The Bedouin squad to take on the OUHC Mavericks at Wilberforce Road on February 17th has been selected. Captain El Robson will lead them out at 11:00am.
The Blunderers squad to take on OUHC’s Sporadics at 9:30am on February 17th has been selected. The Blundies are the only team in the club (in Cambridge?) with a 100% Varsity record. In fact, they have never lost a game of any sort. Let’s hope they can continue their remarkable record at Wiberforce Road next weekend.
With just over a week to go until the Best Day of the Year the squads have been selected and excitement is building. The first (and most important?) battle is already underway on social media, and thanks painstaking compilation and analysis by Owain Houghton I can bring you the results of 2019’s Profile Picture Reacts Contest (PPRC2019). All numbers in the following are corrects as of this afternoon.
Team by team
At first glance the Nomads are on top yet again, with a mean reacts per player breaking the double century. But of course the raw numbers only tell half the story. Once numbers of friends are taken into account, the Squanderers take home the prize, drawing reacts from nearly a quarter of their respective friendships (an improvement on last year’s totals by over 1.5 times). Perhaps in the end the Nomads have suffered from the cynical practice of requesting the online friendship of as many CUHC members as possible in the lead up to PPRC2019. At the other end of the table, the Wanderers have had a bad year. They are way behind the other teams on raw reacts, have received just 3/4s the number of reacts per friend as the triumphant Squandies, and are barely up on their 2018 result. Oh dear oh dear.
An interesting by-product of this analysis is that the Squandies have, by some distance, the fewest friends.
|Team||Mean reacts*||Mean no. friends||Mean % of friends who reacted||2018 mean reacts||% yearly change|
|Squanderers||175 ± 50||743||24.7 %||111||+ 58 %|
|Bedouin||194 ± 87||936||23.7 %||144||+ 35 %|
|Nomads||199 ± 47||1087||21.47 %||177||+ 13 %|
|Wanderers||152 ± 91||905||17.7 %||148||+ 3 %|
* arithmetic mean ± 1σ.
The react-by-react breakdown for the PPRC2019 Champions, the Squanderers, is shown in the box-and-whisker diagram below.
Congratulations to the Bedouin’s Anna Calder whose total of 346 reacts was the highest across the four teams. But of course the purists among us are only interested in reacts normalised by number of friends. In this category the Nomads’ Lizzie Jack was victorious, with her 135 reacts reflecting a huge 48.7% of her total friend base. Lizzie was pipped to the “Most loved” prize by the Beds’ Lydia Michaelides, who was loved by 18.4% of her friends (Lydia came second in the overall contest). The take home message appears to be that, in the PPRC, one is rewarded for placing tight constraints on one’s social media contacts. Indeed, it has not gone unnoticed that certain contestants have been “friend culling” during the course of PPRC2019 (we stress that none of the contestants near the top of PPRC2019 have been caught engaging in such an enterprise). In other news the Squanderers’ Guy Holden has the angriest friends. PPRC2019’s big losers were both Wanderers: Alex Harper, with 80 reacts, was the only contestant not to break the hundy and David Gibson, with 8.8%, had the lowest proportion of reacting friends.
Individual breakdowns for the Squanderers are shown graphically below (note that Guy Holden’s friends are not only very angry about his selection but also sad).
The Big Picture
The PPRC nerds are only just beginning to digest the vast quantity of data available. Some convincing relationships have already been identified but in the interest of avoiding cum hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning we will not be commenting on causal mechanisms at the stage.
Thanks again to Owain Houghton for putting all this together.
Don’t forget there is still league hockey to be played! Lots of important matches on tomorrow after a complete freeze out last week. At home, the Bedouin are on first vs. CoP (10:30), after which the Men’s Blues face Harleston Magpies in a top four six pointer at the same time as the Women’s Blues take on Wisbech Town (13:30). On the road, the Nomads can gain ground on a Sudbury side just three points above them, there’s also a six pointer for the Wanderers at the Olympic Park vs. Crostyx, and the Squanderers will look to put a few past mid-table St Ives.
|Women's Blues||2||WWWDW||Wisbech Town 1||13:30||H|
|Men's Blues||4||LWWDL||Harleston Magpies 1||13:30||H|
|Bedouin||4||WWLWW||City of Peterborough 3||10:30||H|
|Squanderers||5||WLWWW||St Ives 2||15:30||A|
As you probably already know, the new developments at Wilberforce Road opened last year with two additional pitches for the use of CUHC and Cambridge City. If you want to know more about the transformation, check out this video from Cambridge University Sport featuring some in-depth analysis from Blues Captains Hattie Bevan and Sean Gilmore.
