The Corpus Challenge

The (recently lost) Challenge Cup

The Corpus Challenge is one of the most fun days ever in Cambridge and Corpus life. It is an epic sporting battle between us and our sister/enemy college, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and is definitely something unique to our college.

We compete in practically all sports - hockey, football, lacrosse, netball, badminton, frisbee, rugby, ergs and many others. We even throw the field open to bar sports - pool, darts, table tennis and table football. In recent years in fact there have been pharmacology challenges and even a legal moot! Although there is a competitive side (and of course we want to win) it remains a light hearted event with anyone wishing to participate in any sport more than welcome. After the sport, we celebrate in the form of the Challenge Formal, dining with our Oxford counterparts, and a night out together.

The Challenge began in 1995 and became an annual event in 1997. Here is the full record of winnings as engraved on the Challenge Cup:

Year Location Winner
1995 Oxford
1997 Oxford Oxford
1998 Cambridge Oxford
1999 Oxford Cambridge
2000 Cambridge Oxford
2001 Oxford Oxford
2002 Cambridge Oxford
2003 Oxford Oxford
2004 Cambridge Oxford
2005 Oxford Oxford
2006 Cambridge Cambridge
2007 Oxford Oxford
2008 Cambridge Cambridge
2009 Oxford Oxford
2010 Cambridge Cambridge
2011 Oxford Cambridge
2012 Cambridge Cambridge
2013 Oxford Oxford
2014 Cambridge Cambridge
2015 Oxford Cambridge
2016 Cambridge Cambridge
2017 Oxford Oxford
2018 Cambridge Cambridge
2019 Oxford Oxford
2020 Cambridge Cambridge

This leaves the score at 14:11 to Oxford. In 2021, both colleges will have everything to play for.

Report: Corpus Challenge 2020 By President Emeritus Harry Taylor

This years Corpus Challenge was something to remember, for the weather as much as for the sport. After some debate over whether the event would go ahead or not it was decided that Oxford would brave Storm Ciara and outdoor events would go on unofficially. Under the circumstances turnout at Leckhampton was surprisingly strong, particularly from the new first year. Energy was building as the mens first team football kicked off in strong gusts and drizzle. After a hard-fought match with the prevailing wind against us in the second half it all came down to the dreaded penalties. Sadly, Oxford were too clinical and snatched the win, but this did not dampen our spirits any more than the rain.

The womens football team cruised to a big victory, spearheaded by the attacking menace of Molly Woods. Tragically, many of our best events were called off due to the weather. Lacrosse is usually a guaranteed victory but could not be played. Likewise, despite organising two mixed matches for the first time ever, the blue-ribbon netball fixtures failed to go ahead. This placed us at a disadvantage as all rugby matches went ahead a problem because Oxford have an experienced and well-drilled rugby team. All teams put up a fight though, with special mentions to the physical commitment of Nikita Salt and Arun Thiru, but the opposition were just too strong. In tandem, however, Cambridge retained competitiveness with a number of crucial victories. The womens tug of war team was so dominant that Oxford pleaded for a best of three, not that it did them any good. Similarly, mens seconds (and thirds) football made crafty use of rolling subs to steamroller a surprisingly unprofessional Oxford team. Before the rain came down in biblical proportions there was time for one more event: mens tug of war. With the scores level on the unofficial events this suddenly became unexpectedly important. In a fateful turn of events Corpus Challenge tug of war isnt sorted into weight classes. Cambridge were thus dragged through the mud to a somewhat ignominious defeat.

On to the official (usually referred to as indoor) events. Badminton was a strong win for Cambridge, as was rowing ergs, and squash levelled out to a well-fought draw. Bar sports proved a mixed bag as table tennis and table football were easy wins for the Original Corpus, but we were narrowly edged out in the pool due to a lack of ability to take chances when given. Legal moot and pharmacology (the latter making its Challenge debut), the two more dubious sports on offer, were a win for us and a draw respectively as Cambridge slowly but surely opened up a lead. Quizzing was a draw with the first team losing out to effectively a one-man team and the seconds rolling over their opposition with a strong team performance. The days events were rounded off by a victory in FIFA that secured what was in the end a dominant victory of 140-90.

