The Varsity Polo Match

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The Varsity Polo Match
The Jack Wills Varsity Polo Match
The Hurlingham Challenge Cup.png
Contested by
CUPC OUPC
First Varsity Match 27 November 1878
Annual event since 27 November 1878
Current champion Oxford
Largest margin of victory Oxford, 19 - 1 (1914)
Venue Guards Polo Club, Windsor
Current sponsor Jack Wills
Trophy The Challenge Cup
presented by the Hurlingham Club in 1920
Number of wins
Cambridge University Polo Club Oxford University Polo Club
57 59

The Varsity Polo Match is an annual polo match between the Oxford University Polo Club and the Cambridge University Polo Club, played between teams of four players. Historically it was known as the inter-University Challenge Cup or inter-Varsity polo match.[1][2] It is also known as the Oxford-Cambridge Polo Match or by a title that includes the name of its current sponsor (from 2010, the Jack Wills Varsity Polo).[3][4] Members of both teams are traditionally known as Blues, with Oxford in dark blue and Cambridge in light blue.

The match is a well-established and popular fixture in the British sporting calendar with up to 5000 spectators in single years and creates an interest which a game between teams of far more seasoned players often fail to do.[5][6] It usually takes place at the beginning of June at Guards Polo Club. The Varsity Match was most recently contested in June 2014, and was won by Cambridge by a margin of 6 -3. As of 2014 Oxford has won the match 59 times and Cambridge 57 times.[7]

History[edit]

The first match was played in 1878 and the event has been held annually with the exceptions of the two World Wars as well as 1894, 1900, 1960-61 and 1963. The match was originally played at Hurlingham Club, but moved to Cowdray Park after World War II. From 1962 onwards, the venue for the match was decided annually, with the choice alternating with each university. Since 1994, the Varsity Match is played at Guards Polo Club.[8] The Match is played for a Challenge Cup presented by the Hurlingham Club in 1920.[9]

Competitors[edit]

The match format is extremely unusual as it is traditionally not handicapped. Teams are also mixed which is rare opportunity amongst the Blues sports of both universities. The original conditions are as followed:

No player eligible who has been a member of his University for more than four years, or who has not been in residence during the term in which the match takes place. Instituted in 1878. Played generally at Hurlingham, in June. (Modern Polo, 1896[10])

No player eligible who has been a member of his University for more than four years, or who has not been in residence during the term in which the match takes place. The Cup shall be held by the winning University in each year until May 1st in the succeeding year, when it shall be returned to The Hurlingham Club. Play - 6 periods. (The Polo Yearbook 1939[11])

Old Blues Match[edit]

The main varsity match is preceded by a match between the two Old Blues teams. This match has a similar tradition to the Varsity Match as it was held annually and its records go back to 1879 (with major gaps in the statistic). It was known by the title Old Oxonians vs Old Cantabs. Both teams helped to promote British polo also in other tournaments and events and were seen as one of the strongest British polo teams until World War II brought an end to that.[12]

Results and statistics[edit]

A selection of the more frequently cited statistics includes:

  • Number of wins: Oxford, 59; Cambridge, 57
  • Most consecutive victories: Oxford, 8 (1966–73)
  • Match record: Oxford, 1914 winning 19 - 1

Full results by year[edit]