CUHC teams as Six Nations countries this week. Good luck everyone.
Bedouin – Ireland
Short reason: they’re class.
The Beds form in recent weeks can only draw comparisons with last year’s Grand Slam Champions. They will look to follow up a 7-1 pumping of Huntington last week with a win on the road at Horncastle tomorrow.
Squanderers – France
Short reason: mercurial.
Much like the French, you never quite know what your going to get from the elusive Squanderers. Capable of both scintillating attacking play on the pitch and clotheless team capitulations on nights out, they will be hoping to build on a comprehensive win at Wisbech Town last week in the build up to varsity. They’re on at 10:30 at Wilby against nearby CoP. IFLTS. Allez les Bleus.
Women’s Blues – England
Short reason: quite good and have a huge game tomorrow.
The Women’s Blues have been winning lots this year but, because everyone expected them to, that in itself is not enough. Indeed, parallels can be drawn with the Roses, who always do ok but rarely as well as billed. While England travel to Dublin tomorrow in what could be a Championship defining game, the Women’s Blues make the slightly less glamorous trip to Dereham to face the league leaders. A huge six pointer for the girls.
Men’s Blues – Scotland
Short reason: cold.
After spending the last few seasons in relegation scraps the Men’s Blues have been on resurgent form this year, not unlike the humble and ever likable Scots. More importantly, though, their game against Letchworth tomorrow has been rescheduled due to the frosty conditions. Instead, they’ll be huddling together for warmth in Hawks watching TV over porridge, haggis and whiskey.
Nomads – Italy
Short reason: having a tough season.
Just as the Italians have struggled since the Five Nations became Six in 2000, the Nomads have endured a difficult season after earning promotion to Division 1N last year. Also like the Azzurri, though, they have put in some excellent performances and are always in with a chance of pulling out a result. Tomorrow’s game against nearby Lowestoft is a chance for them to climb back up the, exceptionally tight, Division 1N table.
Wanderers – Wales
Struggling with this one to be honest. The first two letters are the same? They both like daffodils? Anyway you can see the Wandies in the prime slot at Wilby tomorrow. Get down at 13:30 to blare out Bread of Heaven.
|Women's Blues||2||WWWDW||Dereham 1||12:00||A|
|Nomads||11||WLLLL||Lowestoft Ladies 1||12:00||H|
|Wanderers||7||WDLWL||Harleston Magpies 2||13:30||H|
|Squanderers||5||WLWWW||City of Peterborough 4||10:30||H|
Address tae CUHC
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the Varsity-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Blues, Beds or Blundies:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning dancefluir there ye fill,
Your aerials like a distant hill,
Your bins wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores nae goals distil
Like amber bead.
Your sticks see rustic Labour dight,
An cut Oxf*rd up wi ready slight,
Trenching their gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, toma for toma, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman Flibby, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his Oxf*rd shandy,
Or pinky that wad staw a sow,
Or shredder wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a club?
Poor devils! see their owre their trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
Their spindle shanks a guid whip-lash,
Their nieves a nit;
Thro hockey pitch or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, toma-fed,
The trembling earth resounds their tread,
Clap in their walie nieves a stick,
They’ll make it whissle;
An flicks an slaps, an hits will fly,
Like taps o thrissle.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Cambdrige wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her CUHC.
|Women's Blues||2||WWWWD||Norwich Dragons 1||12:00||H|
|Men's Blues||4||WLWWD||West Herts 1||13:30||H|
|Squanderers||5||LWLWW||Wisbech Town 2||11:00||A|
Thanks to Alicia Murphy and El Presidente Liv Shears for stepping in this week as I am very busy. Good luck everyone!