With everyone still in suspense as to the result the evenings festivities began. Formal was typically lively, occasionally too lively, but went off in very good spirits. After the fellows departure the result was announced by JCR President Bielby who handed the trophy to Marcus, the sports and socs officer, and those assembled adjourned to the bar and then on to Life. Oxford were seen safely onto the busses at midnight whilst Cambridge continued to enjoy their night - some perhaps enjoying it too much. All in all, an enjoyable day was had by everyone who turned up. Thanks must go to the Sports and Socs officers in Cambridge, Marcus Hicks and Chloe Mackley (and also their ever-present predecessors Ed Pyman and Lottie Paterson), as well as their opposite number Matt Carlton, for organising the day and working through the hiccups. Something should also be said of the exemplary conduct of the tourists, whose good nature only added to the quality of the day. So roll on next year where hopefully there will be as much fun, less wind and we will bring the trophy home in triumph.

Report: Corpus Challenge 2016

2016 saw Cambridge?s third consecutive victory in the Corpus Challenge. On the morning of Sunday 8th February, the coaches from Oxford arrived bright and early at 9am and without further ado the sporting battles began.

?The Corpus-Clare-King?s rugby alliance had the privilege to draw first blood in this year?s Corpus Challenge. Upon their arrival at the Leckhampton Sports Grounds, the men in maroon, purple and yellow had only one thing in mind: to remain unbeaten in their bright (and brand new) kit ? a powerful motivation which resulted in a 12-7 victory for CCK. After a short yet sterile domination from the visitors, Cambridge took the lead with a try from Kingsman Joel Flynn, who crossed the line after a few minutes of picking and going. Shortly after the start of the second half, Corpus winger Ashe Meno-Kanyi managed to break through the Oxonian defense on a powerful offload by second row David Rowlands. In the absence of any remotely-experienced kicker, your very obliged captain attempted the conversion and somehow managed to score, giving a 12-0 advantage to the Cambridge side. Corpus Oxford?s try came too late and the CCK men managed to secure their lead until the final whistle, paving the way to a very successful Corpus Challenge for Cambridge.? Charles Fourmaux (CCK Rugby Captain)

Alongside the rugby we also saw the hugely successful Ergs team bring us another victory after an intense half an hour of rowing. We also proved successful in the racquet sports, getting us off to a incredibly strong start.

Just before we set up shop for lunch, we had another incredible performance from the Cambridge mixed netball team. ?Beautiful interceptions from Tom Chalklen, Pat Killoran, Tom Davidson, Molly Stacey and Emily Bodger stopped Oxford from getting anywhere near the post. Our attack was also on fire with incredible passes into the circle from Sarah Richards and fantastic shooting from Lizzie Merson and Emma Russell. An all-round outstanding game.? Issy Turney (Mixed Netball captain)

Next it was time for the most anticipated event of the day ? the famous Corpus Challenge lunchtime barbecue. The JCR committee battled the gale-force winds to keep the barbecues going and keep everyone fed. Despite the brute force of the wind, we managed to keep morale up and continue into the even more successful second half of the day.

We also took on Oxford in some less conventional sporting events in the form of board games and bar sports. ?We had some tough competition with more Oxford students to compete against and they put up a strong fight beating us narrowly in Trivial Pursuit, Articulate and Settlers of Catan while we won Jungle Speed. Coinciding with the sudden disappearance of the Oxford table football table from their bar, we thrashed them, beating their best player 10-0 and conceding only 1 game out of 8.? Jonathan Cushenan (board games & bar sports captain)

Our final victory in quizzing saw us bring our smashing victory home and dry, with a final score of 80-38 points to Cambridge. The Corpus Challenge is one of our best most long-standing traditions between Oxford and Cambridge and I?d like to thank everyone in college, especially the JCR committee and the porters, that have helped to make it such a successful event.