Varsity this year took place in Oxford on Saturday 22nd of February, on a cold but clear day.
Following a rather scrappy run around for the Alumni match, the Eagles came out strong into their match. It was a strong performance in the first half, but with Cambridge struggling to convert possession to goals. Nonetheless some strong defensive performances prevented Oxford from scoring either, leaving the score 0-0 at half time. In the second half Oxford exploited some match ups well and found their rhythm, the Eagles still struggled to utilise their possession effectively, and despite some strong performances on ground balls and aggressive defence ultimately lost out 6-1 to Oxford. Man of the match goes to goalie Tim Okabayashi for shutting down the Oxford shooters.
The Blues match was an intense affair, both teams putting in highly aggressive performances, and, according to CULC veteran Will Barrie, Cambridge playing some of the best team lacrosse he’s ever seen from CULC.
The first quarter was a little nervous from all involved, with both teams taking a little while to settle. Once we did it was clear that it was going to be a close match, Cambridge effectively shut down the Oxford offence, and whilst there were weaknesses to exploit in Oxford’s defence, Cambridge were struggling to retain possession consistently to exploit them. Oxford opened the scoring, with an unopposed alley dodge from a miscommunication sinking the ball in low. Immediately from the face off ably won by Leander Crocker, Cambridge struck back with a fast break leading to a goal for Monty Matson. This left the score at a quarter time at one all.
In the second quarter Cambridge started to find their feet a bit in offence, using some of the plays we had worked on to score two goals in quick succession, though we still struggled to retain the ball for long, and had far too many penalties, approximately 5 for every 1 penalty from Oxford. This sloppiness eventually told with a double man down resulting in a goal for Oxford. Score at half time 3-2 Cambridge.
The third quarter was again a little bit nervy for both teams, Oxford were visibly rattled having expected to walk over a team playing two divisions below them. The Cambridge defence kept up its incredible performance pretty much crippling the Oxford attack, aside from one unnecessary slide leading to a goal from Oxford’s main threat. Cambridge struck back later in the quarter with a goal for Sam Allen in a man up play but otherwise struggled to keep much of the ball, and to keep men on the pitch, with a 2 minute penalty for unnecessary roughness. Nevertheless going into the final quarter the score was 4-3 Cambridge.
In the final quarter Cambridge switched off a bit, particularly in the midfield, and the 75% possession Oxford had had all game finally began to tell, slides didn’t send and a lack of fresh legs allowed Oxford shots from far too close range. This slip in intensity let Oxford score 5 goals (I’m pretty sure the referees got the score wrong), and whilst Cambridge did get 1, it was too little to hold onto the match, with Oxford eventually winning 8-5 (9-5 according to the referees, but no one has been able to clarify which of the Oxford team scored). Some outstanding performances from Captain Jack Peacock and George English in defence. Man of the match went to Thomas Chalklen in goal.
General points from the match were, Cambridge gave away far too many penalties, and gave away possession far too easily, particularly in attack, there were too many attempts at “hero balls” rather than playing the sets we have used in the season that we know work. It may have been nerves but handling was quite sloppy in comparison to our usual and in comparison to Oxford. The post varsity dinner was a bit of a disappointment, due to the thoroughly unsportsmanlike behaviour of certain Oxford players, let us hope for a more civilised behaviour in the future.
The BUCS team of university players has had a strong start to the season, winning all 5 of their games so far, including a 20 – 0 win over Nottingham 4’s. Consistently strong performances have come from fresher Sam Allen with 15 goals from 5 games, Danny Cronin transitioned well from mixed, scoring a couple of hattricks and providing some pace in midfield, and fresher Angus McIntosh stepping up in defence and helping to produce 3 clean sheets.
