The most prestigious match on our calendar is the Varsity match, Cambridge vs Oxford, played at Guards Polo Club in June. Currently sponsored by Jack Wills, it is the longest standing polo fixture in the Western World and is always a great day for all involved, attended by roughly 8,000 people.
Photo Credit: Alec @ Centaur Photographic
This year's Match Report is below:
The 2012 Polo Varsity match at Guards Polo Club on Saturday 9th June was one of the finest examples of dark blue trashing in the 134 year history of the match. Despite a difficult and frustrating lead up to the match due to poor weather conditions the light blue side were on top form thanks to the resourcefulness of the team’s weather beating tactics and stoicism in the face of ridiculously muddy training sessions. Cambridge went in to the historic match the underdogs with a poor track record in recent years, but after intense training both in this country and abroad in Argentina, the team was confident of sticking it to the old enemy.
Two veterans of previous varsity matches, Alex Rose playing at 3 and Jamie Hepburn at back, were accompanied by the baby of the squad Sam Browne and the last minute surprise player up front James "Willy" Marshall. Superb team play and support from behind led to a famous victory with 8 goals including converted penalties from Sam Browne. James Marshall had a few grievances with gravity and hit the ground at high velocity on several occasions in a dubiously tactical manner, whilst both players at the back held their nerve and delivered calm defensive play. From the off some highly aggressive play from Cambridge put Oxford onto the back foot with five goals rammed home in the first chukka. A strong Oxford team talk brought the dark blues two hard earned goals, but some strong ride-offs and accurate backhands from the Cambridge 1 and 2 up front turned any defensive play to tatters. Chukkas 3 and 4 saw the goal margin increased with some enormous shots from the back from Jamie Hepburn and Alex Rose. Despite his team falling apart around him, some impressive individual play was shown by Oxford’s Tom Meacher, although this achieved little in the face of the Cambridge onslaught. At one stage he was even pushed off his horse by the ever-aggressive Cambridge number 1, James Marshall. After the dust settled the final score was 13-2, one of the largest margins of victory ever seen in the varsity match. Sam Browne deservedly won the Most Valuable Player award, and one of the Cambridge ponies, Easter, won Best Playing Pony - a clean sweep for the light blues.
Cambridge Old boys also performed well with a win despite poor ground conditions as well as Eton trouching Harrow.
Many thanks go to the Cambridge University Polo club’s sponsors EFG International for supporting the team throughout the year and to Jack Wills for hosting the match day and casually flying both Harvard and Yale teams across the Atlantic. A special mention must also go to the team coach Dean Lines who stood by the team with his typically agitated enthusiasm through the highs and lows of their preparation. GDBO!