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Sports Awards 2024 - College Team of the Year Shortlist

New for 2024, it’s the College Team of the Year Award!

This award is for recognising and celebrating the teams who best demonstrate the College sport values of respect, participation, sportsmanship and enjoyment.

The award could be for a College team who has actively improved the provision for the student community at their college with new or improved participation opportunities, or achieved success both on and off the pitch.

Got your tickets for the big event yet? Reserve them for free, and join us to see who is crowned College Team of the Year at the Sports Awards Event on Monday 17th June. 

Here's more about each of our nominees: 


1. All Greys Rugby Union Football Club

All Greys RUFC is the college rugby team of the postgraduate/mature colleges: Wolfson, St. Edmunds, Hughes Hall, Darwin and Clare Hall. As it is predominantly postgraduates, there is a large amount of turnove year on year and so building the cohesion necessary for a successful team is difficult. Despite this, All Greys RUFC won the College Rugby League Division 2 for the first time, going unbeaten, and the Bowl in Cuppers. To add to this success, they were awarded the Fair Play award by Cambridge University and District Rugby Referee Society as the college rugby team which most promotes a sporting attitude within student rugby and secures respect, support and appreciation for referees and laws of the game.  

However, the off-field work surpasses the on-field success. They raised £530 for the Movember foundation during November, and a further £1090 for the charity Break. This latter fundraiser was for the annual Jack Merritt Memorial match, in memory of a former player killed during the 2019 London Bridge stabbings. 


2. Churchill Christs Cavendish Football Club 

The Churchill Christs Cavendish Football Club (CCC) is a welcoming, friendly, and spirited college team that is a home for all of its players. Last year, the team boasted an undefeated season, finishing at the top of the league table. However, with the graduation of many of CCC's players, the team saw an almost entirely new roster for the 2023-24 season, many of whom had never played football before. For many, it was daunting to join a new sports team. Yet, the team captain, Sophie Claxton from Churchill College, demonstrated leadership, patience, determination, and kindness to inspire in all of these players an appreciation for football, regardless of their skill level. Though the beginning of the season saw a few tough losses as the new CCC found it's footing, the team had their triumphant first win in their last match of Michaelmas term. CCC brought this momentum into the new year -- CCC proudly won one more impressive league match, meaning they have held their place in the first division for college women's football, and have made it to the plate knockout bracket finals. These wins have been very meaningful for the team to experience together. 

Of course, the outcomes of the matches do not tell the full story. The players of CCC demonstrate a love of the sport, that manifests in commitment and sportsmanship. Both those new to the sport and those who had played for years showed extreme dedication to improvement. CCC players regularly attended the Monday "Give It a Go" women's football session, sometimes dominating the session's attendance, and organized several practices beyond the once-a-week match (which were optional, but well-attended). The appreciation of the sport was also shared with the other teams by giving three cheers for their opponents after every match.  

Off the pitch, the team has a wonderful culture too. This year, the team started a tradition of going for hot chocolate or smoothies after matches. Besides getting to debrief the match, everyone has gotten to know each other as well-rounded people. The players also went to a formal at Lucy Cavendish, which was followed by a "Just Dance" party in the Churchill JCR. Friendships on the team have blossomed because of these social events. Whenever players see each other around Cambridge, a smile and wave are now always exchanged at minimum. A newly elected board which includes new positions for Wellbeing Officers and Social Officers indicates the team's commitment to growing its community. CCC supports the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of players through participation in team sport and inclusion in this warm and caring community. 

From struggling with attendance at the beginning of the year to frequently having subs for matches and hosting well-attended trainings and social events, the team has grown in size, skill, and community over the past year. CCC stands out for its supportive culture and wholehearted appreciation of the sport of football, and is therefore incredibly deserving of the College Team of the Year award. 


3. Jesus College Rugby Union Football Club 

Jesus College Rugby Club (JCRUFC) won cuppers for the first time ever (which we believe dates back approximately 100 years).  