The most challenging match this year was a tough game against Oxford Brookes in the Midlands Conference cup. A pre-match debacle involving a lack of suitable goalie kit led to a slightly delayed start, with a bare minimum of 10 players, and a first time goalie in the cage. Nerves and disorganisation did tell, with Cambridge conceding the first goal to a determined Brookes offence. The boys in (light) blue soon fought back, with well worked goals for Sam Allen and Ash Clark on either wing. A further wobble in defence led to a miscommunication and a deserved goal for Oxford Brookes. The second quarter brought with it more possession for Cambridge, with Brookes barely getting the ball over the halfway thanks in part to a strong, Cambridge ride. Though the team struggled to turn the possession into points, the unrelenting pressure of the green machine eventually paid off with another goal for Ash Clark. Going into the third quarter cavalry arrived in the form of a couple of other players, giving the team extra momentum. With this boost Cambridge turned the screw home, maintaining long possessions and ultimately scoring 3 goals thanks to some rockets from Sam Allen and a strong crease game from Ben Briggs giving us a strong lead going into the final quarter. The final quarter Brookes fought back, doing their level best to claw their way into the game, though they did eventually succeed in scoring, the Cambridge attack again proved too much for them, with two more goals for Ash Clark, and one for Vice-Captain Patrick Nevill sealing the game 9-3 to Cambridge.
The team has developed well over the course of the term, particularly the new freshers, with 11 freshers picking up a stick for the first time. Despite being new to the game the freshers have produced some fine performances, with 3 man of the match performances. Looking ahead, there are 3 matches this Lent, including our rearranged league decider against Lincoln, so its all to play for!
SEMLA 1st team:
The first team has had a tough season so far, our local league opposition providing the strongest opponents in the form of Welwyn and Hitchin. The regular league has also provided tough competition in the form of Spencer 2’s and Hillcroft 2’s in particular. The team has looked good at times, working very well together, but has been frustrated by a lack of conversion and a lack of discipline. Last Saturday’s narrow 9 – 6 defeat to Oxf*rd proved a prime example, with Cambridge dominating the groundball game and playing with high intensity, but struggling to convert possession into points. Nevertheless the improvement in the last term has been dramatic and the upcoming varsity match set to be a close affair.
Eagles (SEMLA 2nd team):
The Eagles have had a mixed start to the year, not winning any games, but still putting in some strong performances, particularly for the new debutants. Danny Cronin and Manu Ratnayake in particular are to be commended for their graceful runs upfield. Manu needs to be reminded however that as a goalie, running upfield is not always the best option and whilst his search for the elusive “coast to coast” is to be commended, dodging on poles proved a step too far! Returning Eagles players Simon Bleet and Ralph Knight have also proven that age, like blood pressure and heart rate, is just a number, one that only ever gets higher! Despite this both managed to play all three of the Eagles games so far and with only short breaks to serve penalties.
Varsity this year is on Saturday 22nd February, starting at 12:30pm at Oxford University Parks OX1 3RF. The light blues are hoping to regain the trophy after a disappointing few years, not helped by Oxf*rd’s recruitment of the first choice England pole in 2018. There is also an alumni match starting at 9:30am at the same venue, anyone looking to be involved should contact Will Barrie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sponsorship and fundraising:
CULC are pleased to announce our sponsor for the year is Cantab Asset Management. Cantab is a professional firm of independent discretionary investment managers and financial planners committed to providing an objective and comprehensive service to charities, trusts, family offices and private clients. The roots of the firm go back over thirty years in Cambridge and London.
Cantab has a graduate recruitment scheme and is looking for talented individuals who are highly literate, numerate, team players who wish to join a growing firm with high standards and first class service to clients.
Cantab has achieved outstanding investment performance with its Moderate and Balanced funds recording growth rates of 18.9% and 20.2% respectively for the 2019 calendar year. Cantab has recently launched the VT Cantab Sustainable Global Equity Fund to provide an ESG integrated fund for colleges and other institutions.
If you would like to make an enquiry, please contact email@example.com.
Looking ahead to next year CULC is looking to develop long term sponsorship opportunities to help reduce costs to the team. If anyone is interested in sponsoring us for the 20/21 season please contact Thomas Chalklen (firstname.lastname@example.org). Similarly for anyone who is in a position to make a one off or regular donation to help support the club, you can set up a direct debit or make a one off payment through our university giving page, any contribution is welcome.
