Sports Awards 2023 - Club of the Year Shortlist | Sport at Cambridge skip to content

Sports Awards 2023 - Club of the Year Shortlist

Featuring some of the all-round highest achieving clubs at Cambridge this year! 

These shortlistees have made it a year to remember, with plenty of achievements to celebrate.   

Got your tickets for the big event yet? Reserve them for free, and join us to see who is crowned Club of the Year at the Sports Awards Event on Monday 19th June. 


Demonstrating success in all areas, here's more about each of our nominees:  

1. Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC)

CUBC has had an incredible twelve months of sport, that began with winning the Women’s VL and coming second in the Overall VL at BUCS Regatta 2022. CUBC brought home 15 medals in 13 events, including Gold in every Lightweight Womens’ crew event. This was followed by two wins at Henley Women’s Regatta, and two crews making their respective finals at Henley Royal Regatta. Internationally, 2022 Blue Boat athletes Tom George, Ollie Wynne-Griffith, Imogen Grant, and Grace Prendergast won multiple medals at World Cups, European Championships, and the World Championships over the summer. Grace and Imogen both became World Champions in their respective events. 

Additionally over the summer, Gemma King won the Lightweight single at Home Internationals, and crews from the CUBC development squad won at Kingston Regatta. 

As the Boat Race season began again over the winter, the new squad won two events at Fours Head, and Luca Ferraro and Ollie Parish were fastest U23 pair at GB trials both in November and in February.  To top everything off, for only the third time in its history and five years after the last time, CUBC achieved a clean sweep in every single race against Oxford this year. LIghtweight spares, Lightweight Women’s Blue Boat, Lightweight Men’s Blue Boat, Openweight spares, Blondie, Goldie, Men’s Blue Boat, and Women’s Blue Boat. Cambridge also won the Men’s and Women’s Veterans Boat Race, and the exhibition race of the 2003 crews. This level of success as a club is rare, and is a testament to every member of CUBC.  

Working as a combined club for the last three years, CUBC has worked hard to make sure its development squads are accessible, and members of the 2022 development squads have raced in multiple crews this year. The club was led by Ollie Boyne and Caoimhe Dempsey, who shared their experience with a new squad with few returners. Through their leadership and the skills of the coaching team, CUBC has had its most successful year to date  

In nominating CUBC for Club of the Year for 2022-23, the principal focus is on the Club’s competitive success at all levels. In Boat Races Week 2023, CUBC swept Oxford in every event, from spares races, Reserve Boats and Lightweights to Openweight Blue Boats.  The results speak to the competitiveness of the Club and its athletes, taking victories where they were not expected, but they do not show the togetherness and mutual support that the Club’s integration from its three legacy clubs in 2020 has wrought. 

Before each race, members of every squad gathered to cheer on the crews as they boated, giving all crews belief in themselves greater than their opposition. This was commented upon by members of the opposition crews, showing how much further along Cambridge has moved in the last few years. Much speculation has followed the Clean Sweep as to the effect of the OneClub integration, but the effect on the Club’s overall competitiveness and support amongst the squads has been clear and its results have clearly outstripped those of Oxford.

CUBC has a strong focus on supporting participation within the University and wider afield. Both its men’s and women’s squads run development squads open to all who nominate throughout the year, supporting both athletes who wish to trial for CUBC in future years, or simply to improve their rowing and support their college progress. These students will frequently race for the University at BUCS, winning beginner and movie pennants, and many will trial in following years for CUBC, where a number of won Blues and continued through to Under 23 or Senior International representation with great success. The Club also supports participation initiatives within the squad, including the provision of sports medicine services, nutritional support, and psychological support. The last of these is particularly positive, as recent members of the squad support those who may be struggling in their trialling or studies more widely.

CUBC also supports participation in the wider community, supporting the initiatives of the Gemini Boat Races Bursary, which operates at sites including Ely College.  Club members attend the college to speak on how rowing has supported them to achieve their academic and other goals. CUBC has also established a relationship with East Anglia Youth Rowing, which provides the opportunity for disadvantaged students across East Anglia to experience rowing both indoor and on water. 

CUBC continues to work towards sustainability initiatives, as it has reviewed its operations with the University Zero Carbon team. LED lighting will be installed in the Goldie Boathouse, and the Club is researching clean energy provision, including solar panelling at the Ely Boathouse. The Club’s forthcoming coaching launches will be electric, reducing the carbon footprint of the preparation for the Boat Races.  


2. Cambridge University Cruising Club (CUCrC)

Represented the University in all BUCS events we are eligible for, with Tim Hire winning the non-asymmetric fleet at BUCS fleets and three team-racing teams making it to BUCS Team Racing Finals or Playoffs, with at least 8 team members new to university team racing.

