The late fifties and early sixties – Cambridge dominating Varsity
(text and team pictures by Tom Davis, Trinity Hall 1958, added by Michael Hofstetter in January 2022 and January 2023)
Oliver Nick’s letter in the Cambridge University Alumni relations site was the first I’ve heard from the club since I left in 1963. It sent me back over 60 years to when I played for Cambridge from 1958-59 to 1962-63 and to my basement to see what I could find.
Jim Plumpton, Downing was Captain in 58- 59 and worked tirelessly to get light blue status for the club. I don’t know if your records give him credit for that.
I had played college ball for four years and Jim asked if I would coach the team. I accepted willingly and continued to play and coach for the next five years. Succeeding captains never questioned why I was coach, so I happily continued.
The team in that era was made up completely of Americans and English, usually a handful of Americans and the rest from England. We practiced in Fenners gym, a tiny facility in a building near the University’s cricket grounds that was never meant for basketball. (The foul lanes almost touched the sidelines). I doubt that gym even exists anymore.
Despite these conditions, we were enthusiastic, practiced twice a week and played games against local colleges and the three powerhouse teams in London. Before the Oxford match. We would practice a few times at a local Army base.
We beat Oxford five years in a row. The scores were as follows:
1959 36 34
1960 65 52
1961 44 42
1962 68 38
1963 45 39
If anyone has the time and interest to look through the archives of Light Blue there were several articles about the team starting with Easter 1959 through 1963.
I’ve always loved the game and thoroughly enjoyed my years playing at Cambridge. It provided much needed respite from working on my PhD in mathematics.
Tom Davis, Trinity Hall 1958