The Thrilla in Manila. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 3. Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward III. Lebron vs. the Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals. Some of the most exciting sporting events are trilogies in which the opponents have been closely matched in their previous encounters, and with the anticipation building, the Oxbridge Allstars were hoping to put this series with the Israel Premier Lacrosse League Allstars (IPLL) up there as one of the great rubbermatches of all time.
Although Oxbridge found itself with only two subs, their love for the game dominated over any considerations of fatigue. Consequently, the day started with negotiations (led by Peter Scott) with the IPLL about playing a full game for the championship, instead of two 20 minute quarters (as the round robin games had been). Although the negotiations ultimately failed, the huge heart of the Allstars, and their eagerness to just play as much lacrosse as possible and to “grow the game” (at a pace at least as rapid as LeBron’s hairline from the ’15-‘16 season), was revealed by their passion and determination to just lax.
The championship match got off to a promising start as middie Ed Smith drew a slide and fed Matt Johnson on the crease for an early goal in the opening minutes. Unfortunately, IPLL then controlled the pace of the game for the following 38 minutes, with long possessions and the majority of the possession time. Oxbridge had a few good looks throughout the game that could have turned the momentum in their favor, with Pete Baddoo hitting a pipe toward the end of the first half, and attackman Tom Caniels creating some other good opportunities. Kav and Will had some big ground balls and clears, and midfielder Gabe Barrie continued the pace that had earned him the previous day’s man of the match honors, fighting for each faceoff. Midfielders Krin, Ed, and Seb played some critical defense, getting the better of their offensive midfield matchups, and making some critical plays on Oxbridge’s man down squad. Tim and Erwin continued to dominate their matchups, with a couple of strips each, and some crucial slides and heads up D, which saved Oxbridge during the occasional defensive breakdown. Peter Scott continued to eat up shots outside of 10 yards, and make pinpoint passes. Despite a performance full of heart and passion for the game, the Allstars simply weren’t able to control enough of the possession time to put themselves back in the game, and the Gentle Gentiles fell to the Israeli team 5-1.
In all, an impressive and memorable performance over the four days was put in by the Oxbridge Allstars. Despite the small numbers, the grueling tournament schedule in the Hungarian heat, and the hitting of the town nearly every night of the tour, the Allstars came together as a tight-knit team and played with everything they had all four days of the tournament, holding nothing back. Defensively, the Allstars were nearly impregnable, and dominant in settled play, with the vast majority of the goals coming in transition. Offensively, the Allstars quickly adapted to their teammates’ playing styles, and were able to create lots of opportunities. The team chemistry on and off the field bodes well for future tournaments, as the Allstars seek to reunite in one year’s time for more growing the game. Who will the next opponent be? Where in the world will the Allstars be? Why do British people call eggplants “aubergines,” and why was Peter Scott made to carry one around? Who is this mysterious girlfriend of Ed Smith’s, and does she really exist? Why does Matt Johnson spend so much time facedown on the ground during games? How far will Kav push the boundaries of fashion in the name of “edginess”? All these questions and more will be answered in one year’s time with the return of the Oxbridge Allstars. Stay tuned.
Highlight video of the Oxbridge Allstars by Erwin Lijklema
Player of the tournament: Matt Johnson
Goals, Gainz, Glory: Had in Abundance
White Flags: Unraised
Team Status: “In love, and always will be”
“This is the publication of the research of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that the actions of people shall not fade with time, so that the great and admirable achievements of both the Oxbridge Allstars and the IPLL shall not go unrenowned, and, among other things, to set forth the reasons why they cared to lax, bruh.”
-Herodotus, The Histories (trans. P. Rabil & J. Grant Jr.)
