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96th Varsity Match – Cambridge v Oxford

Saturday March 11th will see a contingent of Cambridge women take to the pitch for the first time at midday at Newnham College Sports Ground, and (in a twist on Varsity) combine forces with Oxford women’s team to play against the London based, Wandsworth Demons women’s team.

 Last year’s exhibition game between Oxford and the University of Birmingham

The 97th Aussie Rules men’s Varsity match, first played in 1911, will take place at 2pm at St John’s playing fields, the traditional Varsity home ground for Cambridge. A heavier than expected player turnover has caused a few headaches for Cambridge men’s team but they remain upbeat about wrestling the Varsity Cup back after Oxford’s narrow victory last year at their home ground. As always, the match will be a hard fought contest and with some exciting new additions to both teams thrown into the mix, it will be a great game to watch.

Come down and support the Aussie Rules inaugural Women’s game in Cambridge, then stay on for the Men’s game as Cambridge and Oxford battle it out to become the 2017 Varsity champions!

Last year’s varsity game came down to the final kick of the game.

By David Sykes

 

Fitzpatrick Cup 2017 – Review

A last-minute pitch change and some early rain didn’t deter participants at the weekends annual Fitzpatrick Cup hosted by the University College Cork (UCC).

With 8 men’s and 3 women’s teams in action it was always going to be a great day of Aussie Rules action.

Despite the muddy pitches, Group A got off to a flying start with UCC 1 and Irish Uni’s claiming early victories. Group B started in similar fashion with Oxford 1 and Mixed ARFLI showing their class.

Mixed ARFLI went through the Group stages undefeated but were unable to progress as they were acting as a top-up team after a disappointing late withdrawal from reigning champions, University of Birmingham.

The standings following the Group stages:

Group A
Team PlayedWinLossDrawPointsForAgainstPercentage
UCC 133001215218844.44
Irish Uni’s321088459142.37
Cambridge31204378344.58
Oxford 23030091227.38
Group B
Team PlayedWinLossDrawPointsForAgainstPercentage
Mixed ARFLI33001212937348.65
UCC 2321087973108.22
Oxford 131204478257.32
Maynooth30300349735.05

 

The women’s competition was hotly contested with Maynooth claiming two early victories to sit atop of the table following the Group stages. They were closing matched-up with UCC and were scheduled to play in the grand final later in the afternoon after finishing second.

The standings following the Group stages:

Women
Team PlayedWinLossDrawPointsForAgainstPercentage
Maynooth220084614328.57
UCC21100161984.21
Oxford20200154434.09

The Men’s semi-finals pitted UCC 1 against Oxford 1 and Mixed Uni’s against UCC 2 to determine who would be playing off in the Grand Final.

UCC 1 lifted another level to easily account for a valiant Oxford 1 outfit with the final score reading 77 to 12.

The other semi-final went down to the wire with UCC 2 eventually getting over the line in a 1-point thriller. Final score in that game read 24 to 23.

The women’s final was between Maynooth and UCC after they finished in the top 2 of the division. Only 4-points separated these two teams in the Group stages and with Irish Banshees Head Coach, Pat Leavy watching from the side-lines it was always going to be a tight contest.

The first half proved just that with possession hotly contested and the scoreboard reflecting accordingly. UCC got the better of the second half and overran the previously undefeated Maynooth women claiming the Fitzpatrick Cup with a score line of 30 to 8.

It was destined to be a UCC clean sweep of the Fitzpatrick Cup but it was yet to be decided which men’s team was going to take the spoils. UCC 2 were the obvious underdogs but the chance to knock off their older rivals in UCC 1 meant that they were primed and ready to go.

The first half was a thriller with both teams putting it all on the line. A couple of quick goals got UCC 1 out to a 3-goal lead going into half-time. UCC 2 scored the first goal of the second half and the crowd was calling for an upset.

