“Cuppers” is the short-hand name given to inter-college competition in Oxford.
Cuppers takes on a similar form to a school sports day with athletes scoring points for their college by competing in different events. It provides an opportunity for athletes of all abilities to compete in a relaxed competition against their peers in Oxford. Cuppers also helps the club identify new talent and potential and select teams for fixtures.
Michaelmas cuppers takes place at the end of October, 2 weeks before the Freshers’ match. Athletes who have competed for OUAC in Varsity competition are not allowed to enter an event that they have competed for the university in. This gives Freshers the chance to shine and not feel intimidated in the first athletics event of the year.
Hilary cuppers takes place at the end of February, 2 weeks before the Field Events and Relays match and all athletes are allowed to compete in any event they like.
Although athletes score points for their college there is no need to worry about whether your college has a team or not. Each college is assigned a college rep, who will be sent information about Cuppers and is responsible for informing members of their college about the date and timings of cuppers and, if they wish, they can put those who want to compete in cuppers in touch with each other. You can contact your rep and find out about cuppers info and about who else in your college does athletics at any point in the year. Close to the date of cuppers, timetables will be distributed and you can simply turn up an hour before your event and register to compete; you will automatically score points for your college.
The maximum number of events per person is 5, excluding relays.
Colleges may have a maximum of 2 scoring guests from another college with no team.
Two colleges with small teams may join together, in which case guests from other colleges are not allowed.
The first sixteen competitors will score points, for running races there will be no heats, points will be allocated to the fastest 16 times. 1st place will get 16 points down to 1 point for 16th and also all the others who finish. Athletes obtaining a blues standard time/distance/height will gain 3 bonus points, athletes obtaining a cuppers standard will be awarded 1 bonus point.
If there are fewer than sixteen people entered points will still go from sixteen down to the last competitor.
All field events will have three, four or six rounds at the discretion of the officials and meeting organisers.
The Chavasse trophy will be awarded to the College with the highest number of combined points over the two cuppers competitions. It will be engraved and kept in the trophy cabinet at Iffley Rd.
The Cuppers trophy is named after Noel and Christopher Chavasse. Noel and Christopher were brothers and twins who both competed for OUAC in the 1906 and 1907 Varsity matches, before representing Great Britain at the 1908 Olympics. Besides being general Varsity legends, the Chavasse’s also excelled in life generally.
Noel served as a medical officer in WWI from 1914 to 1917. He was awarded the Victoria Cross twice, making him the most decorated soldier of the war (no other Brit received more than one VC). He was a truly heroic man, relentlessly working to save others and risking his life by moving far into no-mans-land to bring back bodies or the injured at Ypres. Noel was eventually killed in action. Christopher survived the Great War and went on to become the Bishop of Rochester.
The Chavasse family also impacted on Oxford in other ways. The father of Noel and Christopher was the founder of St Peters College (hence the Chavasse quad). A full sized portrait of Noel can be found in the college, as well as the original wooden cross from his grave at Ypres.
“Cuppers” in Michaelmas term is dedicated to Christopher. “Cuppers” in Hilary is dedicated to Noel. The winning college is then awarded the “Chavasse Trophy” based on aggregated points from the two competitions.