The final day of the round robin portion of the tournament began with national anthems. The national anthem of the Israel Premier Lacrosse League’s Allstar Team (IPLL) was played first: Israel’s poignant Hatikvah (concluding with the lines “Our hope is not yet lost/The hope two thousand years old/To be a free nation in our land/The land of Zion and Jerusalem”). Next it was Oxbridge’s turn for their national anthem to be played, but since the Oxbridge team was made up of a combination of British, American, Dutch, and one German player, the Allstars chose their own anthem; a song that in the words of Jack “Kav” Kavenaugh “isn’t a national anthem, but has a lot of meaning for our team.” Following the Israeli National Anthem being played over the speakers for the IPLL, the Oxbridge Allstars stood stoically (and sang along to) Dido’s “White Flag.” Indeed, the impassioned performance proved prescient, epitomizing the gritty determination and the “never say die” spirit with which the Allstars were to play the rest of the tournament.
In a scorching hot afternoon, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League Allstar Team (IPLL) and the Oxbridge Allstars faced off. As with the day before, IPLL was to draw first blood, with an early goal. At this point, you might think that with Oxbridge battered, beat-up, blistered, and bruised from two days of grueling play already, they could have let the early goal demoralize them and set the pace for the rest of the game, [and if you live by the rules of ‘it’s over,’ then I’m sure that that makes sense.] But it didn’t make sense to Oxbridge, who weren’t satisfied with taking a loss and with it the #2 seed. No! [They promised they weren’t trying to make their life harder, or return to where they were] as the #2 seed. Down 0-1, Oxbridge roared to life and put away two goals before the half, to take the halftime lead 2-1. IPLL then came back, in exactly the way that Drake’s exes don’t, taking a 3-2 lead late in the game. One of those IPLL goals came in transition, when Matt Johnson failed to find and recover to the open man quickly enough, which resulted in an easy goal for IPLL, and granted them the lead. Although Little Dragon feared that this mistake had [left too much mess and destruction for him to come back again,] he was heartened by the immediate forgiveness of his teammates, and on the next possession he responded with a goal of his own off of his signature move, the “Up-top sweep dodge into the crease slide, ending up facedown in the ground, and scoring” (a.k.a. the “concussion special”). IPLL managed to get one final goal in the closing minutes, to win 4-3.
Defensively, Oxbridge was rock solid, with IPLL goals coming mainly in transition, or off of the occasional outside shot with the goalie screened. Peter Scott made a number of highlight reel saves, and came out of the cage on occasion to acrobatically pick off passes.
A masterclass in grit and scrapping was put on by Gabe Barrie, who took the faceoffs for Oxbridge, against a much larger opponent. Gabe proved the faster man, winning a couple of the faceoffs cleanly, and when beaten by his opponent managed to strip him a couple of times, and when contested evenly dug in and scrapped for every ground ball. His determination to play the ball and not the man on every faceoff, and his perseverance in battling for every faceoff and going toe-to-toe despite the size disparity, and his refusal to [put his hands up and surrender], fighting with a heart even bigger than his massive opponent, won the hearts of his Oxbridge teammates, who, as a result of his faceoff performance, [were in love and always will be.] For his performance he won man of the match honors.
After the IPLL game, Cambridge was dealt a further blow to their numbers with the departure of Captain Tony “Liberty” Belviso, who had to leave so that we all could continue to enjoy our freedom. And also because the scriptwriters of Captain America 4 needed more material to base the next movie off of.
Not wanting to miss any possible opportunity to lax (but hoping for an opportunity to re-lax, if you will), that evening the Oxbridge Allstars scrimmaged a team made up of national team coaches (including former All-World team member, MLL and box legend, and current Dutch National Team coach, Neal Powless), lacrosse reporters from the Lacrosse AllStars, and lacrosse equipment reps, with the remaining positions being filled in with members of the Bulgarian team. Impressive performances were put in by Erwin, who was matched up against Neal Powless and held his own against the living lacrosse legend, and Peter Scott, with some massive saves against some fellow former D1 players. Dominant performances were put in by Krin and Seb at faceoff, although, to be fair, their opponent was ten years old (and it was his birthday).(Although to be doubly fair, Krin and Seb did a good job of graciously trying to let him win). The entire Oxbridge team ended up putting in a lights-out performance in the scrimmage, winning it 12-2. You can read more about the game here:
With solid play in the first three days of the tournament, the Allstars (uncharacteristically) turned in early, to get a full night’s rest before the championship match the next day. As they closed their bedroom doors and hit the hay, there was a distinct lack of any White Flags above their doors. They were going down with this ship, all the way to the ‘ship.
