Long-standing university match sees Niamh Bridson Hubbard and Jeremy Dempsey triumph for the light blues on Wimbledon Common
The historic Varsity Cross Country Match between Oxford University Cross-Country Club and Cambridge University Hare & Hounds dates back to 1880 and yet going into the 2022 event at Wimbledon Common the all-time men’s score saw the two universities tied on exactly 65 wins apiece.
The day belonged to Cambridge, though, as they took the women’s and men’s individual and team titles which means Cambridge creep ahead in the overall men’s match standings by 66 victories to 65, whereas Oxford’s all-time lead in the women’s match fell to 26 wins to 20.
Previous winners include Roger Bannister, Chris Chataway, Julian Goater, Richard Nerurkar, Julia Bleasdale and Olympic modern pentathlon champion Steph Cook.
This year Niamh Bridson Hubbard and Jeremy Dempsey added their name to the roll of honour as they stormed to victory.
For Bridson Hubbard – a sociology PhD student – this was her sixth appearance in the race and she also won the event in 2019. Here she beat team-mate Phoebe Barker with Alice Garner of Oxford third as Cambridge took the team title by 11 points.
Last year Dempsey was beaten into second by fellow Cambridge athlete James Edgerton but in this “131st gentlemen’s race” he emerged the winner with Joe Morrow of Oxford second and Ewan Spencer of Cambridge third.
The team score of 38 points to 40, though, was the closest since 1982 as Cambridge took a narrow win.
There was some success for Oxford on Saturday, however, as Jack Millar took victory in the Old Blues’ race ahead of fellow ‘dark blue’ Nathan Mappeley and Cambridge’s Josh Carr.
The day also saw the presentation of a World Athletics Heritage plaque to Thames Hare & Hounds by AW’s Wendy Sly. Formed in 1868 in London, it is the oldest adult cross-country running club in the world and among other things they organise this Varsity match.
Another presentation on the day saw the opening of a redeveloped Brasher-Chataway-Bannister Bridge on the Common.
The Brasher-Chataway-Bannister Bridge was also rebuilt, named after the three running greats 🙏 pic.twitter.com/JWN4ConH3J
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) December 3, 2022
Over the years the runners have splashed through the water but this time they tested the sturdiness of the rebuilt bridge as they charged across it mid-race.
Women: 1 Niamh Bridson-Hubbard (Camb U); 2 Phoebe Barker (Camb U); 3 Alice Garner (Oxf U); 4 Nancy Scott (Camb U); 5 Louise Shanahan (Camb U); 6 Poppy Craig-McFeely (Camb U); 7 Lauren Major (Oxf U); 8 Elizabeth Apsley (Oxf U); 9 Alexandra Brown (Oxf U); 10 Charlotte Buckley (Oxf U). TEAM: Cambridge University 29; Oxford University 50
Men: 1 Jeremy Dempsey (Camb U); 2 Joe Morrow (Oxf U); 3 Ewan Spencer (Camb U); 4 Thomas Wood (Oxf U); 5 Naphtali Moulton (Oxf U); 6 Paul McKinley (Camb U); 7 Luke McCarron (Camb U); 8 Miles Weatherspeed (Oxf U); 9 Tom Spencer (Camb U); 10 Matthew Dubery (Camb U). TEAM: Cambridge University 38; Oxford University 40
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