Varsity Match 2013

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 2013: Cambridge

Team results:

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

On Saturday 9th February, Cambridge University Karate Club carved their names into Oxbridge sporting history with an emphatic 179-41 annihilation of the Dark Blues, recording a seventh consecutive victory in as many years.

The competition started with individual kata (set forms), alternating between the Cambridge and Oxford teams. In a performance typical of the composure, strength and speed for which CUKC is renowned, Cambridge secured first, second, third, fourth and sixth places in the men’s and first and third places in the women’s kata. Special mention must go to Matt Houlden, who took top spot in men’s kata with a powerful rendition of Enpi, and Tasha Nussbaum, who for the second year running blew Oxford out of the water with an incredibly dynamic performance of Anan, scoring 20.3 out of a possible 21 points. Following the individual kata, Cambridge and Oxford each provided three members to carry out a synchronized ‘team’ kata. The men’s team, comprising President Matthew Benjamin, Men’s Captain Jerome Singh and Quang Ha, pulled off a near-perfectly coordinated Enpi, and the women’s team; Caroline Tanner, Tasha Nussbaum and Sarah Latty duplicated the men’s efforts with an excellently poised execution of the kata Seinechin. By the end of the kata round, the men’s scores stood at 61-9 and the women’s at 34-20.

At this point, numerical advantage meant that the men had only to win one out of ten fights and the women two out of six, to secure the overall Varsity match. Not content with such a narrow margin of success, both the men and women’s teams forged ahead in the kumite (sparring) round to record a triumph of unparalleled margins. The men’s fighting opened with Matthew Benjamin, who defeated Oxford’s captain in a flurry of devastating punches. Newcomers Quang Ha and Ivo Timoteo added to the points total in a blend of rapid movement and precise attacks before the Cambridge men’s captain, Jerome Singh, stepped up to the mat and overcame his opponent with a sweep-head punch combination that instantly ended the fight by the award of an ippon (the karate equivalent of a TKO). The final member of the men’s squad, fresher Lawrence Paleschi, fought with great determination and character and was unlucky to lose his fight by a marginal points decision. By the end of the first round of men’s kumite, Cambridge’s men’s squad had won 4/5 fights and secured an unassailable lead in the overall points. Not to be outdone, CUKC’s women’s contingent; Caroline Tanner, Tasha Nussbaum and Megan Wilson, came roaring out of the blocks and won all three of their fights, relying on fleet-footedness and perfectly timed counter-attacks to defeat their Oxford counterparts. The ferocity and skill with which they fought is a testament to the many hard months spent training in the dojo, manifested in the decisive victories scored on the competition mat.

After a short rest, the second round of kumite commenced. Matthew Benjamin prevailed over a significantly larger opponent, keeping just out of reach before burying his opponent in an avalanche of head strikes to record a second win. Quang Ha also won his bout with a brilliant display of control and precise punches to the abdomen, followed by Ivo Timoteo’s clinical destruction of another Oxford fighter. Jerome Singh took the fourth match, scoring first and getting a contact warning for punching the Oxford men’s captain into the wall, but settling for a defensively-fought draw after a painful kick to the groin. Another newcomer to the squad, Junfeng Liu, rounded off the men’s campaign in style with a hard-fought and courageous draw. The women then stepped back onto the mat and built on their previous success by recording another set of straight wins. The Oxford ladies had seemingly not caught on to the Cambridge women’s tactic of counter-attacking as their opponents lunged blindly towards them, and with a series of flawlessly timed and outstandingly controlled head and stomach punches, the three CUKC women concluded the day with a perfect 6/6, 100% record in the kumite.

By the end of the competition, Cambridge had ensured success on all fronts, winning the men and women’s trophies and the overall Enoeda Cup, for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year. The feat is doubly impressive considering that the vast majority of the Cambridge squad were Varsity debutants and that the margin of victory was one of absolute dominance, the largest on record.


Partial Scores
Men’s Kata – Cambridge 61, Oxford 9
Men’s Kumite – Cambridge 48, Oxford 12
Women's Kata – Cambridge 34, Oxford 20
Women's Kumite – Cambridge 36, Oxford 0

Final Scores
Men’s Final Score – Cambridge 109, Oxford 21
Women’s Final Score – Cambridge 70, Oxford 20

Overall Score
Cambridge 179, Oxford 41