No. Date Venue Winner Score Oxford
total
Camb
total
Old Blues
Match
1 27 November 1878 Oxford Oxford 5 - 0 1 0
2 14 June 1879 Hurlingham Cambridge 1 - 2 1 1 Oxonians
3 29 May 1880 Hurlingham Oxford 4 - 1 2 1 Draw
4 18 June 1881 Hurlingham Cambridge 0 - 3 2 2
5 17 June 1882
22 June 1882[a]
Hurlingham Cambridge 2 - 3 2 3
6 16 June 1883 Hurlingham Oxford 4 - 1 3 3
7 14 June 1884 Hurlingham Cambridge 2 - 4 3 4 Oxonians
8 20 June 1885 Hurlingham Oxford 4 - 0 4 4
9 12 June 1886 Hurlingham Oxford 8 - 2 5 4
10 18 June 1887 Hurlingham Cambridge 6 - 7 5 5
11 16 June 1888 Hurlingham Cambridge 2 - 10 5 6
12 22 June 1889 Hurlingham Cambridge 0 - 7 5 7
13 28 June 1890 Hurlingham Oxford 5 - 4 6 7
14 20 June 1891 Hurlingham Oxford 4 - 1 7 7
15 29 June 1892 Hurlingham Cambridge 1 - 12 7 8
16 1 July 1893
1894 no match
Hurlingham Cambridge 1 - 6 7 9
17 14 June 1895 Oxford Cambridge 1 - 8 7 10
18 22 June 1896 Oxford Cambridge 3 - 5 7 11
19 8 June 1897 Hurlingham Oxford 12 - 0 8 11
20 13 June 1898 Hurlingham Oxford 15 - 0 9 11
21 12 June 1899
1900 no match
Hurlingham Oxford 11 - 1 10 11
22 24 June 1901 Hurlingham Oxford 8 - 2 11 11
23 23 June 1902 Oxford Oxford 14 - 0 12 11
24 20 June 1903 Hurlingham Oxford 14 - 1 13 11
25 20 June 1904 Hurlingham Cambridge 3 - 4 13 12
26 26 June 1905 Hurlingham Cambridge 4 - 9 13 13
27 25 June 1906 Hurlingham Oxford 4 - 3 14 13
28 24 June 1907 Hurlingham Cambridge 2 - 9 14 14
29 29 June 1908 Hurlingham Cambridge 1 - 6 14 15
30 1 July 1909 Wembley Park Cambridge 4 - 5 14 16
31 29 June 1910 Hurlingham Oxford 10 - 2 15 16
32 30 June 1911 Roehampton Cambridge 3 - 8 15 17
33 3 July 1912 Hurlingham Oxford 6 - 5 16 17
34 21 June 1913 Hurlingham Oxford 9 - 5 17 17
35 20 June 1914
1915–1919 no match
Hurlingham Oxford 19 - 1 18 17
36 19 June 1920 Hurlingham Cambridge 3 - 4 18 18
37 23 June 1921 Hurlingham Cambridge 4 - 7 18 19
38 24 June 1922 Hurlingham Cambridge 1 - 5 18 20
39 23 June 1923 Hurlingham Cambridge 3 - 6 18 21
40 21 June 1924 Hurlingham Oxford 7 - 5 19 21 Cantabs
41 4 July 1925 Hurlingham Cambridge 2 - 8 19 22
42 17 July 1926 Hurlingham Cambridge 4 - 7 19 23
43 13 July 1927 Hurlingham Oxford 8 - 3 20 23
44 12 July 1928 Hurlingham Cambridge 2 - 3 20 24
45 11 July 1929 Hurlingham Cambridge 4 - 5 20 25
46 10 July 1930 Hurlingham Cambridge 4 - 5 20 26
47 9 July 1931 Hurlingham Oxford 9 - 0 21 26
48 7 July 1932 Hurlingham Oxford 11 - 0 22 26
49 15 July 1933 Hurlingham Oxford 6 - 4 23 26
50 12 July 1934 Hurlingham Oxford 5 - 3 24 26
51 11 July 1935 Hurlingham Cambridge 4 - 5 24 27
52 4 July 1936 Hurlingham Oxford 4 - 1 25 27
53 10 July 1937 Hurlingham Oxford 12 - 0 26 27
54 8 July 1938 Hurlingham Oxford 8 - 4 27 27
55 9 July 1939
1940–1950 no match
Hurlingham Cambridge 4,5 - 5 27 28
56 30 June 1951 Woolmers Park Oxford 6 - 0 28 28
57 9 June 1952 Henley Cambridge 0 - 9 28 29
58 24 May 1953 Woolmers Park Cambridge 0 - 4 28 30
59 20 June 1954 Woolmers Park Cambridge 2 - 8 28 31
60 18 June 1955 Windsor Park Oxford 3 - 2 29 31
61 23 June 1956 Windsor Park Oxford 5 - 1 30 31
62 22 June 1957 Windsor Park Cambridge 2 - 4 30 32
63 21 June 1958 Windsor Park Oxford 6 - 5 31 32
64 30 June 1959
1960–1961 no match
Cowdray Park Cambridge 1 - 4 31 33
65 30 June 1962
1963 no match
Cowdray Park Cambridge 4 - 5 31 34
66 6 June 1964 Windsor Park Oxford 5 - 3 32 34
67 13 June 1965 Woolmers Park Cambridge 6 - 7 32 35