Man of the Match: Gabe Barrie
“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.”
Day 2 would prove to be the most grueling of the tournament, a day when heart and strength of will would be put to the test. With 3 games scheduled for that afternoon, at the hottest part of the day, and with the tournament favorites, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League Allstar team (IPLL), scheduled for the second match, the Allstars were determined to get off to a strong start, to set the tone for what was sure to be a long and challenging day. The Allstars pushed the pace in Game 1, against Croatia, winning 10-2. Goals were again evenly distributed among the team, with Pete Baddoo and midfielders Krin and Matt scoring off of dodges early to get the game rolling, and later goals from Gabe, Pieter, and Ed putting the final nail in the coffin. A particularly memorable goal came from Will “The Undertaker” Barrie off of his signature move the ‘run down the field, wind-up, hitch, and crank’ (a.k.a. the “Undertaker Will Barrie You”).
A defensive switch was made with D1 Brown goalie, Peter Scott (D1), who plays Division 1 (D1) lacrosse moving from attack to goalie, James Kavenaugh moving to close D, and Will Barrie moving to LSM. The defense was again tight, with clear communication led by the goalie and longpoles ensuring that only a couple of close in shots were given up, and Peter Scott scooping up the rest.
After an hour rest, the Allstars were up again to face IPLL. Despite IPLL dominating possession time, Oxbridge’s defense was solid, thanks to clear communication from the poles and solid coordination by Peter Scott (D1). IPLL tried to get shortie matchups from X, by inverting some of their attack and midfield, but the shorties did a good job of keeping the attackmen on the outside, and the close D slid early. Tim Sweere and Erwin again got the better of their matchups, picking the pockets of dodging midfielders to get Oxbridge possessions. Peter Scott shut down the shots from range, and Will Barrie again was a force to be reckoned with in the ground ball scrums and defensive clears. Oxbridge, despite having less possession time than IPLL, was able to capitalize on a few of their opportunities. After a scoreless first few minutes, IPLL drew first blood, but were answered by Oxbridge with the attack finding Seb cutting down for a quick goal. IPLL responded with two more goals, answered by a solo drive by Pete “Yabada” Baddoo. IPLL concluded by putting away one last late goal, to walk away with a 4-2 win.
Immediately following the IPLL game, Oxbridge was up again to face Bulgaria. The game got off to a low scoring start, with both teams at 0-0 at halftime. Bulgaria’s goalie made a number of key saves, and Bulgaria capitalized on Oxbridge’s fatigue and the Allstars experimenting with playing different positions, and had a few lucky goals off of loose balls in front of the crease. While the Allstars fought hard the whole game, scrapping for loose balls and trying to get their looks, the bruised, battered, but unbroken Allstars ultimately fell to Bulgaria 2-1 in a fiercely contested match.
Nevertheless, with the performance from the first few days the Allstars were guaranteed a seed in the tournament no lower than the #2 place, and had a second chance the next day to beat Israel’s team and reclaim the #1 seed.
A performance, worthy of the D1 athlete himself, was put on by Peter Scott, with key saves, tactical coordination of the defense, and vital pinpoint passes on his clears, which earned him Player of the Day honors.
The end of Day 2 also marked the departure of Dutch attackman Pieter, a large blow to the shorthanded Allstars (now at 13 players), who benefited greatly from Pieter’s dodges, clean passes to the open man, and field vision.