Sunday saw members of the University Hockey Club attend a classy affair known as Christmas Dinner. Gowns were worn, beverages were consumed, speeches were made, and dancing continued into the night. The overall performance was exemplary; with 100% of attendees making it to the Cloob. Highlights included the speeches – featuring the next UK #1 from Owain Hougton and an impressive livestream from Harry Leng, who cba to come to Cindies so filmed it on the bog in Chads. Numerous chirpses occurred as ever – here at CUHC we pride ourselves on diversity and age-discrimination was shown not to be an issue by some of the veterans. An epic battle between Battie and Sides concluded with humble victory for Sides, but there were many strong runners up who could beat them to the post next year with perseverance.
In terms of hockey, there are still some matches to be played before term ends, so here’s this week’s lowdown:
The Beds travel to the beach of Wis, where their opposition sit mid-table in 3NW. With the Beds on a 6-match winning streak, Wisbech should be very afraid of their slick skills and team spirit – and having found a new dragflicker in Danielle, they’ll be unstoppable on short corners. Hopefully no balls will go near their own goal because they currently don’t have a keeper.
The Squandies take on City of Peterborough 5s, who sit one place below them in the league. After a mixed bag of close performances, they will hope to bring the flair shown against the Beds on Thursday to this home fixture. The lack of 400m running training on Sunday was unfortunate, but has a silver lining in that the Squandies should have extra legs to run round CoP this weekend.
The Nomads also take on Wisbech, but luckily not at the beach. Catch them at Wilby at 1.30. With their opposition sitting mid-table, they’ll have the chance to put up a serious performance. Coach Matt Jervis will be hoping that his range of team bonding and tactics exercises produce some results.
After a couple of good wins recently, the Wandies play Norwich City 2s at Wilby at 12pm. Norwich City sit 2nd bottom of the table so should provide a good opportunity to get a few more goals. I don’t know if Jason Allen ever found either his allen keys or his actual keys but hopefully this won’t inhibit the teams’ progress on the pitch.
The WBlues travel to Lowestoft (fun facts: most easterly point in the UK) for an unbelievably early game. If the freshers don’t sleep through their alarms, the girls will be looking to arrive on time to cement their position in the top two. Plus, hopefully, Battie will ctrl-alt-delete some more goals and the girls can fly on to CUHSKi on a high.
The MBlues take on Norwich City 1 away, which is a slightly shorter journey than their mammoth BUCS Wednesday to Plymouth. They’ll be looking to take three points from the fixture to put them in strong promotion contention before the Christmas break, when Owain might have time to write a song about them too.
Our busy social calendar deserves top billing this weekend. Still some important hockey to play too though.
Last weekend was Pub Golf and although sadly I could not attend I’ve heard it was a large one (apparently a bit too large for some people! i.e. James Campins). Thanks to Sean Gilmore for filling me in.
Everyone assembled at Spoons where there was a poor turn out from the Social Secs except Jason Allen. There was lots of boring bribing – I’m told that a certain bribe was not fulfilled by the Social Sec in attendance, but it all worked out so no worries there. Once paired up, the group headed through various drinking holes to Hawks. Jonathan Parke was told off for littering and Will Silver did not sing Boom! Shake the Room. Bill Taylor however did ‘sing’ Piano Man, to mixed reviews. Sean reports that in general beverages were not consumed at a satisfactory rate but of course anyone can drink as much or as little as they like at whatever rate they wish so I’m not sure what he’s on about.
There was a long tedious debate about where to go next. In the end the group settled on Fez/Jez, although some boring people went to Life first. The green fee was a whopping £7, leading some golfers to “run the gauntlet” so to speak and sprint upstairs. If you sprinted fast enough up the stairs you were rewarded with free entry to Fez. In Fez we learned that Jack England is a good kisser (in a relative sense). Jean claims he was there but no one remembers (typical), and apparently it all got a bit much for poor Matt Roberts. I’m sure lots more funny things happened but if so no one told me so sorry about that.
And the fun doesn’t stop! This weekend it’s… Christmas Dinner!
