Varsity Match 2014

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.

Varsity Match 2014

Winners of the Enoeda Cup 2014: Cambridge

Team results:

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

CUKC finished off a weekend of spectacular competition results by claiming a record eighth consecutive Varsity victory against the Dark Blues in a tense encounter.

The match began with men’s individual kata, in which Oxford established a narrow overall lead of eight points despite excellent performances from the Cambridge team, including President Jerome Singh (third place) and the Men’s Captain-elect, fresher Scott Ang (second place). Undeterred by Oxford’s advantage, the men’s team kata (Jerome, Scott and Ivo Timoteo) pulled off a dynamic and near-perfectly coordinated rendition of kata Empi, blowing Oxford’s team kata out of the water and overtaking the Dark Side with a six-point lead. The women’s kata competition followed, with the Oxford team having significantly stepped up their game from previous years. Despite solid katas from freshers Rosa Ferguson-Lobo, Rowan Douglas and Tanvi Ahuja, the experience of the Dark Blues squad showed as they took the majority of the points. Women’s Captain Tasha Nussbaum managed to reclaim some ground for Cambridge with her stunning rendition of Anan, taking top spot in the women’s individual kata for the third year running. The women’s team kata – Tasha, Rosa and Tanvi, performed admirably, but a small stumble cost them a crucial 0.4 points, with Oxford snatching the victory by the narrowest of margins. At the end of the kata round, men’s scores stood at 38-32 to Cambridge, and women’s scores at 40-14 to Oxford.

The first round of kumite followed, with the men’s team fighting first. Nosebleeds and black eyes abounded on the Oxford team as Cambridge tore through them, extending the lead by a further six points. Special mention must be given to Pragesh Sivaguru and Vice-President Ivo Timoteo for their clinical 4-0 destruction of their Dark Blue opponents. Again, the advantage of experience showed in the women’s match with the Cambridge team, all freshers apart from Women’s Captain Tasha, fighting valiantly but unable to claim victory against any of their Oxford opponents. The men’s team needed to secure only two of the next five fights to assure retention of the Men’s A Team trophy. Fresher Ilias Moutsopoulos substituted in for the incapacitated Scott and was unlucky to lose against an older and much more experienced postgrad Oxford fighter. Jerome limped over the finish line of his match with a serious knee injury, before Ivo completed another stunning 4-0 victory, Pragesh secured another win and Daniel demolished the Oxford Men’s Captain 4-0 to assure glory for the Light Blues. The second round of women’s kumite followed; despite being numerically unable to win the Women’s Trophy, the aggression and determination of the Cambridge team remained as strong as ever. Tasha won her fight despite several questionable refereeing decisions; Rowan put in an excellent performance against veteran Oxford (and ex-Cambridge) competitor Tegwen Ecclestone, holding the score even against the England squad member for much of the match; and Amy Oliver, who started karate only at the beginning of this year, was very unfortunate to be edged out 2-1 against an Oxford blackbelt.

Ultimately, the Men’s A Team trophy was won by Cambridge by a margin of 74-56, whilst the Women’s A Team trophy was claimed by Oxford by 82-20. Since Oxford was unable to field a Men’s B Team as per the stipulated rules, they forfeited that trophy prior to the match and the overall Enoeda Cup returned to Cambridge for an unprecedented eighth year in a row. It is worth noting the impressiveness of this feat considering that many of the Varsity squad had also participated in the gruelling Central Regions competition the day before (at which Oxford was not present). The developing strength and spirit of the club leaves me with no doubt that, with training and hard work, we will be able to snatch back the Women’s trophy next year and extend our winning streak for many years to come.



View photos of the competition.