Varsity Match 2012

The Varsity Match is an annual competition between the karate clubs of Cambridge and Oxford Universities. In the match, which is usually held in February, two men's teams and a women's team from each university compete in kata, team kata and kumite for the three team titles and the overall trophy, the Enoeda Cup.

Winners of the Enoeda Cup 2012: Cambridge

Team results:

  • Men's A: Cambridge
  • Men's B: Cambridge
  • Women's: Cambridge

Thirteen: An unlucky number for some, a bad omen perhaps, but on Sunday 26th February, sometime around 6am, thirteen karateka rose from their beds in Cambridge. Although thankfully not as early as Oxford had initially planned, these eight men and five women arrived at the Iffley Road Sports Centre in Oxford to start the competition at 9am, determined to be a part of CUKC's sixth consecutive Varsity victory.

The first event of the day was the men's kata event. Craig Woodhead was first up for Cambridge in what was his final Varsity match and the other four Cambridge competitors; Liam Gabb, Ogi Tripunovic, Paul Smith, Jerome Singh; took 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th places respectively giving Cambridge a healthy lead.

The team kata event was also a resounding success for the light blues with the Cambridge team of Men's Captain Matt Houlden, Ogi and Jerome winning comfortably with their well timed performance of 'Empi'.

The Men's team completed their dominance of the day's events in the kumite (points based semi-contact sparring). The first two fighters for Cambridge were Ogi and Matthew Benjamin, both making their Cambridge debut, with the former winning his fight comfortably and the latter narrowly missing out on victory. Third up was Captain Matt who won his fight with some well timed punches (fortunately not breaking his opponent's ribs this time). Last year's Captain Liam Gabb unfortunately lost his fight after some questionable refereeing decisions. The final fighter was CUKC veteran and ex-England squad member Paul Smith who (in his long distinguished time in Cambridge) has been Men's Captain and President. Paul's experience and impressive array of techniques was evidenced by his attempts to end the fight with a double leg sweep although in the end he won the fight with simple yet effective punches.

In the second round of fighting, CUKC President Nikon Rasumov substituted for the Captain and his won his fight with a spectacular sweep and punch combination. Already comfortably in the lead, the Cambridge men went on to win three of the remaining four fights in style. The final score was a resounding 100.5-29.5 victory to Cambridge.

The women's team was slightly smaller, with five ladies travelling to Oxford for the day, only one of whom competed in last year's Varsity competition. Each team fielded four ladies for the kata competition. First up for Cambridge was fresher Francesca Perselli performing 'Empi', followed by Women's Captain Emma Nunn performing the same kata; the two women drew for 6th place. Varsity kata veteran Tiina Pajuste then outperformed all of Oxford's ladies, taking the lead. In the last individual kata of the day, Cambridge fresher Tasha Nussbaum gave a stunning rendition of 'Chantanayara Kushanku', taking first place and putting Cambridge in the lead with 1st, 2nd and 6th places. Tasha, Tiina and Emma then performed Empi, the same kata as Oxford chose in the team kata competition, beating them by a hefty points margin.

Already leading by 36 points to 18, the Women's kumite was off to an excellent start with ex- England squad member Emma winning her first fight extremely quickly, only to be shown up by Tasha who won hers in even less time. Tiina also won her first fight and finally Iris Chan in her Varsity debut was beaten by a very strong opponent.

In the second round Iris really stepped up her game with an excellent display of controlled aggression, throwing several good punches which would have scored had her very fast opponent not landed her blows a split second beforehand. Tiina lost out to her dark blue opponent in a drawn out fight, holding her own
for some time in a difficult bout. Tasha again won extremely quickly, with Emma winning the last fight of the day with two extremely strong punches.

The overall score, boosted by the fighting success was Cambridge 66 - Oxford 36. Cambridge therefore won by a large margin in each of the six
categories, bringing back all the trophies on offer and continuing the club's winning streak. Neither the Men's nor the Women's team have lost varsity since 2006, making the CUKC the most successful university sports club!