The time is fast approaching for when Cambridge will face their greatest rivals in the most exciting day of basketball of the year: Varsity. On the 26th of February, all four teams (Women’s Blues and Panthers, Men’s Blues and Lions) will be tested as they play against their Oxford counterparts.
The Women’s Blues Team
Front row (left to right): 21. Mie Monti, (G) 7.Stefania Matargka, 22. Lauren Logan (G), 8. Carla Ríos (G), 23. Cristina Gómez (G), 6. Paloma Navarro (G)
Back row: 5. Pia Hecher (G), 10. Jess Hunt (F), 12. Claire Ratican (C) – Captain, 9. Herta Garter (F), 11. Léonie de Jonge (F), 13. Laura Hildt (F), 14. Becky Illingworth (G)
Not pictured: Amalio Fernández Pacheco (Head Coach), Michelle Quay (2nd Coach), 15. Emily Lees (F)
For the past three years, the Cambridge Women’s Blues have won this encounter and are looking for their 4th consecutive win. Captain Claire Ratican has been preparing her team for the day and trusts that all the players will step it up and bring their “A game” to the encounter. Varsity veteran Léonie de Jonge is also confident the team will give everything they have to repeat the success of previous years. They are certainly doing everything they can to achieve it. Intensity in training sessions has gone through the roof and the players’ excitement is transformed into a contagious positive energy that makes their game flow like never before. Coach Amalio Fernández Pacheco has been a tremendous addition to the team, helping all the players refine their skills and understand each other on the court to “just play basketball”. 2017 will be the the last Varsity for several players, including Captain Claire, and the seniors are looking to finish their Blues careers with a victory over Oxford.
In December last year, former Blues’ player Sophie Miller lost her fight against a rare form of blood disorder (myelodysplastic syndrome) and the team would like to dedicate their game to her and her legacy. An Anthony Nolan stand will be set up in the sports hall for anyone who wishes to sign up to become a bone marrow donor.
The Men’s Blues Team
Front row (left to right): 23. Jim Miller (G), 32. Luka Skoric (G/F), 19. Jack Clearman (G), 8. Eduardo Baptista (G), 11. Armand Bernou (G), 18. Sam Black (Guard)
Back Row: Tim Weil (Coach), 12. Patrick Lundgren (G/F) – Captain, 34. Alan Walsh (F), 31. Dami Adebayo (C), 15. Sam Bedell (F), 20. Samer Kurdi (F), 42. Milan Krstajic (C)
Not Playing: 9. Nathaniel Weisberg (G)
Not Pictured: 7. Jostein Hauge (F)
The Men’s Blues won their Varsity two years ago, but lost in 2016. Therefore, many players now in their last year are hungry to out-ball and out-hustle Oxford to be able to claim a net positive record against the other place. Indeed, they have every reason to be confident, given the success they have seen in the BUCS league where a win against Derby on March 15th could translate to topping the Midlands 1A league, and a potential promotion to the Premier League. No doubt, coach Tim Weil’s calm yet fiery demeanor has been instrumental for the success of this team, with his patented motto “stay fast and loose” providing a healthy poise for all players on the team. Varsity veterans Luka Skoric, Jack Clearman, Milan Krstajic and Jostein Hauge are well aware of what it takes to triumph against Oxford, and Captain Patrick Lundgren has said he has “limited qualms” given the level of intensity all players have brought to each and every training session.
Front row (l to r): 6. Kun Chang (G) – Co-Captain, 41. Shuowang He (G), 12. Justin Tsang (G), 27. Sergio Pascual Díaz (G), Justin Chan (G)
Back row: Teng Yi (G), Edward Preston Tsui (F), Steve Foulkes (G), 4. Billy Zhao (F), 8. Aidas Liaudanskas (C), 21. Chris Lovejoy (C), 19. Jorge Gómez Magenti (F), 24. Jordan Massiah (F) – Co-Captain, 9. Nathaniel Weisberg (F), Jin Zhang (Coach)
Not playing: 5. Ennio Lavagnini, Paul Zhao
Not Pictured: Mojowo Odiase, Dan Bowe, Xiaohe Dong, Denis Busque,
9:45: Cambridge Lions vs O*ford Men’s 2nd
11:45: Cambridge Panthers vs O*ford Women’s 2nd
14:00: Cambridge Women’s Blues vs O*ford Women’s Blues
16:15: Cambridge Men’s Blues vs O*ford Men’s Blues
The games will be held at the central court in the Cambridge University Sports Center on Philippa Fawcett Drive, and over a hundred people are expected to attend. The event is open to everyone, free of charge and stands will be brought out to provide seating. For updates and more information, join the Facebook event , visit the CUWBbC website, and follow The Blue Bird’s live blog on the day!