Oxford University Athletics Club

Oxford v Cambridge Varsity

A “Varsity match” is the name of any sports fixture, solely between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. OUAC compete in three annual Varsity fixtures: the Freshers’ match, the Field Events and Relays match and the Varsity match itself. The most important of these is the Varsity match proper, which is the most important match of the year for our club.

Although our athletes all have different goals in the sport, when it comes to competing for the team, all our members share the same focus: the winning of this annual match. Club training and competition is arranged so that our athletes are in the best shape possible for this fixture, which takes place in mid to late May, half way through Trinity (summer) term.

The Varsity match is unique in many ways. The most startling feature of the match is that with only two teams taking part, there are only 4 contestants in each event (namely, the first and second string of each team). This makes for a particularly intense form of competition, changing the nature of some events significantly, for example, where a middle distance pack is reduced to a huddle of only four, with the athletes working tactically in pairs.

The Varsity match in fact comprises of four separate matches: the Blues (first team) matches and Second Team matches, for both men and women. Scoring in each event is by points: 5 for a win, 3 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth, the winning team being that with the highest score once all the events are completed and all the points added up.

The match is held alternatively at Iffley Road, Oxford and Wilberforce Road, Cambridge. Selection for the team is made by the club President and Captain, a week before the event. Athletes can earn a Blue or half-Blue for their performance in a Varsity match, according to the rules agreed upon by the Blues Committee. For information on the rules, please go to the Blues Standards page.

Visit the Varsity match Standing page to review the winning team from each year.

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