The more experienced heads of the UCC 1 boys proved too much to overcome for the 2s with some late goals blowing out the score line, 50 to 14. A well-deserved clean sweep for all involved at the UCC Aussie Rules program.

Special congratulation to John Enright who came away with the Golden Whistle for his excellent performance both on the pitch but also off it for arranging the umpire squad and formalizing the umpiring appointments.

Player of the Tournament for the men went to Paul Murphy of UCC 1 which topped of a great week for him after being named in the first five Irish Warriors to be selected for the International Cup in August.

Best on Ground in the final for the women went to UCC’s Eimear Sexton for her ferocity around the contest throughout the entire game.

Extra special thanks to all the volunteers who assisted in putting on a fantastic day of football along with the organising committee at UCC for making sure the day ran smoothly.

The countdown to the Fitzpatrick Cup 2018 is on!

Women’s Champions – UCC Crusaders

Men’s Champions – UCC 1 

For more event photos jump click through the following links

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AFL.Europe.Ltd/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1393565570663928

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AFL.Europe.Ltd/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1393598833993935

 

Fitzpatrick Cup – Tournament Preview

The Fitzpatrick Cup is upon us. Tomorrow is the day a new universities champion will be crowned for both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Heavy rainfall wreaked havoc on the UCC grounds earlier in the week but with sunshine and a balmy 6 degrees forecast for tomorrow we’ll be expecting fast-paced action from the get go.

The day kicks off at 11am with three pitches in action throughout the day. The men’s division will be played off amongst 8 teams in 2 Groups.  The top two teams in each Group will progress to the semi-finals while the bottom two in each will battle it out for the minor placings. The Groups are as follows:

Group A:

  1. UCC 1
  2. Oxford 2
  3. Irish Uni’s
  4. Cambridge

Group B:

  1. Oxford 1
  2. Maynooth
  3. UCC 2
  4. Mixed ARFLI

The women’s division will consist of 3 teams, UCC, Maynooth and Oxford, with the top two progressing straight into the Grand Final at 3:30pm.

The full tournament fixture along with the live streaming link can be found on the AFL Europe website (afleurope.org).

On the eve of the Fitzpatrick Cup we caught up with tournament organiser, UCC Head Coach and all-round good bloke, Eoin O’Sullivan, for a quick chat.

How’s the tournament preparation coming together?

“Everything is looking good at this stage, a few hiccups here and there along the way, but it’s coming together well. Pitches are ready, players and umpires en route, it’s shaping up to be a great day’s footy. Just hope we get the weather to match!”

How are the teams shaping up?

“Well, I suppose we have home advantage so we’d hope to be strong around the ground. Our difficulty has been picking 16, our second squad is as strong as the first! But looking through the lists, the Mixed Uni team are very strong in every line, and Oxford have recently beaten Birmingham too, and are travelling strong, so they’ll be a serious outfit. I know the Maynooth lads have put in serious prep, and have a few tidy players in their list. Also, I’ve played against one or 2 of the Cambridge boys, they don’t miss, and in short games like this, accuracy is vital. So, it’s wide open really.”

Any players to keep an eye on?

“Singling out players is always difficult, giving them a tag is added pressure. I never had it when I played, and sure was class, but nobody knew! I’m sure these boys will love the limelight though, so I’ll drop a few names. UCC have 3 Jacks, 2 Oisin’s, 2 James’, and 2 Kev’s, they’ll surely produce something between them. Maynooth have Darragh O Morain, he’s bound to play well someday. Mixed Uni’s have Hally. That’s all that needs to be said on that. Cambridge have Mossy Harrington up top, the closest thing there is to a Buddy Franklin in Europe. And Oxford have Geoff Pascoe, a man that knows all the rules, and will surely push them to the limit for their cause.”

Who’s going to come away from Fitzpatrick Cup in 2017?

