FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE COMPETITION'S HISTORY, KCL WRESTLE THE MACADAM CUP FROM KCLMS
By Matt Abbott, Sports Editor
Photography by Alizera Nejad
At 5:30pm yesterday, as competitors and supporters gathered, there were rumours buzzing around the pavilion hall of the King’s College Sports Ground, Berrylands. Rumours that King’s had won the Macadam Cup for the first time in the competition’s eight year history. At approximately 5:45pm, the KCLSU Vice-President of Student activities, Kia Alam, confirmed those rumours to be true as he announced that KCL had indeed won the 2011 Macadam Cup.
‘Are the rumours I’m hearing true?’ Simon Thexton, the prolific KCLFC striker asked me as we awaited the results, ‘that we’ve won it?’
Frantic counting and tallying up of the results we knew of, had led to us realising it was extremely close. Probably the closest Macadam Cup ever.
We knew KCL were in the lead and that the final outcome depended on the results of Badminton and Ten-Pin Bowling which we assumed had taken place earlier in the week. The atmosphere was tense.
It was with great surprise, as Alam read out the results from every sporting fixture, that we learnt the Bowling and the Badminton had been cancelled. KCL had as we thought, won 7 of the 13 matches, enough to win the Cup.
Great celebrations were soon set in motion as the KCL Netball club, involved in perhaps the most thrilling and certainly the closest match of the competition, were the first to lift the St Thomas Rowing Club Champagne bowl on behalf of King’s.
KCLMS, victors of the last 7 Macadam Cup contests, half-heartedly sung in defiance before sloping away to Guy’s bar. They had played their part in making this the most exhilarating Macadam since it’s initialisation in 2004. But in truth, yesterday belonged to KCL.
Going into the main day of competition yesterday, the scores were already 1-1. The two water-based fixtures had been played: KCL had won the Water Polo and KCLMS had triumphed in the Swimming. This had set Macadam Cup day up nicely. It was all to play for.
It didn’t seem that way early on though. As the respective institution’s sports men and women began converging on Berrylands, the mood was strange, almost sombre. KCL Rugby, off the back of Friday night’s Varsity and one of the clubs finest moments in the modern era, arrived with a depleted team, forcing the Rugby match into a bizarre round robin sevens tournament. KCLMS, with their two sevens sides – that at one point played each other - unsurprisingly won the men’s rugby fixture then.
Ultimate Frisbee, ‘pulling off’ at the same time as the Rugby provided some excitement on the adjacent pitch. Anyone who has played Frisbee, and subsequently failed to control the flight of the disc (perhaps hitting a disgruntled sunbather on the beach with it, when aiming for your friend standing in the opposite direction), will appreciate that this game takes a fair degree of skill: vision, movement, balance and remarkable hand-eye co-ordination, particularly in windy conditions are essential. These guys have the said skills, in abundance. This, like the Rugby, seemed a fairly amicable match, though. We were yet to see the rivalry between KCL and KCLMS that is so often displayed on Macadam Cup day. KCL came out on top in the Frisbee, defeating KCLMS 13-8, with KCL’s Ian Dékkarr being awarded player of the match.
Back in the pavilion, Joe Banner and the KCL fencing side put in a solid display (given their Great Britain credentials), to defeat KCLMS.
At Honor Oak Park, where the Hockey fixtures were taking place, the KCLMS women’s side had, as predicted, thrashed the KCL women’s side, 14-0.
KCL women fared better in the netball however and it was during this game that Macadam sparked into life. In a compelling match that was drawing the attention of many spectators, KCL won by the narrowest of margins. A late KCLMS comeback in the final quarter wasn’t enough, as they fell to a 24-23 defeat. Becky French was awarded player of the match and Lisa Moynihan's team fought their way to a well earned win. KCLMS felt hard done by, complaining about the umpiring.
