Varsity Match, where Cambridge was challenged significantly more than last year. Unfortunately the hurlers were not able to complete the grand slam, allowing Cambridge to take one of the four Gaelic Varsity Matches this year.Despite the successes of the Club it continues to run with minimal resources, with the hurlers short of hurleys and helmets, and all teams short of kit. Sponsorship remains a major target for the Club; investments would allow purchase of new equipment for all divisions, further improving the quality of Gaelic sports in Oxford.GLIDINGThe last year has been another successful one for the Gliding Club. Flying was mostly focused on the weekends, but there was also a lot of activity during midweek and additionally during expeditions (notably the expedition to Portmoak in Scotland in April 2009, when the Club gliders were airborne for almost 25 hours). Furthermore the Club members took part in the Bicester Regionals as well as in the Club and Junior Nationals. In those completions the Club pilots came repeatedly within the top ten of the daily scores.As an overall mark for the performance of the Club it is noteworthy that in the previous year there were two pilots going solo for the first time, and one gained the silver badge, as well as a diamond. This year looks promising and the Gliding Club will push the mark even higher in the coming year.GOLF WOMEN'SAnother challenging year for Oxford Ladies' golf! We started the season with only one new player, but have developed enthusiasm and momentum throughout the year, largely through changing the coaching structure for the Ladies. This year we had lessons with a local pro at the floodlit driving range in Oxford, which allowed a more flexible schedule in the depth of winter.Various new matches were set up this year, including fixtures at Royal Cinque Ports, Burnham and Berrow. The opportunity to play at more seaside-based clubs was a great bonus in our preparation for the Varsity Match, to be held at Royal Porthcawl at the end of Hilary term. As ever, we were well-matched against our hosting Ladies, and relished the regular battles on some of England's finest courses.At the Varsity Match, held at Royal Porthcawl in Wales on 16th March, Oxford fought hard against Cambridge, who were stronger on paper. The foursomes in the morning were won by Cambridge two points to one, with the Oxford point coming from the Captain and Secretary combination, Gillian Kinnear and Alex Walvis. The afternoon singles match play involved a great deal of tactics and determination from all the Oxford team. Gillian Kinnear and Min-Yee Tseu won their matches very convincingly, which helped to build Oxford's confidence. In the remaining four matches, only Alex Walvis managed to achieve a half point, with the other ladies losing in the final holes, making the overall score for the Ladies' Varsity Match 5.5-3.5 to the Light Blues. The Varsity Match showed the team that Cambridge is indeed beatable and has given us even more enthusiasm for next year.GOLF MEN'SOxford University Golf Club has enjoyed a very successful year. Under the guidance of a new coach the Blues side has gone from strength to strength, enjoying one of its most successful seasons in recent history. The Blues team does not compete in BUCS, as it receives invitations for matches from some of the top Golf Clubs around England and Wales. The Blues managed to record 17 wins, two halves, and six losses throughout the season. This is a fantastic record, mainly against experienced top amateurs around the country, and represents a massive improvement from the 30% win ratio the year before.The match that matters far more than any other took place against Cambridge University at Royal Porthcawl in late March. The result was a strong 9-6 victory for Oxford, looking in command throughout the match and unlucky not to win by more. The second team, the Divots, enjoyed a good year, though they were unlucky to lose their match against a very strong Cambridge second team. The Ladies significantly improved this year, pushing Cambridge all the way having been heavily beaten the year before.The Club has started a grass-roots initiative, which subsidizes and gets together those who wish to take up the game whilst at University. We are looking to publicise and expand the Golf Club much more next year to get more people involved, and set up a social golf section for those wishing to play together but not compete in one of our teams. Last year we also renovated our website (www.ougc.com).GYMNASTICSThe academic year 2009-10 didn't get off to the most auspicious of starts for the Gymnastics Club, as the decision of our newly instated President not to return to Oxford meant we had to quickly draft in a new committee member, and various financial complications caused setbacks. However, this was quickly turned around thanks to the hard work of an excellent committee and the aid of Old Members of the Club.