If you like sports, you’ve come to the right place! No matter what level of experience or ability you may have, you’re sure to be impressed by what Oxford University has to offer the keen sports fan.
Sport at Oxford
As an institution, Oxford University has a proud sporting heritage going far beyond the famous annual rowing race with Cambridge. For instance, did you know the University won the FA Cup for football in 1874? Or that the first recorded sub-4 minute mile was ran by Roger Bannister on the University’s own Iffley Road track in 1954? Bringing us right up to date the University’s Rugby and Cricket teams regularly take on some of the best professional teams in the country. In the latter we are one of only 4 Universities whose cricket teams are given status high enough to compete against county first teams, allowing our players to test themselves against some of the best in the world. Of course, we are not just interested in so-called “mainstream” sports. As well as the like of golf, tennis, badminton and athletics the University is also well represented in an enormous variety of sports not commonly played in the UK: Lacrosse, American Football, Australian Rules Football, Baseball and Ice Hockey to name but a few. Even the likes of croquet, archery and ballroom dancing have a University team, not to mention fencing, octopush, Ultimate Frisbee, boxing…in short, if you can name it, we probably play it!
So if you happen to be awesome at something to play for the University you’ll feel right at home here, but what about the rest of us, those who maybe just fancy a game every now and then or maybe wish to try something out for the first time? Well this is where Oxford really comes into its own. Because our student body is divided up amongst thirty or so independent colleges, there are obvious opponents all over town, each with there own unique identity. Inter-college leagues exist for several sports; football and rugby containing the most teams (the JCR football league, for example, has four divisions!). Most colleges offer up at least two teams for these leagues, so the less gifted of us can get a game for the “seconds” or “thirds”. As well as leagues for the traditional sports the University organises annual inter-college tournaments (called “Cuppers”) for all kinds of games. Anyone can usually enter a team for these tournaments, making some of them enormous – croquet cuppers is the largest croquet tournament in the world – while retaining a high degree of tolerance for beginners. It is impossible to overstate just how many sporting opportunities the University provides; I personally arrived at Oxford having never represented my school at anything, but have now represented college at football, cricket, table tennis and badminton – not through new-found ability, but because of the sheer number of teams and tournaments there are to get involved in.
Sport at Worcester
So what about sport at Worcester? Undoubtedly one of the best features of this college is that we have all our sports facilities within college grounds. When the college was built it was on the edge of town, meaning there was ample room for the for the fields that now contain our pitches (football, rugby and hockey in the winter, cricket and croquet in the summer) and tennis courts (3 hard courts all year round and 2 grass courts in summer). If this isn’t enough we also have a small but recently developed gym containing rowing machines, a cross-trainer, free weights and several weight machines, all free to use for college members. These excellent facilities (expertly maintained where necessary by a dedicated team of ground staff) have unsurprisingly enabled Worcester College to become something of a sporting powerhouse: in recent years we have been League champions in Hockey (both the Men’s and Women’s teams), Netball (Women) and Lacrosse (Mixed).
It should be said at this point that although most teams in College represent the JCR there is nothing to stop MCR members from joining them, in fact this is often keenly encouraged as the MCR is simply not large enough to have teams for everything. That is not to say that we don’t have some success on our own. Last year our football team finished second in the league, in a season that included a 19-0 humiliation of New College. As well as this we also fielded a cricket team for the first time in many years, with many beginners on board, and aquitted ourselves very well against vastly more experienced teams.
I hope I have managed to give you a flavour of the strength and depth of sport here at Oxford and convinced you that, at Worcester especially, you will have access to the best facilities and enjoy your sport, whatever your talent. Below are links to a couple of websites which may enthuse you still further about what you can do here, and if you have any questions about sport in the MCR, the college, or the University please feel free to email me, the MCR sports rep., at Sports.Worcestermcr@gmail.com.
http://www.sport.ox.ac.uk – the University sport website.
http://wcbc.worc.ox.ac.uk – Worcester College Boat Club
http://full-time.thefa.com/ProcessPublicSelect.do?psSelectedSeason=75781… – that’s right, the FA keep tabs on our MCR football team!
http://www.elmercottonoxford.co.uk – a great independent sports shop, just 5 mins walk from College.