At 11 PM that night, things were quiet in the IPLL hallway, as they’d turned in and hit the lights off, to prepare for the rematch the next day, which would determine the seeding of the 1 and 2 spots for the final day of the tournament. Meanwhile, the Allstars were getting off of the train into the heart of Budapest, for an evening of late night revelry and dancing, and Yabada Baddoo accepting and completing the challenge to squat the Barrie twins for reps (see photo below). The Allstars returned to the dorms between 4 and 5 am, ready for a deep 7 hours of sleep, and eager to take on the IPLL in the highly anticipated rematch.
Player of the Day: Division 1, Peter “D1 Skeeter” Scott (D1)
“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations, winning the battle before it is fought. The general who loses the battle makes few calculations, losing the battle before the battle is fought.”
-Sun Zi, The Art of War
With the hot Hungarian heat bearing down upon the Oxbridge Allstars, Peter Scott addressed the freshly assembled legion of laxers to start the day with a chalk talk. These preparations before the tournament were critical for setting up a unified and solid defense, and an offense that could get the looks that it wanted. Although the Allstars knew that their toughest challenge would come the following day, when they were slated for their first encounter with the tournament favorites, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League Allstar team (IPLL), Oxbridge knew not to look past anyone, and to take the two games on the first day as a chance to set the tone for the rest of the tournament, and to iron out any wrinkles early.
The Oxbridge Allstars got off to a strong start on Day 1, with 12-1 and 7-1 victories over Bulgaria and Croatia, respectively. The All-stars controlled both games with the vast majority of the possession time, in large part due to midfielders Seb, Krin, and Ed dominating the face-offs. After the first day of play, the Allstars were revealed to be a well-rounded team with a lot of depth: the points were distributed evenly among the offensive players, with Seb, Krin, Ed, Matt, and Gabe putting up big points off of midfield dodges and attackman feeds, and attackmen Tom, Peter Scott, Tony, and Pieter putting up goals from quick passing and finding good looks. Attackman Pete Baddoo was huge (in all senses of the word): Baddoo was unstoppable from X, often bulldozing his way through multiple slides to get buckets off of his trademark ‘GLE behind the back fake to questionmark dodge’ (a.k.a the “Baddoo or Baddon’t, there is no try”). Yabada Baddoo, indeed.
Defensively, the Allstars proved a force to be reckoned with. The “Human Hoover,” Will Barrie, logged numerous critical ground balls, and takeaway specialists Tim Sweere and Erwin Lijklema shut down and stripped their matchups, resulting in numerous turnovers. The defensive effort was led by James Kavanagh, who critically orchestrated his defense: calibrating and calling out slides and cleanly clearing the ball. Kav showed up in big form, with some giant saves and frequently running the ball up the field himself, when it was clear the middies were gassed. Kav, during these self-clears, certainly earned his title as the “Fastest keeper in the northern hemisphere,” running roughly the same amount during each game as Floyd Mayweather Jr. does during his typical fight. His performance earned him player of the day honors, for which he was awarded pink fairy wings.
With two victories under their belts, and sitting at the top of the rankings, the Oxbridge Allstars grabbed a late dinner and headed to bed, knowing that the most grueling day was to follow: a tripleheader and their first encounter with the returning tournament champions, the IPLL.
Man of the Matches: James “Kav” Kavenaugh
College: Clare College
Subject: Natural Sciences (biological)
Position: Long Stick Midfield
Favourite song: Nina Simone – I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
Favourite post-training snack: Tinned tuna with olive oil and salt/pepper
Role model: My father, Chris Barrie
Honest varsity prediction: Cambridge to win 12-6
Personal Varsity aim/target: Score a goal and help win the majority of face-offs
Profile: Will is one of the youngest members of the squad, yet also one of the most experienced. Having been involved with England U17 and U19 squads before coming to Uni, and playing a starring role in winning the South Premiership league and FLAGS cup double with Spencer Lacrosse Club last year, it’s safe to say he’s one to watch at this years 100th Varsity match. Despite playing as a long-stick midfielder, traditionally a very defensive position, Will has been scoring goals for fun all season, a highlight being a hat-trick against Northampton Uni to help secure 1st place in our league. He’s also earned a reputation as a ‘hoover’ of ground balls, bringing the ball out of seemingly lost situations much to the surprise and frustration of many an opposition player. Facing up against his twin brother (currently playing for Oxford) in this years Varsity match, he will be sure to up his game for the big occasion with both the University and family bragging rights up for grabs. Needless to say Will will be a key player in both an offensive and defensive sense this year, and without a doubt in future Varsities to come.