The Nomads pulled off a huge win last week to put a bit of distance between them and the drop zone in Division 1N. They also picked up a comfortable win in the first round of the BUCS Hockey Midlands Cup away in Derby on Wednesday. This week they make one of most notorious away trips for CUHC teams, to Dereham. It won’t be an easy against a team at the top of the table on a pitch that looks ok but actually isn’t. Look out for a giant Cockerel on the clubhouse, and no I don’t mean ex-Men’s Blues captain Matthew.
The Beds pumped Haverhill last week to go third in Division 3NW (helped by an impressive +30 goal difference) and put five Ws in the form guide. This weekend’s opposition – Ely City – are just a point behind though so it will be crucial for the girls use the momentum and keep the points coming. They’re on in the early slot at Wilby.
The Men’s Blues have done the job against weaker opposition for a few weeks in a row but have a tougher fixture this week against a Bedford side just below them in East Prem A. As ever, three points are essential as they look to nail home their position in the top four. They’re on at 13:30 at Wilberforce Road.
The Wandies followed a disappointing last minute draw last week with a closely fought cup win against Birmingham 5s on Wednesday. They travel to Potters Bar tomorrow. I was as gutted as the next person when they decided to rebrand The Three Broomsticks – we all had a lot of memories there – but it makes sense to give a nod to Harry’s contributions to wizard society and I will admit the new butterbeer is delicious. Accio points!
The Women’s Blues squeezed past Ipswich last week to maintain their position in second place and now have a huge six pointer against third place Bedford. Catch them at 12:00 at Wilby.
Another draw for the Squandies sees them stay in fourth in Division 3NW. This week they face top of the table Horncastle in Horncastle – it would be an impressive scalp to claim.
|Women's Blues||2||LDWWW||Bedford 2||12:00||H|
|Men's Blues||4||WLWWW||Bedford 1||13:30||H|
|Wanderers||9||DDLWD||Potters Bar 1||15:00||A|
|Bedouin||3||WWWWW||Ely City 1||10:30||H|
Pub Golf this weekend. See last year’s preview for lots of funny stuff about Pub Golf (courtesy of Jean Staunton-Sykes). I know it’s exciting but there are 18 points to pick up first so let’s have 100% focus on that from now on.
The Squandies are sitting pretty in fourth place after a string of good results and will look to crack on this weekend against a struggling Ely City side. Ely’s an interesting one. It is built on the tallest hill in the Fens (a dizzying 26 m above sea level), which once formed an island (hence “Isle of Ely”) before William of Orange came over and sorted us out with his Dutch drainage skills. “Ely” is thought to derive from “Eels”, a reference to the aquatic snakes once abundant in the surrounding marshlands. Nasty. Catch the boys in the early fixture at Wilby.
The Women’s Blues performed well in a narrow loss to Oxford on Wednesday. Despite the disappointing result it was an even contest and has provided a tantalising preview to the third of March. This weekend the girls are on the road to Ipswich. Although it’s a long trip Ippy are down in the bottom half of Division 1N and the Blues will benefit from a trip to the Stag Café so we expect them to return with three points.
The Beds followed up their unprecedented 23-0 pumping of March Town with another three points last week. Believe it or not this week they play at team with fewer points than March Town: bottom of the table Haverhill Ladies. The top places in Division 3NW are within reach so let’s hope for no slip ups and another big three points for the girls.
The Men’s Blues won again on Wednesday and now, thanks to a bizarre set of results elswhere, sit 12 points clear of second place after six games in South Prem B. Three points against mid-table Ipswich last weekend was also reassuring, and this week they face local rivals Cambridge City in an away match to be played at Willy Wilberforce Road. Things are tight at the top of East Prem A so three points are essential as ever in the push for promotion.
The Wandies picked up a huge three points last weekend and also avoided embarrassment against the Infrequents in Oxford mid-week. After a welcoming Wednesday spirits will be high as they head into a home six pointer against nearby Broxbourne this weekend as they look to climb further above the relegation zone. They’re on at 12:00 and as ever all support is appreciated.