In the meantime, the men’s and women’s football had got underway. The women’s rugby, unlike the men's, was a 15-a-side match had also kicked off. The absence of captain, Linda Sjoblom, through injury and further injuries to two KCL girls, one leaving the ground in an ambulance, meant the odds were stacked against KCL. But determined to make amends for their Varsity defeat to UCL last Friday, they battled hard and, as the men did last week, won the game 12:10 with a converted try in the dying moments. Anna MacDonald was awarded player of the match.
KCLMS women’s football side, however, produced a fantastic performance to beat their KCL opponents 4-1, with Sarah Milner taking player of the match.
Word from the pavilion was that James Wong had starred for KCLMS in the mixed squash, sealing a 3-2 win for the Medics in that discipline. The overall score at this point then was 5-5. With three
Having lost twice to KCLMS FC 1st XI this season, Will Reed-Wright had his side well-drilled and focussed in the warm up to the men’s football. You could tell they meant business and see that revenge was on their agenda.
An extremely well organised defence and hard-working midfield was rewarded just before half time, when tricky midfielder, Joao Miguel, the eventual man of the match, fired KCL into the lead with a superb goal. Although against the run of play, KCL’s endeavour and desire meant they were fully deserving of the lead they held.
Their second half performance was even more disciplined. As KCLMS piled men forward, KCL stayed organised, shutting KCLMS out every time they looked threatening. KCLMS made the difficult task of breaking KCL down even harder for themselves when they were reduced to 10 men. Right back, Missagh, was booked twice for dissent and given his marching orders.
With 8 minutes to go, the tall Dan Hall should have doubled KCL’s lead, as he fired over from 10 yards following a slick counter attack. As the other matches ended, a good crowd developed to watch the last 10 minutes.
Ben Payne, playing in midfield for KCL, was throwing himself in front of everything and Dave Ranford played through what looked like an injured hamstring, making important tackles and interceptions. Desmond Owusu, the KCLMS captain, for all his shouting and good footwork, couldn’t conjure a late equaliser. Against the odds, KCL won the football fixture.
There was a sense that this victory could be quite significant to the overall outcome of Macadam. The cheering KCLMS contingent gathered on the touchline fell quiet as the final whistle went.
Their disappointment was added to when news came through from Honor Oak Park that in the men’s hockey, KCL had won 3-0.
This made the score 7-5 to KCL overall. But due to patchy knowledge, incorrect rumours and an uncertainty on what had happened in the Bowling, Badminton and Tennis (which were all actually cancelled) no one was quite sure who had won overall. Those two final results in the hockey and football had proved decisive.
The congregation in the pavilion cheered on those taking part in the final event, Darts, in which Sean Francourt threw well, earning him player of the match as KCLMS won, what, in the end was a ‘consolation’ event.
It has taken KCL 8 years to beat KCLMS in enough sports and claim the Macadam Cup. But as the rain ceased and rays of light broke through the overcast grey cloud, KCL bounced back to the Strand, carrying with them the St Thomas Rowing Club Champagne Bowl that in 2004, Michael Champion had presented to the first, and until now, only winner.
The aphorism of the Macadam Cup is ‘Vicant Optimi’, meaning ‘The Best Shall Win’. After eight years of trying, this year, KCL – very narrowly – were the best and they did win!
The winners of each sport and the stand out players from each game:
Sport Winner Score Player of the Match
Fencing KCL n/a Joe Banner
Squash KCLMS 3-2 James Wong
Frisbee KCL 13-8 Ian Dekkarr
Rugby (m) KCLMS n/a Alex Witek
Netball KCL 24-23 Becky French
Football (m) KCL 1-0 Joao Miguel
Football (w) KCLMS 4-1 Sarah Milner
Rugby (w) KCL 12-10 Anna MacDonald
Darts KCLMS 7-1 Sean Francourt
Hockey (w) KCLMS 14-0 Sarah Bolton
Swimming KCLMS n/a n/a
Water Polo KCL n/a n/a
Hockey (m) KCL 3-0 Alex Watson
(Badminton, Ten-Pin Bowling and Tennis cancelled)