“Ah c’mon, you can’t ask me that! Having 2 dogs in the fight, I’d like to think that UCC can make it an all Cork Grand Final. No doubt the other boys will be out to stop that, but our boys are boasting a mix of youth, experience, National Team players and hardy b*****ds in both squads!”

Cambridge Team Preview – Fitzpatrick Cup 2017

In the lead up to the 2017 Fitzpatrick Cup to be held in Cork, Ireland on the 4th February we’ll be taking a look at each side attending the annual universities tournament. Next up in the previews are the boys from Cambridge University.

Cambridge have been off the pace in the past two Fitzpatrick Cup’s and will be hoping to improve on past results come February 4.

Fitzpatrick Cup history

Struggled in 2016, looking to improve on that in 2017.

Players to watch?

Mossy Harrington (Old but wily as a fox), Alex Westin Hardy (He’ll snap you in half if he catches you) and Mike D’Angelo (never gives up).

So, who’s in charge?

Chris Jacob – Club President – American – Beard – All Round nice guy.

Aims for the tournament?

Winning a match (or half of one).

Who’s got the X factor?

Nick Walpole, a gun forward with good hands and a solid right boot.

How’s the preparation going?

Good, solid training sessions over the last couple of months, combination of skills sessions and PT have really seen the team gel on and off the field. A couple of the newer guys have really developed well and it will be exciting to see how the team performs. Also, full English breakfast following team training.

What are your teams main attributes?

Cohesion, effort and discipline.

Around the Grounds

#EuroCup16 wraps up for another year

The 2016 Euro Cup in Lisbon was held over the weekend under clear blue skies and a scorching sun. With 374 players from 16 countries across 22 teams participating the day was an incredible success.

The main pitch was live streamed throughout the day with a record number of people tuning in from all over the globe. Blow-by-blow commentary for the majority of the day brought the games to life and make for great viewing on replay.

irish

Under a setting sun on the main pitch the crowd grew to watch the finals matches. Congratulations to the Netherlands (Plate), France (Bowl), Ireland (Women’s Champions) and Croatia (Men’s Champions) for claiming victory in their respective divisions.

A special thank you to our three pitch manager’s Fanny Maillett, Laura Pinckney and Hayley Canton for ensuring the day ran smoothly along with our umpiring squad led by Shane Hill.

Stay tuned for a full event report in the coming days.

croatia

Sparky joins the big time after AFL Women’s Draft

Wimbledon Hawks stalwart, Lauren Spark, became the second Hawk to join the newly formed AFL Women’s League for 2017. She was taken at pick 76 by the Western Bulldogs.

Sparky’s selection sets up a mouthwatering clash with Hawks teammate, Kate Shierlaw, at some stage next year.

We wish both girls all the best in the inaugural AFL Women’s league.

Australian Masters kick off tour with a win

The Australian Masters side which is touring England and Ireland have kicked off their campaign with an 11-point victory over Oxford University at Merton Sports Ground.

oxford

The boys will have to rest up as they visit the Australian High Commission today before taking on an AFL England All-Stars side in Reading on Saturday. Further details on that match at the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1058075340928430/

CNFA season kicks off this weekend

The CNFA season is upon us with round 1 of the 2016/17 season kicking off this weekend. The Paris Cockatoos will be hoping to avoid second year blues after they claimed the premiership in their first season against the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes in the season decider earlier this year in June.

Its set to be a fantastic year of Aussie rules action in the CNFA. Check out the fixtures below:

14700893_1239729862716641_6292702055318634685_o

Hawks and Demons covering all bases

The Wimbledon Hawks and Wandsworth Demons supplied record numbers of participants to this year’s Euro Cup.

The Hawks had players in 5 of the 16 countries:

England: Jason Hill, Myles Hudson, David Hastie, Jennifer Bennett, Louise Darby, Lisa Wilson, Charlotte-Ellen Eales and Jess Milford

France: Chloe Romeo

Scotland: Rachel Kilmartin, Lauren Spark (Coach), Kate Shierlaw (Assistant)

Ireland: Stiofan Mac Finn

Wales: Jordan Wynne

The Demons had a total of 22 club members playing or coaching for 4 countries, umpiring or volunteering in an amazing show of community involvement.