The Nomads are on a tough run and it doesn’t get any easier this weekend against third place Norwich Dragons. The girls play in the prime slot at Wilby so get down to offer your support at 13:30.
|Women's Blues||2||WLDWW||Ipswich 2||14:00||A|
|Men's Blues||4||WWLWW||Cambridge City 2||12:00||A|
|Nomads||10||LLLLL||Norwich Dragons 1||13:30||H|
|Bedouin||4||LWWWW||Haverhill Ladies 1||15:00||A|
|Squanderers||4||WDWWD||Ely City 1||10:30||H|
If I told you there were six CUHC games at Wilby this weekend you would be forgiven for saying “No Way, José!” but you would be wrong because in fact there are six games involving CUHC at the Wilberforce Road ground tomorrow. To honour this special occassion I took the time to speak to each of our teams’ coaches in turn for some extra insight into the games.
A big win for the Wanderers on Wednesday against the University of Bye saw them through to the second round of the BUCS Hockey 2018-19 Midlands Conference Cup. Things aren’t looking so rosy on a Saturday though with no Ws left in the form guide. Beleaguered head coach Kieran Gilmore told me earlier: “When I go to the press conference before the game, in my mind the game has already started.” They have a chance to turn things around tomorrow with a six pointer at the bottom of the table as the boys travel to Cambridge City.
The Squandies are on a roll and also have a six point fixture at Wilby this week. They face Cam City’s veterinarians as they look to join the big boys at the top of Division 3NW. Asked to comment on the Squandies’ prolific scoring form but leaky defense, coach Jim “numero 13” Dickinson remarked: “It’s like having a blanket but it’s too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But the blanket is made of cashmere.” While I carefully consumed a beverage with my left hand and obeyed all other ‘rules’, Ed Sides added: “I have nothing, nothing to say. Nothing, nothing to say. Nothing to say, I have nothing to say. Nothing to say, I am so sorry, I have nothing to say.”
The Men’s Blues had a good week with wins against Chelmsford and Reading University leaving them in the promotion spots on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Tomorrow’s fixture against an up and coming Ipsiwch side, who will presumably benefit from a trip to the Stag Café en route, provides an opportunity to continue climbing the table as first and second place meet elsewhere. Coach Charlie Bannister wasn’t holding back when asked to explain the boys’ impressive start to the season. He said: “We have top players and, sorry if I’m arrogant, we have a top manager. Please do not call me arrogant because what I say is true. I’m European champion. I’m not one out of the bottle, I think I’m a special one.”
The Beds beat March Town 23-0 last week. 2 3 – 0. Twenty-three to nil. 20+3 with no reply. That is a goal every 3.04347826087 minutes. Wow. Speaking after the game, coach Lucia Corry was humble in victory, stating: “I have a problem, which is I’m getting better at everything related to my job since I started.” Her colleague Alicia Murphy added: “The moral of the story is not to listen to those who tell you not to play the violin but stick to the tambourine.” Spalding 2 will surely provide a sterner test tomorrow, sitting just three points and two places below the girls.
The Nomads have also had a tough run of it on a Saturday and will be desperate for points tomorrow. It won’t be easy as they have to travel to face a strong Cambridge City side. I sat down with coaches Matt Jervis and Ollie Duckers earlier and discussed issues surrounding selection for the club’s second team: “The style of how we play is very important. But it is omelettes and eggs. No eggs – no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.”
The Women’s Blues overturned a momentary dip in form last week with a comfortable win over St Neots. A relieved coach Darrell Cassidy said of the team: “We are a little horse. A horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump.” The girls face a struggling Ipswich – East Suffolk side tomorrow as they look to secure their position in the promotion spots of Division 1N. When asked if they had anything to fear from I-ES, Mr. Cassidy stuck with the ungulate theme: “You may as well put a cow in the middle of the pitch, walking. And then stop the game because there was a cow.”
|Team||Saturday Form Guide||Oppo||Time||H/A|
|Women's Blues||WWLDW||Ipswich – East Suffolk 1||12:00||H|
|Men's Blues||WWWLW||Ipswich 1||13:30||H|
|Nomads||WLLLL||Cambridge City 3||12:00||A|
|Wanderers||LLDDL||Cambridge City 3||13:30||A|
|Squanderers||DWDWW||Cambridge City Vets||10:30||A|