The first sporting contest between the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford was held on 4 June 1827 during a two-day cricket match at Lord’s, the home of cricket. Fenner’s has been home to Cambridge University Cricket Club (CUCC) since 1848 and the earliest known regulations and rules of CUCC sit in the University Library dating back to 1820.
CUCC will be playing against the University of Oxford’s Cricket Club (OUCC) in the cricket’s Varsity Match from 3-6 September 2020 at Fenner’s. What makes this year’s Varsity Match extra special, is not only because it is the 200th anniversary of cricket at CUCC, but because it is the final year that the prestigious fixture will have first-class status, as accredited by the English Cricket Board (ECB) and International Cricket Council (ICC).
Cricket is the original “Full Blue” at Cambridge dating back to 1827, two years before the first boat race in 1829. A total of 88 test cricketers of various nationalities have worn the Cambridge Blue. Nationalities include South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Trinidad, Jamaica, Pakistan, and of course, England (75 caps).
CJBS has two students representing CUCC in the Varsity Match in 2020, namely Pieter Daneel (MBA) and Niel Botha (MPhil in Finance). The New Zealander Max Montgomery (MBA) unfortunately had to withdraw due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This experienced duo of South African first-class cricketers will be looking to help CUCC get the upper hand in this year’s fixture. CUCC has won two of the last five fixtures since 2015, with Oxford (OUCC) winning the remaining three. Up to and including 2019 a total of 175 Varsity matches have been played. CUCC has won 60, OUCC has won 58, and 56 have been drawn and one match (in 1988) was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
For many students, academics and sport go hand-in-hand. Not only does sport offer a welcome break from studying at Cambridge, but it also serves as a powerful tool to socialise and network across various disciplines. The 2019-2020 MBA cohort at Cambridge Judge has delivered various full and half Blues in sports varying from cricket, football, ice hockey, American football, Australian rules football, volleyball and also in chess.
Balancing the Cambridge MBA and CJBS commitments, consulting projects, research papers, and social activities, is part of the CJBS student athlete’s responsibility to not only excel academically, but also to represent the 800 years plus University of Cambridge with distinction and the necessary pride.
The CUCC cricket season was due to start in April 2020 with first-class fixtures against English counties. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted fixtures and prevented any cricket until late in summer. Thankfully, both CUCC and OUCC, in conjunction with the English Cricket Board, have been working extremely hard to make the 2020 fixture possible. The CJBS students are particularly appreciative of all the hard work behind the scenes and Cambridge University Sport’s support and flexibility to make this fixture possible.
Hopefully, come September 2020, Fenner’s will be Light Blue.