In team racing successes: Cambridge Red (2s) won the Brummy Boom (uni event), Cambridge Blue (1s) won the Bristol Brew (uni event), were the top BUCS team at the Top Gun (invitational event for the top 7 university teams in the country), 2nd BUCS team at UKTRA (UK Team Racing Nationals) and the 3rd BUSA team at the Cam Cup (event that Cambridge hosts). Red and Blue were 2nd and 3rd BUCS team at the Oxford Magnum (uni event) respectively, and came 1st and 2nd at BUCS Team Racing Qualifiers, with Blue undefeated and Red only losing to Blue. Yellow had respectable results at the Boom, Brew and Turtle, and proceeded to BUSA playoffs after Qualifiers. The women’s team also came second at the Women’s BUSA TR championships.

At BUCS team racing finals, Cambridge Blue won BUCS Gold, and Cambridge Red were the 5th BUCS team, and the highest placed second team, beating many other university first teams to be the only second team to make it to the quarter-finals, the next second team came 11th. 


CUCrC has made a successful return to match racing this year, with two teams attending RYA WMR1 in January, with the two teams the 1st and 2nd fully uni student teams. Two teams also went to the RYA Womens match racing championships and came 4th and 8th overall. To round off the year - the club achieved joint 3rd at the BUCS MR championships in April. 

CUCrC successfully hosted the Cam Cup event for 24 teams, led by Gordon Sivarajan. Lucius Bligh and Gordon Sivarajan secured the opportunity to host BUCS Team Racing Finals, resulting in a well-received event with a memorable dinner at St. John's College, organised by Rosie Jones. All members in their second year and beyond are part of our dedicated committee, ensuring smooth club operations, Magnus Handley, our Commodore, who despite not sailing this year, has put enormous time and effort into the club. 

Commitment to matters off the water: Successfully attained the RYA/The Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge Gold Award, and on the casual sailing side CUCrC has built up its biggest casual sailing contingent since the pandemic. Under the keen leadership of Ralph Battle many new people have found the fun in sailing and several have progressed rapidly from zero experience through multiple RYA levels in the space of a year, and they are now keen sailors frequently coming on outings. Female participation has increased, with women now making up over half the team—a possible first in Cambridge Sailing history. 

This year's team racing captain Olly Perkins has run training sessions at least two days a week all year, not including week long preseason training sessions, for the top 3 team racing teams all year. 


3. Cambridge University Ladies' Netball Club (CULNC)

CULNC have had a great year. With record numbers at preseason and trials and an extremely strong fresher intake, the season was set to be strong throughout.

Noticeable performances include our Blues staying up in Division 1, placing 3rd behind only Loughborough 2s and Birmingham 2s. This is the first time in a number of years that our Blues have successfully remained in Division 1. Our 2s remained in a strong Division 2, our 3s gained promotion to Division 4 and our 4s have beaten some strong local teams (including Cojags 3s and 4s, The Leys School and Swifts).  Our Development Squad has also gone from strength to strength - with a good turn out each week, some friendly matches and their first ever Varsity match!

Varsity was a huge success for the club. Our Development Squad (now called the Robins) had a really close game vs Oxford 5s, with a close game up until halftime before Oxford ran away with it at the end. Our Wrens won an extremely close game - with a new fresher Fran Shutt being awarded MVP due to her faultless shooting. Our Swallows dominated their match from start to finish, winning convincingly, whilst our Jays had a nail biting match, losing just by one goal at the end. MVPs for Swallows and Jays went to Georgia Baker and Jenny Dunstan, respectively. The Blues match was hotly contested from both sides, however, we were able to hold our nerve to win by 6 goals - the first time the Light Blues have won netball Varsity in 7 years. Overall, this meant we were awarded the overall Varsity win by 3 matches to 2 - an amazing come back from last year where we lost 3-1. All matches had an amazing atmosphere with the stands filling up - the day's success was a real testament to the hard work put in by all players and coaches throughout the season.

It's been an absolute pleasure to captain this amazing group of women and I am immensely proud of not only our achievements this season but also the amazing friendships and bonds we have fostered.   


4. Cambridge University Orienteering Club (CUOC)


• Consistently over 30 participants at Club Nights in Michaelmas. Successful program of training sessions for newcomers. Started with the basics on week 1, by week 4 everyone participated in a Knock-Out Sprint competition very competently, showing progression. 

 • Inclusive & wholesome socials - pizza, pasta and pudding evenings after training.  

• Currently 31 members, up ~20% from last academic year. Half of the new members this year are total newcomers to orienteering, but are very active in the club already. 

 • Over 200 sign ups at Sports Fair, and over our 4 taster sessions we estimate ~60 newcomers gave orienteering a go. 

 • Effective coordination with local club, WAOC, together providing a Club Night (training or MapRun league) every Wednesday in term time. 

