The late seventies – Oxford on top, all sports Varsity Games at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
Thank you for the (not so) recent email about University basketball and the centenary of basketball in Cambridge. Apologies for a tardy reply.
I played for the University in my 3 years as an undergraduate (1976-7, 1977-8, 1978-9). In the latter two years I captained the University team and was President of the Varsity games- leading the organisation of the games at what was then termed the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in 1979 with Oxford having arranged things the previous year.
During those years the University team played the British universities (BUSF) tournament and the Varsity match as a distinct team- with some warm up games ahead of those matches- and players were part of the Cambridge town team that played in local and regional leagues and National cup competition. During those years Oxford were a particularly strong side and won all 3 of the Varsity matches and, as I recollect, the 3 British universities championships. Our best showing in those was in Cardiff in 1977 when we beat Scotland in the third place playoff game. (The other championships were held in Bath and Glasgow.). Cambridge did,however, win the Varsity Games overall in each of the 3 years.
Training sessions were held at Howard Mallett youth club and local league matches were played there and regional and cup games at Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre.
We organised a Cuppers competition in 1978- which was won by Christ’s ( my college) with 7-8 college teams participating. I don’t think we held Cuppers the following year holding a mixed social ‘competition’ instead.
Having run the Cambridge end of the Varsity games at ( a small) profit I was able to purchase a new team kit with University funding coming through the Old Schools administration. ( They were rather pleased that the Games made a bigger profit the following year after years of subsidised losses.)
The undergraduate photo is from 1979 and I am bottom right as you look holding the Varsity Games trophy with the photo being ‘ recreated’ at a College year group reunion in 2011. ( Both photos were published in the Christ’s annual magazine (2012) so the alumni office would have better digital copies if required. The original photo was used for the 1980 magazine.
In the original the trophies held – going clockwise from top are tennis ( either Cuppers or Varsity), soccer- Cuppers, Varsity Games, volleyball Varsity and soccer League. The photo should also have featured the Bowring Bowl and the University rugby captain John Robbie ( Ireland and British and Irish Lions) but for some reason John didn’t make it.