College: St Catharine’s College
Subject: Natural Sciences
Favourite Song: November Rain – Guns n Roses
Favourite Post-Training snack: Marmite on toast
Role Model: David Beckham
Honest Varsity Prediction: 5-9 win Cambridge
Personal Varsity aim/target: Alongside the defence keep Oxford to under 8 goals.
Profile: Stu is the heart of the Cambridge team. His team talks, great communication in goal and steady temperament make him a brilliant leader on and off the pitch. He’s the guy working tirelessly behind the scenes to make the whole show work, and his background as a hockey goalkeeper make him a great natural sportsman: always good-natured but with a fierce desire to win.
In goal Stu plays with an old-school style – making lots of saves with the body and anticipating shot location well. Often it’s as if he knows where the attackers are going to shoot before even they know, and he’s there in position to make the saves. Stu has a habit of playing well in big games and is a major factor in the blues team’s success this season, making incredible saves again and again in close matches. I expect him to do exactly the same in varsity.
Name: Peter Baddoo
College: Jesus College
Subject: PhD Mathematics
Favourite song: Big Rings, Future & Drake
Favourite post training snack: Malt Loaf
Role model: Jesus Christ
Honest Varsity prediction: Cambridge win 12-4.
Personal Varsity aim/target: Win back to back MVP awards.
Profile: It would be an understatement to say that Pete lives and breathes lacrosse. Once Pete has finished his work for his PhD in Maths for the day, if he is not at Bible study or lacrosse practice, he is sure to be found scouring Youtube for new lacrosse footage, that he will then assiduously dissect, picking up new moves to add to his arsenal. Indeed, very little is able to keep Pete away from the lacrosse pitch: Pete was out for a couple of weeks with a minor knee injury in the middle of the season, and although his teammates expected him to take a well-deserved rest to relax and recover, they were surprised to come across video footage one evening of Pete, confined to a chair, practising his behind-the-back passing.Pete has emerged as one of the top young players in England, and plays for the Team England Senior Men’s Development Squad, the England Universities Squad, and this past summer played for the Culver City Lacrosse Club in Los Angeles. Last year, he scored 9 goals in the British National Championships. Pete is one of the powerhouses of Cambridge’s lacrosse team, having scored 5 or more goals in 9 contests this season, and a season-high 10 points against University of London. Despite his impressively high number of goals, Pete is also known for his selfless play, and will often end up with many more assists than goals at the end of games. Pete is a much valued asset to the team, not only for the points he puts on the board, but also for the time and effort he has put into coaching Cambridge’s beginners, which has been a large factor in their intensely impressive improvement this year.Pete came to Cambridge this year from Oxford, where he spent his undergrad and MMath years playing for Oxford’s lacrosse team. He was a co-captain, a full-blue, and was awarded the season MVP there. Pete was also the MVP of the Varsity Match last year, and hopes to bring home both the trophy and a back-to-back MVP award home to Cambridge this year.
Name: Matthew Johnson
College: Clare College
Subject: PhD Psychology
Favourite song: i – Kendrick Lamar
Favourite post training snack: PB&J
Role model: Steph Curry/Eric Liddell
Honest Varsity prediction: Win
Personal Varsity aim/target: Win >75% of ground balls
Profile: Matthew learned to play lacrosse growing up in the sunny haven of Lafayette, California. He attended Acalanes High School and Yale University before coming to Cambridge for his MPhil and PhD. As a midfielder, he has developed a reputation as one of the toughest and grittiest players on the Cambridge Lacrosse team. In a close fixture against University of Nottingham (that Cambridge won 8-7), he suffered a broken ankle yet continued to play the rest of the game and was rewarded with a hat-trick of goals. Furthermore, in high school he bounced back from what would have been a career-ending injury for most people, when he took a particularly flagrant cheap shot (the worst his coach had witnessed in 40+ years of playing and coaching lacrosse), at a summer tournament. These experiences have shaped Matthew into the determined and dangerous player that he is today. You can expect to see his name on the score sheet at the end of the 100th Varsity match.Matthew cites his high school lacrosse coach, Matt Lynn, as one of his greatest inspirations for playing lacrosse. Lynn was diagnosed with cancer shortly after winning a national championship with UCSB and tragically died a few years later. Matthew dedicates every game he plays to Lynn.