 • ‘Classroom’ session about contours to prepare newcomers for BUCS and Varsity Terrain, making these two competitions less daunting for our newcomers. 



 • BUCS 2023 (Edinburgh) – team of 20, 2nd overall (up from team of 15 and 3rd overall in 2022). Individuals: Peter Molloy (2nd), Sophie Preston awarded 2nd Best Newcomer 

 • Varsity 2023 (Czechia) – team of 16, both Women’s and Men’s teams won! (Up from team of 7 and loss in 2022) 

 • Marked growth in the size of our teams for this year demonstrates the extent to which the club’s active membership has grown. Notably, we are now in a position to field a strong Women’s team, due to quick progression of several newcomers; in previous years, this has not been the case. 

 • Peter Molloy, Olly Tonge and James Ackland representing CUOC internationally - Peter & James at World Uni Champs 2022, Peter & Olly at JWOC 2022 

 • Our BUCS performance qualified 5 members to travel to European Uni Champs in Switzerland in August. 

 • East Anglia (EAOA) Champs 2022 – 3 winners: Adam Harris (M20); Sophie Preston – newcomer (W21); Dom Dakin (M21) 


Leadership & Events:  

• February 2023, CUOC hosted the Icenian Sprints, incorporating the English Uni Champs. Over 300 attendees, many positive comments received on quality of courses, event organisation, communication, branding and website ( – entirely organised by undergrads Dom Dakin & Sarah Pedley. Profits subsidise Varsity. 

 • Looking to future, already got vast majority of permissions required for Cambridge City Race (October 2023), so this promises to be an excellent event.  

• March 2024, CUOC will be hosting BUCS, and planning for this is already underway (Peter Molloy Organising). 

 • 5 first time planners at Wednesday Club Nights and MapRuns events over past 2 terms.  

• 9 members completed first aid training course.  

• Tom Fryers advanced web development skills by modernising website: 

 • Sarah Pedley - planned first course in Michaelmas Term 2022. Her courses for the regional Icenian Sprints Final were the 2nd set of courses she’d ever planned. Completed Event Safety Workshop. 

 • Dom Dakin - completed linked sessions for Level 2 Coaching Qualification at Wednesday Club Nights. First time organising a regional event on own. 


Sustainability: train and bus travel by whole team to BUCS (Edinburgh). Car sharing to events in East Anglian region. Several members took train (not flights) to Czechia. 


5. Cambridge University Triathlon Club (CUTriC)

Participation: Boosted our memberships: increased numbers by 56% from Nov '22 to ET '23 (140 members today). People keep flowing in because of our very positive attitude, our dedicated committee, and our incredibly supportive team spirit.

We are one of the most accessible, inclusive, and diverse Cambridge Uni sports club: ~50% members are triathlon beginners, we have a balanced ratio of undergraduate/graduate students, and we invite visiting students, postdoc, staff members and alumni in most of our training sessions, events, and races.We doubled the number of people racing from MT '22 to LT '23: 61 people racing varsity triathlon '23 is our record attendance, with a significant increase in female participation. 

Performance: Top female triathlete Phoebe Barker became national champion in Duathlon '23

We won Varsity Triathlon '23 men's and female's team for the first time since 2010 (both first teams and mob matches)

We created our first female competitive team with 12 triathletes to support them with specific training needs and talks ("training according to your period" etc.) 

Leadership: Excellent teamwork within the committee: we ramped up the number of trainings sessions and events offered in LT '23 to face demand from growth in membership: 1 social event/week and 1-3 training sessions/day in running, cycling, swimming, stretching/yoga and s&c. Individuals outside the committee keep offering free professional coaching as a result of our club committee's positive leadership: Phoebe Barker coached running technique, Sarah Barron offered s&c, Hanyang & Margaux Durand coached swimming technique.

The whole CUTriC community raised £>260 to thank our club president Ed Cator for the incredible work and long-lasting impact he's had on the club. We have received more candidates to the upcoming CUTriC committee elections than in previous years and have opened new committee positions to help the club grow faster (see below). 

Sustainability: Secure short-term finances: Went from >1k debt at the start of MT '22 to break-even in LT '23 and >3k cashflow positive at the start of ET '23 (with >3k expected by end of ET '23). Secured long-term finances: signed in our first sponsor (>1.5k from Mill Mediterranean coffeeshop), created 1 committee position (sponsorship officer), received several club discounts from sports and local brands (goggles, wetsuits, training apps etc)Invested in long-term training equipment (1 wetsuit and 3 race belts donated by CUTriC members, bike and turbo maintenance)

Strengthened relations with alumni: created 1 committee position (alumni officer), organised 2 events for alumni, including the 10th anniversary club dinner at the Hawk's club 

CUTriC is more than a sports club. It is a real family. We are keen to learn and grow together and we cannot wait to support our community of triathletes to thrive and do even better next year!