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150 Years of Varsity Football

This year marks 150 years of Varsity Football, and to mark the occasion rare photos from the Cambridge archives have been revealed for the first time to celebrate the historic Oxbridge anniversary.


Much has changed in the game since 1874, when the inaugural event was played at The Oval, but some things never change, and once again the Light Blues will renew their rivalry with the Dark Blues on Friday 15th March at The Abbey, home of Cambridge United FC. 

“It’s incredible to look back and see the players that came before us and what an incredible legacy we all get to be a part of”

CUAFC 2023-24 Captains Cai La Trobe-Roberts, Abbie Hastie and Emilia Keavney


Above: Vintage-style posters designed for this year's event


Another historic first...

On the anniversary of the 150th year of the Blues Varsity match, along with the release of the photos, another historic first played out at the annual Reserves Varsity, with the first ever women's third team fixture.

The event, held at Oxford City FC, saw the recently formed Cambridge Merlins take on the Oxford Phoenixes, with a 7-0 result to Cambridge, with goals from Irene Bermudo Baguena (Pembroke), Pauline Luise Pfuderer (Peterhouse), Sabrina Ghosh (Murray Edwards) & Izzie Romeo (Magdalene). It was a history-making result, as the biggest margin of victory for Blues or Reserves, men or women, in 150 years.  

The victory set the tone for a successful day for Cambridge at the Reserves Varsity, with 3-2 victories for the Eagles (Women's 2nd team) and the Falcons (Men's 2nd team), while the Kestrels (Men's 3rd team) were defeated 1-0. 

Above: The Merlins celebrate victory in the inaugural women's third team event, on the anniversary of the 150th year // Credit: Emmanuel Beaufrere


Join us!

Cambridge will be looking to make it five victories out of a possible six on Friday 15th March, when the Men’s and Women’s Blues take to the field. It promises to be a special occasion. Be part of it, and join us for the 150th Varsity Football match.

Read more about the history of the Football Varsity event, and take a look at more of the rare photos released from the University Library archives.

The 1893-1894 season's team, when the match was played at Queen's Club. Credit: Mark Box / Cambridge University Library