The 8am coach proved too early for this reporter, but through the careful collation of eye witness accounts, meteorological data and electronic timings, OUAC is able to bring you the most realistic account of the events of November 5th ever seen. On the scale of ‘Blue Planet II’, but with more legs, welcome, to ‘Walking with Athletes’.
A 20-tonne coach screeched to a halt in the parking lot of Wilberforce Road track, Cambridge. The lesser-spotted Cambridge shrew, a timid beast native to the wetlands of East Anglia, looked on from afar. 42 elite Oxford stallions disembarked to be greeted by a brisk 12mph North-Westerly wind, common to Cambridge. The sprinters were happy. Robbie Brown, with four-and-a-half thousand metres to run, half of that into the aforementioned wind, did not share in their delight, “******* tabland.” The men’s and women’s teams were both here with a clear objective: to continue the legacy of Oxford University’s Club of the Year performance in 2016-17, and keep the nilling going through 2017/18. However, things were not to be so easy.
Julian Manieson hammered home the men’s 100m – Oxford looking strong. The same success was not enjoyed in the women’s 100m – work still to be done. Better news in the 200m with Sophie Haldane putting in an impressive win to send 4 points Oxford’s way.
Robbie Brown, having cheered up following a smashed 3km run, was back to his usual dour self, anticipating the 1500m. It proved too much for him, but Eleanor Bolton pounded round the peculiar 3 3/4 laps, taking a needed track victory for the women. Oxford then went on to secure a 1, 2 finish in the men’s 800m. Excellent work from the Dark Blues in the middle distance, and a glimpse of the extraordinary depth OUAC has in this department.
The field, however, proved a strong area for Oxford. Beth Carter netted an outstanding hat-trick in the throws, destroying the field in all senses of the term. The OUAC President breathed a sigh of relief this wasn’t the Iffley Road turf taking such a battering. In the jumps, Jude Bright-Davies secured his triple jump blues standard off a three-stride run up… an obscenely springy bloke. Special mention must go to decathlete Leif van Grinsven for competing in six individual events, winning three and placing second in two, undoubtedly the largest personal points haul of the day (if Leif were an Oxbridge University, he would’ve come third in the medals table – astonishing).
Up last, the relays. These are always an interesting feature of Freshers’ Varsity but, amazingly, both batons completed their journey round the track in all four instances. Cambridge took the majority of the spoils, with Oxford winning just the men’s 4x400m. Alex Howard was fortunately several thousand kilometres away from the tannoy this year, saving any *accidental* gaffes…
Results: Men’s match to Oxford (105-83), Women’s match to Cambridge (108-81).
The dream of a double-decima whisked away by the Cambridge wind; goals must now be reset. An overall Varsity victory very much on the cards, the prospect of an indoor biennial octavo and a renewed drive into FEAR and through to the Summer. Things may be level now but you’d certainly back Oxford to have the harder kick.