Varsity Match 2017

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 2017: Cambridge

Team results:

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

Sunday 5th of March marked the day of the annual Varsity match against Oxford, with Cambridge as this year's hosting team. With a 10 year winning streak to look back to, the squad of 19 keen CUKC karateka were determined to hold onto the Enoeda Cup for the 11th time in a row. As the match began, lining up against a much smaller Oxford team it seemed that the odds were yet again in their favour.

Individual Kata


The Varsity match began with the Men's Individual Kata event, where the squad consisting of Jonathan Sinclair-Williams, Michael Jones, Vlad Soltuz and Heng Xuan Teo would line up determined to establish an early lead.
The first competitor of the day to enter the event was Jonathan. With a solid rendition of Empi, our last year's Men's Captain obtained a score of 16.5, setting a high standard to those that followed in the competition. Michael was unfortunate to slip on the surface on the first move of Bassai dai, but otherwise delivered a strong performance and received a score of 16.0. Vlad's performance of Kanku Sho brought him 16.5 points, matching that of Jonathan. The final CUKC competitor in the event was Heng Xuan, delivering and astounding rendition of Chatanyara Kushanku and thus securing the first position with an impressive score of 17.1. He was matched closest by the OUKC President, Michael Pei, performing immediately afterwards, who placed second with a sharp Empi scoring 16.8.
At the end of the Men's Individual Kata Cambridge were ahead as the points stood at Cambridge 24 - Oxford 18


The Women's Individual Kata was next to the mats, with Amy Hall, Zara Ali, Ellen Weaver, Ella Rechter representing Cambridge.

Amy was first up with a performance of Empi that scored a solid 16.6 against her Oxford opponent who scored 16.2. Zara performed a Shito-ryu kata scoring 16.5 against 16.1 from Oxford. Ellen also scored 16.5, but her Oxford opponent scored a strong 16.7. Last of the women to the matts was Ella, who performed her classic Shito-ryu style Wunshu. Ella scored a high 16.9, the best of the women's competition and the second highest point score of the day, beating her opponent by 0.1.

The score in the Women's competition at the end of the Kata round:

Cambridge 24 - Oxford 18


Finally the Mixed competition began with Jamie Lowenthall, Mara Graziani, Stephen Ducray, Bruno Campos representing Cambridge.

The Mixed Team started their competition with some very strong kata performances against a much weaker Oxford team. Jamie was first to perform for the mixed team with a strong Jion that scored 16.6 against an Oxford 15.9. Mara also scored 16.6 with a dynamic performance of Bassai-Dai, against a 16.2 for Oxford. Stephen scored a high 16.8 with Shito-ryu style Seienchen, also beating an Oxford competitor 16.2. Bruno was last on the mats for individual kata, scoring 16.5 with Bassai-dai, against an Oxford 16.3.

The score in the Mixed competition at the end of the Kata round:

Cambridge 36 - Oxford 6

Team Kata

Each of the Cambridge teams were ahead in points entering the Team Kata round, but the teams were wary to be too confident given the large number of points that can be won or lost in this round.


Jamie Lowenthall, Vlad Soltuz, Teo Heng Xuan

After a substantial amount of work, the CUKC karateka were going into the competition with great confidence. The men's team delivered a strong performance of Jion that managed to impress the judges despite the few moments when they appeared out of timing. However, their sharpness was rewarded with a 17.0 score to Oxford's 16.5, giving the win to Cambridge.

After the Team Kata, the Men's competition scores were Cambridge 36 - Oxford 18


Ellen Weaver, Amy Hall, Elisabeth Kerr

The Women's team, made up of Ellen Weaver, Amy Hall and Elisabeth Kerr performed a tightly synchronized and powerful Jiin, scoring 16.7. Oxford then performed Bassai-dai that equaled the score of the Cambridge women meaning that the teams would split the points.

The score in the Women's competition at the end of the Team Kata round: Cambridge 30 - Oxford 24


Ella Rechter, Mara Graziani, Michael Jones

Michael, Ella and Mara overcame many challenges as a team to put together a tight and dynamic performance of Bassai-dai. Their kata scored a strong 16.7, blowing the Oxford mixed team's 16.2 out of the competition.

At the end of team kata, the Mixed team were stampeding ahead with a mighty score of Cambridge 46 - Oxford 6.