Following a tough season and a rigorous selection process, the following 13 players have been selected to play the Varsity Match against Oxford on February 27th:
4th Year Natural Sciences
St Catherine’s College
MPhil in Sustainability
4th Year Chemical Engineering
MPhil in Classics
1st Year Natural Sciences
PhD in Psychology
3rd Year Natural Sciences
St John’s College
4th Year Natural Sciences
3rd Year Engineering – MIT Exchange
6th Year Medicince
PhD in Mathematics
PhD in Geology
2nd Year Computer Science
After a hard fought draw against league contenders Birmingham two weeks ago, the Cambridge men’s lacrosse team sat at the top of their league. A win against 6th place Northampton would secure victory in the Midlands 1A conference, and with 7 wins and a draw so far this season confidence was high. However, captain Stuart Cummings was determined not to take this fixture lightly and emphasised the importance of intensity and good decision-making that would win the game. Also, with the Varsity match just two and a half weeks away every game is preparation for the big day – plays need to be perfected and injuries avoided.
The game started with recent MIT recruit Cody Jacobucci winning the face-off; this would be repeated many times as he continues to forge a chemistry with long-stick midfielder and former England U19 player Will Barrie, the two of them working together to secure possession.
The first quarter saw Cambridge retain possession for long periods but struggle to turn it into scoring opportunities; attacker Nick Evans managed to evade his man and take a pass from Barrie, which he riffled in for the first goal of the day, and it was Evans again who scored the next, assisted by Jacobucci. The quarter ended 2-0 to the home team, although it was felt the score line did not reflect the opportunities Cambridge had had.
The second quarter was a much more intense affair; Cambridge continued to retain possession and set up attacking moves, and were rewarded with 3 goals, unusually all coming from long stick midfielder Barrie.
Cambridge were working hard to get the ball back when Northampton managed to get possession, with Alistair Fisher and Max Welch causing turnovers in defence which quickly translated in to transition and scoring opportunities.
The half-time score stood at 5-0, and when the second half began Cambridge were slightly switched off. The game became scrappier and whereas Cambridge were winning most of the ground balls in the first half, now Northampton were coming up with more. The visitors were rewarded with a goal, managing to sneak a shot past Cummings off a clever pick move. The Cambridge defence had a talk and managed to make the necessary adjustments to stop Northampton from scoring for the rest of the game – a remarkable achievement, helped in part by some excellent saves from Cummings.
The final quarter saw play become much more physical but Cambridge maintained composure, setting up dodges from the midfield and attack.
Konradin Muskens, Tim Jenkins and Matt Johnson all looked constantly threatening, with Jenkins getting on the scoresheet; Evans and Barrie both added to their tallies in the final moments of the game. As the defence of Northampton became increasingly aggressive it was with some relief that the whistle blew to signal the end of the game – injury had been avoided and the league was secured.
This bodes very well for Varsity, and with former Oxford player and star attackman Pete Baddoo about to return from a minor injury the Cambridge attack will get even stronger. The game ends a brilliant season for men’s lacrosse, with three one-goal game wins that demonstrate the resilience and determination of the team. The next few weeks will see some small final adjustments, but the Light Blues can go in to the Varsity fixture with confidence.
Will Barrie (4g, 1a)
Nick Evans (3g)
Tim Jenkins (1g)
Cody Jacobucci (1a)
Konradin Muskens (1a)