68 19 June 1966 Kirtlington Oxford 7 - 0 33 35
69 18 June 1967 Kirtlington Oxford 12 -1 34 35
70 9 June 1968 Kirtlington Oxford 2 - 1 35 35
71 8 June 1969 Woolmers Park Oxford 4 - 1 36 35
72 7 June 1970 Kirtlington Park Oxford 5 - 0 37 35
73 June 1971 Woolmers Park Oxford 3 - 2 38 35
74 10 June 1972 Kirtlington Oxford 11 - 2 39 35
75 1973 Oxford 5 - 2 40 35
76 1974 Cambridge 3 - 4 40 36
77 1975 Cambridge x - X 40 37
78 1976 Oxford X - x 41 37
79 1977 Cambridge x - X 41 38
80 26 May 1978 Kirtlington Cambridge 2 - 3 41 39 Oxonians
81 1979 Kirtlington Cambridge 3 - 4 41 40 Oxonians
82 17 May 1980 Oxford 11 - 1 42 40
83 14 June 1981 Carver Barracks, Saffron Walden Oxford 4 - 2 43 40
84 1982 Oxford X - x 44 40
85 1983 Oxford X - x 45 40
86 1984 Cambridge x - X 45 41
87 1985 Cambridge x - X 45 42
88 1986 Oxford X - x 46 42
89 1987 Cambridge 2 - 3 46 43
90 1988 Cambridge x - X 46 44 Oxonians
91 17 June 1989 Kirtlington Park Oxford 2 - 1 47 44
92 1990 Cambridge & Newmarket Cambridge 1 - 4 47 45 Oxonians
93 16 June 1991 Cambridge & Newmarket Cambridge 2 - 4 47 46
94 14 June 1992 Kirtlington Park Oxford 3 - 2 48 46 Oxonians
95 13 June 1993 Cambridge & Newmarket Oxford 10 - 2 49 46
96 11 June 1994 Guards Cambridge 1 - 2 49 47 Oxonians
97 11 June 1995 Cambridge & Newmarket Cambridge 3 - 5 49 48 Oxonians
98 1996 Guards Cambridge 2 - 7 49 49 Oxonians
99 15 June 1997 Guards Cambridge 5 - 6 49 50 Oxonians
100 6 June 1998 Guards Cambridge 1 - 13 49 51 Oxonians
101 5 June 1999 Guards Cambridge 2 - 4 49 52
102 10 June 2000 Guards Oxford 6 - 0 50 52 Cantabs
103 10 June 2001 Cambridge & Newmarket Cambridge 1 - 3 50 53
104 8 June 2002 Guards Cambridge 3 - 4 50 54
105 7 June 2003 Guards Oxford 6 - 0 51 54 Oxonians
106 5 June 2004 Guards Oxford 5 - 4 52 54 Oxonians
107 4 June 2005 Guards Oxford 12 - 2 53 54 Cantabs
108 3 June 2006 Guards Cambridge 1 - 6 53 55 Cantabs
109 9 June 2007 Guards Oxford 9 - 5 54 55
110 7 June 2008 Guards Oxford 4 - 0 55 55
111 6 June 2009 Kirtlington Park Oxford 5 - 4 56 55 Oxonians
112 12 June 2010 Guards Oxford 5 - 4 57 55
113 11 June 2011 Guards Oxford 5 - 4 58 55 Oxonians
114 9 June 2012 Guards Cambridge 2 - 13 58 56 Cantabs
115 8 June 2013 Guards Oxford 11 - 3 59 56 Cantabs
116 7 June 2014 Guards Cambridge 6 - 3 59 57 Oxonians

a. ^ At the call of time the score was still one goal all, so the teams met again at Hurlingham a few days later, when Cambridge won by 3 goals to 2.[13]

Notable Players[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sporting Notes. In: Nottingham Evening Post, Tuesday 27 June 1905
  2. ^ The Times. 12 June 1965, Woolmers Park p.1
  3. ^ "Guards Polo Club". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Oxford Sports Federation". 
  5. ^ The Inter-University Match. In: The Times. July 11, 1938, p.4.
  6. ^ Oxford Victory. In: Horse and Hounds. 12 June 1970
  7. ^ "Oxford Polo Club Archive". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Oxford Polo Club Archive". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  9. ^ The Polo Year Book, 1925. London: Hurlingham Polo Association. 1925. p. 30. 
  10. ^ Modern Polo. E.D. Miller. 1896. p. 399. 
  11. ^ The Polo Yearbook. County Polo Association. 1939. p. 48. 
  12. ^ Dale, T.F. (1905). Polo. Past and Present. Country Life. 
  13. ^ "University Match". The Polo Monthly: 436. 1928. Retrieved 28 August 2013. [dead link]

External links[edit]