Well done to both clubs for great achievements and for all their efforts ensuring the 2016 installment of the Euro Cup was a great success.

14632749_10153961799843597_1688725602_o

 

 

 

Oxford Univesity take on Amsterdam.

Oxford University visited Amsterdam for their end of season tour, bringing with them 15 men and 6 ladies ready for some footy and lots of Amsterdam madness!

 

The main fixture saw a 10-a-side game of 20 minute quarters take place on the Grandstand pitch at SportPark De Eendracht. With a mixed bag of weather, from bitterly cold and windy to crack open the sunscreen. It was clear that the team who made best use of the conditions would be in pole position for the win. The first quarter was an even affair, with neither team really stamping their authority on the game and the Devils, kicking against the wind, taking a slender lead into the first break. In the second quarter things really started to open up for the Devils and they made sure they took advantage of the wind, kicking 7 goals in the quarter and taking a commanding 43 points lead into the main break. From there the game was the Devils to lose. Oxford fought hard in the third term and applied some good pressure in the middle but weren’t able to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard and the Devils lead by 51 points at the three quarter time. During the fourth quarter the Devils kicked with another 7 goals, however Oxford didn’t let them have it completely their own way with some big hits still being laid in the last term. The Devils came out victorious 20.19 (139) to 7.6 (48).

 

Next up was the Mixed Game, with three of the Oxford Ladies donning Devils jerseys for the chance to face off against their team mates. The format was 9-a-side non-contact footy, with each team being joined by six men from the main fixture. This was truly a game of two halves with Oxford racing to a half time lead of 15 points with some great footy on show by the ladies and accurate goal kicking. The Devils turned things around in the second half, showing off their silky skills and took the lead with less than two minutes left on the clock. Oxford then turned on the magic to kick a great team goal and the scores were level with 42 seconds remaining. The clock seemed to slow down (well, at least to the Devils fans on the sidelines) and Oxford were applying some great pressure, the Devils defence doing everything they could to keep Oxford at bay. As the clock ticked, 3, 2, 1 – Oxford couldn’t find a clean enough possession to get a shot on goal and the final siren sounded. The first draw of the season, and what a game it was. Frantic play at the end to get a winner, but to no avail. The final score ended up Amsterdam Devils Mixed 6.6 (42) to Oxford University Mixed 6.6 (42). 

 

After the game we hosted a BBQ with mouth watering burgers, hot dogs and potato salad on offer. This was devoured before a #nofilter photo could be taken unfortunately but the food was definitely enjoyed by one and all. Followed by a presentation for the Best On Ground and Hard Nut from each side in the Men’s fixture and the two Best On Grounds in the mixed fixture (see below for the winners). A mini boat race was the prize for the award winners, with Oxford showing their boat race experience winning by one person, in a three person race. Sensational viewing!  

 

Both teams then headed to Drovers Dog (Dog 3) for a social event that consisted of more drinking games than anyone could keep track of. It was at Dog 3 where Oxford challenged the Devils to an eight person boat race. Chests were puffed out and there were death stares across the table, but none of that mattered as Oxford continued their strong form with another victory by one person. The Devils were clearly gutted but couldn’t take anything away from what was clearly an experienced boat race team! 

 

A fantastic day of footy and socialising was had by all. Look out for the return fixture next season, and the Devils making improvements in their boat race form!

 

Devils BOG: Julian Poole

Devils Hard Nut: Reinier Jacco Maarten Vriend

 

Oxford BOG: Sean Morris

Oxford Hard Nut: Wande McCunn

 

Ladies BOGs: Liz Murray (Devils) & Emma Coulson (Oxford)

 

Written by Neil Cooke for AFL Europe