Varsity Match 2004


It all began so innocently, with two white mini buses cruising round the M25 with the Wombles theme tune ringing in their ears. What ensued was a weekend of orienteering and other excesses, with severe fun had by all involved.

The individual event took place at Wimbledon Common, which is actually not anything like the popular children's program would have us believe. The common is mostly wooded, with a highly tracked slope of woodland of vastly varying and usually unpredictable thickness. At the top of the hill past the windmill is a fast semi open and flat area with some legs of dead running. The Men's A course crossed the A3 in a fashion which Nick Pilsbury described as "highly confusing."

Times were relatively fast with almost everybody making at least 5 minutes of mistakes, the complex path network leading to multiple errors of the speeding off down the wrong path in the wrong direction type. However, leaders were as expected, with Edward Catmur triumphing on home ground, completing the 11.2km Men's A course in an incredible 64 minutes. Pippa Whitehouse blasted the Women's A course, coming home in a slightly longer than expected 57 minutes for 7.2km. Neil Cumpstey, after cruelling missing out on A team selection last weekend came back top in the Men's B course, completing the same course in the same minutes as Pippa. The top three were as follows - exact times will be on the OUOC website at a later date. In the alumni competition, a poor turnout from DRONGO meant that JOK came out on top, over an hour ahead of their ex Tab rivals.

Men's A
1. Ed Catmur OUOC 64 mins
2. Alex Rothman OUOC 70 mins
3. Tom Cochrane OUOC 75 mins

Women's A
1. Pippa Whitehouse OUOC 57 mins
2. Becky Carlyle OUOC 63 mins
3. Anne Osbourne OUOC 66 mins

The top three places were therefore an Oxford clean sweep, and with four men to count and three women, Oxford were clear victors, by over half an hour in the Men's course.

And so to the evening. A hot buffet was prepared in the Shene rugby club, a rather bizarre faux rural venue somewhere near Putney. After the rugby blokes from the earlier match had left we began the next most important event of the weekend - the boat race, eight full pints, with a half for the cox. Tension was high, with Alex Rothman acting as "independant" adjudicator to check there was no dirty behaviour from the filthies this year. Competition was fair, with Ash Bown doing the manly thing and dowing two pints for his team. The race was close right to the end, when surprise speedy downage from the OUOC girls (Anne and Pip) pushed them just in front, with Ed Catmur being the true champion and downing the winning pint just before some Tab (sorry guys, I can't remember who). The combined alumni team did pretty poorly, obviously being out of practice. Post race, there were many shapes thrown on the dancefloor, with notable mentions for Alan Elder and Ash Bown, Ali Ingleby, Mr Jon Marsden and the wonderful bum bag man, Marco. After an encore of Chesney Hawkes, the DJ bowed out and we were left to our own devices. Ash, Alan and Tom Cochrane gave in to their tribal instincts and attempted topless gymnastics and a rather failed attempt at kidnapping OUOCs Women's Captain. On losing Tom's batteries and discovering they were all covered in mud, the three of them gave in for the evening, and all was peaceful.

Sunday brought a just for fun relay, with the only rule being that there must be one girl in each team. The area was The Nower, a small wood in Dorking with a 1:5000 map and runnable with an extensive path network. There were three gaffled courses, a long 5.4km option, medium at 4 km (ish) and a 2.8 short. The slightly unfair team of Ed Catmur, Pippa Whitehouse and Chris Davidson (on the short??!!) came first by a mile, with an alumni team in second and the Tab trio of Alan, Ash and Ali coming third, ecstatic to finally get their hands on one of the posh thermal mugs that formed the prizes.

A fantastic weekend with good competitive O' and a great social. Thanks go out to Nikki King and her big band of helpers (including Kai Catmur, Ruth King, Alan Leakey, Dave Currie, and many others I'm afraid I can't remember). Here's to next year in Sweden!

Find photos in the gallery, and courtesy of
and CJ

Becky Carlyle

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