Managed a huge recruitment and increased participation this year so that the team could consistently put out a full line-up.  

Integrated training sessions with the local Cantabs rugby club to improve the quality of coaching and training facilities. 

Acquired new sponsorships with Brewhouse and Flowers by Pinky to help fund kit and equipment throughout the year. 

For a total points difference of +126 

The year has also had 10 new players join the club, sponsorship deal with the Cambridge Brewhouse and Flowers by Pinky, the first ‘Old Boys’ event since pre-Covid, setup of an online merchandise store with Kitlocker, and competitive training sessions run against Old Cantabrigians RFC in town. 


4. Jesus College Women’s and Non-Binary Football Club 

They have the best team spirit and most welcoming attitude of any club. Not only do they encourage women and non-binary athletes into football, they perform having won cuppers this year, and reach the final for many years in a row. Everyone involved always gives it their all and encourages those around them to do the same. They always bring a crowd to their games as they are always favourites to win and as a single college womens football club, has to be given credit for what they have achieved.  

Very few clubs has the diversity, attitude and success that JCWNBFC has and I'm sure they will continue to thrive as they have done in previous years. 


5. Sidney Sussex Squash Club 

Sidney Sussex College Squash Team have had a fabulous year. When I arrived in Cambridge in October, the team had disbanded and no longer had any active members. We now have over 40 members, which makes us one of the biggest college squash teams in Cambridge, and we have had a team compete this season in the inter-collegiate squash league, where we won our division whilst remaining unbeaten. We also reached the quarter-finals of cuppers, an impressive feat considering 3 of the team had first picked up a squash racket this academic year. Considering the significant interest we have garnered, we have applied to enter a 2nd team into the collegiate competition from next year. 

We have run beginner sessions throughout Michaelmas and Lent, encouraging more complete beginners to pick up the sport, and have thus got many people playing that had no previous exposure to squash. We continue to run a weekly session during Easter term as a break from revision, open to everyone.  

We have been using the facilities at St John’s courts, which during Michaelmas and Lent terms were in a poor state. The court surface was slippery and dangerous, and brickwork was falling onto the playing surface, as well as the out-of-court lines peeling away. Following a successful lobbying of the John’s bursar, we persuaded the college to refurbish the courts, which they did so to great effect during the Easter vacation. The courts are now safer and more enjoyable to use.  

In terms of our own court in the grounds of Sidney Sussex, it has been out of action for over 4 years. We begun a campaign in October to get the court back to use, and we are finally beginning to see the fruits of that resilience. We have written letters to the Bursar and Master, as well as reaching out to alumni through law events, and finally we have submitted a proposal for a full refurbishment with over 100 signatures from students, fellows, porters and other staff. The proposal is on the agenda at the next Building Committee meeting, and we hope it will be approved by college council; we have no reason to suspect that this student initiative should be denied. The proposal has wider benefits for the table tennis club, as well as the wellbeing and yoga gatherings, which desperately need a suitable space in which to operate. This campaign is even more impressive considering that the squash team was disbanded at the end of last year, and was completely re-established in October 2023, as mentioned above. 

Sidney Sussex Squash Club ought to win this award because they have significantly increased participation from zero, exposed tens of beginners to the sport of squash, been wildly successful in their first year back in the college league and lobbied two colleges to significantly upgrade, and in Sidney’s case, (hopefully) establish, better sporting and wellbeing facilities to the benefit of the student body. 


6. St. Catharine’s College Association Football Club 

First team reached cuppers final for the first time since 2009, despite being in division 2 and facing two division 1 teams on the way. Final will be played on Friday 10th May so potentially champions for the first time in 15 years and first time Fitz won’t win it in 8 years. Our second team competed in the highest division for all second teams (division three) and managed to win the cuppers for second teams (Shield Cup). This would be the second time in college football history that the same college wins both cups in the same year (Fitz are the other college to have done it).