Varsity Match

Spent the weekend at the Oxford-Cambridge orienteering Varsity Match. Usually we have the individual competition on the Saturday and the relays on the Sunday. Unfortunately, the organiser (Phil Marsland) was soon receiving phone calls from the CUOC minibus saying that they were stuck in traffic on the M11. OUOC were dispatched to wait at the nearby accommodation (Holmbury St Mary Youth Hostel) whilst the alumni were let lose on Leith Hill.

Managed to waste four minutes on the fourth control. I’d like to be able to blame the 1:7500 map but I was searching for the control way too far down the hill. Other than that I was generally just a bit scrappy (not to mention the tired legs again). Ended up in second place though just 36 seconds beind Darrell High. Still, JOK ended up with a convincing lead over DRONGO in the team competition.

It took Cambridge five hours to get moving again so Phil took the brave decision to move the individual competition to the Sunday. This meant OUOC could have a run round the relay courses to stave off boredom before the rugby started. After dinner the usual party got under way although some of the students were obviously saving themselves for the serious race the next day.

Once again I ended up having to drink in the boat race (8 men and 1 woman drinking 8.5 pints between them) despite being useless at downing pints. This I proved magnificiently by gulping down so much air that I had to pause for a massive burp mid-pint! In the meantime the Oxford team had caught us up. In the end it was a dead between JOK and OUOC but the trophy was awarded to Oxford due to a certain amount of spillage by Mr McNeill.

The thought of a seven o’clock start in the morning was enough to send me to bed early but the hostel has a strict “no noise after midnight” policy anyway which involved the power to the speaker system being cut as the clock struck twelve.

As we set off to put the controls back out again in the morning it started to snow which added a certain something to the event. Unfortunately I had to make a shuttle run to Dorking station so I missed most of the action. By the time I got back, Cambridge had taken both team prizes and the Men’s individual prize (Alan Elder taking nearly 7 minutes off my time from the day before). Only Helen Gardner stopped the light blues making a clean sweep.

Full results are on the JOK website.

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