Tom Mitchel, Michael Jones, Vlad Soltuz, Daniel Hong

With an early 18 point lead secured after the kata events, the kumite squad only needed 3 wins out of 8 to capture the overall Men's Trophy. Tom represented the CUKC in the first match of round one in the Men's Kumite event, convincingly winning with 4 quick gyaku-zuki's. Michael faced Martin in the following match, holding his ground well. Unfortunately his opponent got the best of him with a clean swipe leading to an ippon gyaku-zuki, which snowballed into a 4-0 win for the OUKC. Vlad managed to make up for the loss in the following fight, winning with 3 waza-ari punches to no reply. The final match of the round saw Dan going up against the final OUKC representative in the Men's category. With sharp attacks and great counters to the opponent's replies, Dan managed to win by a decisive 4-0.
For the second round Oxford swapped the order of their fighters, while Cambridge preserved their order as the home team. Facing a different opponent, however, made no difference to Tom, who won once again with 4 very convincing punches before the timer ran out. Michael started off his fight with a very quick gyaku-zuki waza-ari. However, his opponent was quick to reply with a kizame-zuki waza-ari and a jodan mawashi-geri ippon, taking the lead 3-1 lead. Michael managed to make up some ground before the atoshi baraku mark, and with 30 seconds to go the match could still have gone either way. Unfortunately, his opponed landed another jodan-geri, giving the match to Oxford. In the next match, Vlad faced Martin in what was a very evenly matched first minute, with each side having scored two waza-ari's. The victory for this match went to Oxford, however, as Vlad's opponent managed to secure another two quick waza-ari's with a jodan-zuki and a chudan mawashi-geri. The last fight of the match had Dan fighting against Oxford's Michael. Dan convincingly began the fight with 2 jodan-zuki's, giving him a 2-0 lead. The match continued with both sides struggling to find a clean hit until the atoshi baraku mark, when Oxford managed to score a chudan-zuki waza-ari. The match ended 2-1 for Cambridge, giving the home team the win and the overall Men's Trophy.


Ella Rechter, Mara Graziani, Amy Hall, Ellen Weaver

Fresh from competing in BUCS, Ella was the first female fighter for Cambridge. Ella was much more agile on the matts than her Oxford opponent, and won her first match with two wazari punches. Ella won her second match with the same techniques and was not scored against in either match. Mara was next to fight for Cambridge against a much taller opponent. Height does not faze Mara Graziani, though. She dominated the mats, working her opponent and covering distance to score with her sneaky gyaku zuki chudans. Mara continued this way in her second match, scoring a chudan punch seconds into the fight. The Oxford competitor's reach just got the better of Mara, however, as she lost the fight 2-1. Amy also won her first fight, throwing fast and fearless techniques against the Oxford women's Captain. In her second fight Amy scored one wazari, but was also scored against. The match ended in a draw and the teams split the points. Last in the women's line up was Ellen, scored a number of clean kuru zukis in her first round, winning the match 4-0. She continued in the same style in her second match against the Oxford women's captain, scoring straight away with a kuru zuki. Again, with dominating combinations of punches Ellen won her fight 4-0.

The Cambridge women stole all the points from first round of Kumite, and lost only 6 points in the second round. Having lost the women's trophy by a margin in 2016, the women triumphantly won back the title ending the day with a point score of Cambridge 69 Oxford 33.


Jonny Sinclair-Williams, Stephen Ducray, Max Downing, Sebastien Oehm, Nivedita Sarveswaran

The Mixed Individual Kumite event proceeded with Shobu Ippon matches, having the CUKC team step on the tatami with an overwhelming 48-6 lead. With Jonathan as the first CUKC competitor in the event and facing a brave green belt, he was quick to score with 2 decisive chudan-zuki's. Stephen did not disappoint either, scoring fast with a cheeky jodan-zuki and a strong chudan-zuki to secure yet another mixed team victory and allow him to relish in the ecstatic cheers of his teammates. In the third match, after what seemed a very evenly matched fight, Sebastian lost 0-2 to his opponent, allowing Oxford to slightly level the difference. With the remaining two women facing each other, Niv managed to find a clean gyaku-zuki hit, earning her a 1-0 win by decision.

The second round saw Jonathan and Stephen displaying much of the same dominant performance as they had shown in the first round, winning their fights 2-0. Max fought well in the third match of the round, cornering his opponent several times, but was defeated 0-2 after his opponent scored 2 gyaku-zuki's. In the last match of the Varsity match, Niv pressured her opponent in much the same way as she previously did, but was bested this time around with a chudan-zuki waza-ari.
The final score of the Mixed Team Competion was an astonishing defeat of Cambridge 78 - Oxford 24.

Each of the three teams put up a fantastic fight on Sunday to show Oxford where they belong in the Karate world. The teams had been training hard for a long time to pull each element of Varsity together, and they could not have executed it better. A huge congratulations goes to all those who took part. The squad would also like to thank Sensei Richard and the other instructors for the official and unofficial hours of training and behind the scenes instruction that they put in to help us achieve such greatness. Here's to Varsity for another year, and all of the trophies safe and sound in Cambridge.

More photos and videos to come.
All photo credits go to Petre, thank you!


View photos of the competition.