The Varsity Match
The Varsity Match is undeniably the most important fixture of OUAC’s year. This event sees us pit ourselves against CUAC (Cambridge University Athletic Club) in a full day of competition which is the pinnacle of Oxbridge athletics. The match has taken place annually since 1864, cancelled only by the World Wars and the 2020 pandemic. The venue currently alternates between Iffley Road, Oxford and Wilberforce Road, Cambridge.
Although our athletes all have different goals, when it comes to competing for the team all our members share the same focus - winning the Varsity Match. Club training and competition is arranged so that our athletes are in the best possible shape for this fixture, which takes place in mid to late May in Trinity term.
Selection for the Varsity teams is made by our Women’s and Men’s Captains a week before the competition. Athletes can earn a Blue or Half-Blue for their performance in a Varsity Match. A Blue is the highest honour granted to individual sportspeople at the University of Oxford and is a sought-after achievement for our student athletes.
For Varsity, each university fields four teams - the men’s and women’s Blues teams and the men’s and women’s Seconds teams. The Varsity Match is unique in many ways, but the most unusual feature is the racing format. In each event just two Oxford athletes go up against two Cambridge athletes, with the Blues and Seconds teams in separate races. This makes for a particularly intense form of competition and changes the nature of some events as athletes work tactically in pairs.
Scoring in each event is as follows: 5 points for a win, 3 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth. The winning team is the one with the highest cumulative score once all events are completed. This is calculated for all four teams to give an overall score from 4-0 to 0-4. OUAC has recently made history with three 4-0 wins in 2017, 2018 and 2019. We hope to break the record once more with a fourth 4-0 at Varsity in 2021.