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Sports Awards 2024 - Team of the Year Shortlist

Kicking off the shortlists with a big one, the Team of the Year Award celebrates the most successful teams of the year gone by in terms of performance and achievement.   

With so many team successes in the year just gone, including promotions in BUCS leagues and a glittering set of medals from BUCS events, this is an incredibly competitive category. The five shortlistees demonstrated clear objectives, which they not only met, but blew away completely.  

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

Here's more about each of our nominees: 


1. Blue Boat, Cambridge University Cruising Club 

Team Blue, the first team of the Cambridge University Cruising Club (CUCrC), put forth an outstanding performance this season, defeating 27 teams at the 2024 BUCS Team Race National Championships from 2-4 April at their own Grafham Water Sailing Club. Team Blue, in their helm-crew pairings, consists of: Robbie McDonald (Gonville and Caius College, 3rd Year Medicine), Captain Lucius Bligh (St. John’s College, 4th Year Engineering), Gordon Cogon-Sivarajan (Robinson College, 4th Year Biochemistry), Elizabeth Linsdell (Newnham College, MPhil Modern Middle Eastern Studies), Tim Hire (Selwyn College, 3rd Year Engineering), and Hannah Cox (Churchill College, 3rd Year Phys Natsci).  

Blue competed in the U.K.’s top team racing events, finishing highly throughout their season. At the Wessex Warmer Regatta in Southampton, Blue finished 7th out of 20 university and alumni teams, winning the silver fleet and then advancing to the gold fleet as ‘silver surfers,’ losing 2-1 to the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Blue then finished 2nd/13 at the BUCS Team Race National Qualifiers at the Notts County Sailing Club with a 15-1 record. Blue qualified for the Top Gun Regatta at Oxford Sailing Club, finishing third of eight of the best university teams in the U.K. Blue also competed in the U.K. Team Race Association Championship and captured a win in the Bronze fleet.  

Blue’s season culminated in the BUCS Team Race National Championships. Blue finished with a 20-5 record, emerging as winners against favourites from the University of Exeter (17-8), who won the UKTRA Championship and the Top Gun Regatta. The first round of sailing was composed of Swiss-league racing, which matched teams of similar standing. Blue finished the round in first with a record of 13-4, defeating Exeter twice in dominating fashion.  

Entering the knockout stage, Blue won the tie-break for 1st against Exeter and Loughborough–who won BUCS Qualifiers–and won both races against Imperial College London in the quarter-final. The semi-final presented a challenge, facing the University of Strathclyde, who beat Blue in the Swiss league. Strathclyde claimed the first race, Blue the second. In the third race, a comfortable 1-4-5 positioning went awry. Entering the final beat in a 1-4-6, Robbie and Tim put well-trained boat handling to use to reclaim a 1-3-4 win.  

Blue progressed to the final against Exeter. The first race was incredibly close, with neither team sure of who won, but the finish boat confirmed Tim had clinched position 3, winning the race with Robbie in 1st. Training continued to pay off, with Blue winning the second race in a 2-3-5 and the third 1-3-4, finishing the finals 3-0.  

Blue’s performance at BUCS Team Racing Nationals was nothing short of outstanding. They triumphed against the most competitive and professional university teams (multiple of who had both defeated them earlier in the season). Blue’s exemplary efforts on the racecourse to excel on the national stage are a testament to their dynamic and determined training–entirely student-led–which brought the BUCS title back to Cambridge. 


2. Competitions Team, Mountaineering Club 

The team worked incredibly hard this year, training together twice a week, and competing nearly every weekend in Lent term, demonstrating impressive drive and endurance.  

We won the regional league (the London University Bouldering Event) against 23 universities by nearly 200 points, with multiple team members making finals and finishing on the podium every round, with Holly Davis taking overall 3rd. On a national level, the team placed 2nd in the lead competition at the National University Lead and Speed Competition, again with 2 of the 4 team members competing making finals, and Charlie finishing in 3rd place.  

At BUCS, the men's team placed 4th and the women's 6th, out of 55 universities. Many team members achieved blues or half blues criteria: Holly Davis finished in 10th place, Jade Westfoot in 24th and Hermione Boyle in 26th, out of 217 competitors, and amongst the men, Alexis Lauga and Alex Maltby tied for 18th, Tim Somerset in 30th and Charlie Clarke in 39th, out of 274. The successes continued at varsity, with the team winning both the men's and women's competitions, having strong representation on the podiums.  

Finally, the team collaborated with the community, through a partnership with the local climbing centre Rainbow Rocket, where they held a Women's Board Social to encourage more women to give board climbing a go and learn how to train for climbing. 


