For the first time in 38 years, Fitzwilliam’s men’s rugby union side have won the College Division One title.
Fitz pair up with Sidney Sussex in the competition, but make up the majority of the team who were crowned champions for the first time since 1982, after Caius conceded ahead of last Saturday’s scheduled match.
Captain William Lockhart said: “It was a feeling of elation and a bit of relief. We knew it would come down to two games just after Christmas, against Downing and Johns, and it was pretty pleasing to come out of those with wins.
“Against Downing we were 14-0 down in the first half and came back. And last term there was a John's match where we were scraping around for players and, during the game, the defence was tenacious and managed to hold them out.
“We set out at the start of the season to try to win the league and win Cuppers, so that’s one out of two. That’s one down – let’s go for the next one now.”
The trophy-winning streaks of Fitzwilliam’s footballers, who have won Cuppers for three straight years, and cricketers, who have won Cuppers four years in a row, provided motivation.
Lockhart added: “When you look at the footballers and the cricketers, the success they’ve had has been absolutely ridiculous. It’s pushed us on.
“Winning trophies, cheering them on, we’ve wanted a slice of that.”
Alumnus Dick Tyler (Law 1978), the chairman of Cambridge University Rugby Football Union, and Law Fellow Richard Hooley made the current Fitzwilliam team aware of their historic feat.
Lockhart says Fitz were bolstered by a strong intake of first-year students, including Billy Thomas-Connolly, a fresher who has operated in the crucial playmaking position of fly-half.
He also praised vice-captain George Hayes, a winger, for his try-scoring ability and openside flanker Toby Hiram. Hiram recently played on with a ruptured testicle which then was operated on two days later.
Hiram was player of the year last year and, Lockhart says, is a candidate once again this year in a back row which also features another strong player, Eddie Revell, of Sidney.
“This season I’ve enjoyed playing so much,” Lockhart said.
“We’re playing with our mates, instead of a bunch of guys we don’t really know. There’s so many times things have gone wrong in games and, being good mates, you don’t want to let them down.
“That really drives us on. The spine of the team has been there for three years and we’re close friends.”
The Cuppers campaign begins on Saturday 15 February, with Cambridge Blue Danny Collins set to play for Fitz.
Back row (left to right): Tom Hale, Ben Hillier, James Mahon, Cavan Farrow, Paul Storrs (Sidney), Pete Atkin, Caolan McConnaughie, James Scudamore.
Middle row: Alex Hill, Alex Corsham (Sidney), Tom Ryan, Ted Hicks (Sidney), Anthony Baston, Billy Thomas-Connolly, Jay Cranston, Kelvin Leung (Sidney).
Front: Eddie Milton Seall, Toby Hiram, William Lockhart (captain), Ben Jackson (Sidney), George Hayes (vice-captain), Lawrence Tan.