3. Men’s Blues, Australian Rules Football Club    

CUARFC as a club has made leaps and bounds the last couple of years. At the beginning of the 2022/23 season, there was on average 10 people at a session. Now, there are more than 30 at each! As for the men’s team, last year, they scraped together just enough players, including many who were very new to the sport and got battered at varsity 67-2. However, there was an inclining of resurgence at the end of last year, when in April 2023, they played in a playoff game against Cardiff, and produced an outstanding win against a strong side.  

This set the tone for this season. The large recruitment drive of the last couple of years paid off and a good core of players joined over the summer (many who hadn’t played before). During the off season training, the skills and chemistry of the team grew and grew. The team beat the Cambridge Gaelic Parnells team in a friendly, and followed this closely with a victory against the Sussex Swans, who play in the biggest and most competitive league in the country (the London League).  

This set the team up nicely for the NUL (BUCS equivalent). However, the first games proved a setback, with losses to Birmingham and Oxford. This brings us to the game that changed the season: an away game against Oxford (who have been the strongest team for years now). Out of seemingly nowhere, the team pulled off a stunning victory on enemy soil, something that hasn’t been achieved in the league since it was started. They haven’t looked back since, winning every other game in the league, including a 59-9 victory at home against Birmingham. 

Then along comes varsity, just a week after the final league game. The results from the last two years are still fresh in some players’ minds. However, there was never any danger of history repeating, and the Cambridge men’s team played some of the best footy of the year, coming out conclusive victors.  

That brings us to the final game of the season, the grand final (1st vs 2nd in the league – winner takes all). This was in Cardiff and was a repeat of varsity with the light blues taking on Oxford. By this point, with the desire and momentum gained over the last few months, the lads weren’t going to let this one slip, and although a scrappy and hard fought affair, they brought it home. Having done the double in the UK, next year holds European championships to show where the best AFL team really is.  

And not only has the team collectively won all the competitions it entered this year, but there are also many individually outstanding players. 5 of the men’s team play in the London League over summer, including the captain, who won the Grand Final last year and also plays for Great Britain at international tournaments. 


4. Women’s Blues, Hockey Club 

This season the Women's Hockey Blues had the most successful season in their history, celebrating 4 major successes over the year. 

The first of these is remaining undefeated in their Saturday league (East Prem) and earning promotion into the National Conference league for the first time in the club's history. This is the third tier of English Hockey and is a notable step-up in standard from the regional tiers that the team has always competed in previously. Apart from a draw in their very first game of the season, they won every match and finished top of the table with 13 points to spare! 

Consistently strong performances (again remaining unbeaten) on Wednesdays also led the team to earn promotion into the BUCS Prem league for the first time - the highest league of university hockey. This is a major achievement because they will compete against the first teams from the top hockey universities, playing at the highest level possible on Wednesdays.  

Thirdly, the team celebrated a historic 4-0 Varsity win against Oxford. This is the most convincing Cambridge win since the Matches started up 124 years ago, and is the first time Cambridge have had back-to-back wins since 1999.  

Lastly, the team entered an indoor hockey tournament for the first time, where they also excelled. They won the East league tournament and the North division of Nationals, earning a place in the National Div 2 Finals. 

Each one of these successes is a remarkable achievement, and the team would have been happy to have achieved any one of them in a season, so to have achieved all four is something quite exceptional. To put it simply, their season could not have gone any better. I believe this makes the Women's Hockey Blues Team a very worthy candidate for the Team of the Year award. 


  • Promotion to National League 
  • Unbeaten in Saturday league 
  • Promotion to BUCS Premier (National) league 
  • Won varsity (4:0) 
  • Won east indoor hockey tournament 
  • Won north indoor hockey tournament 


5. Women’s Blues, Rugby Union Football Club  

  • A great first season under new Head Coach Will Cotterill.  

  • Substantially reduced concussion rate compared to 2022/23. Emphasis on strength and conditioning payer dividends.  

  • We had 35 players represent the Women’s Blues over the course of the year, demonstrating a real strength in depth. 

  • BUCS National Vase semi-final came just 4 days after our Varsity Match win and was a narrow loss. 

  • The only team to beat Brunel (eventual league winners) in our BUCS league. Brunel also only conceded 72 points all year, of which we scored 36! 

  • Eventual 2nd place finish in BUCS league (National South).  

  • At the same time as our Blues were having success, our W2 came second in their BUCS league and achieved promotion.  

  • First outright Varsity Match win since 2021. The 2021/22 VM was a draw, which we retained because we won the previous one.