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This is normally held annually, either at Gransden Lodge or OUGC's home airfield at RAF Bicester, and is the traditional opportunity for us to show our skills against "the other place".


This record is incomplete. If you know any details of past varsity matches, please add them to this Wiki, or email the current Webmaster.

Year Venue Result
2014 Gransden Lodge Oxford 525 Cambridge 478
2013 Bicester Oxford 371 Cambridge 352
2012 Gransden Lodge Cambridge 38 Oxford 16
2011 RAF Bicester Oxford 129 Cambridge 88
2010 RAF Bicester Oxford 496 Cambridge 426
2009 Jun RAF Bicester Oxford 776 Cambridge 551
2007 Jul RAF Bicester Cambridge 112 Oxford 85
2006 Jul Gransden Lodge Oxford Won
2003 Jun Gransden Lodge Cambridge Won
2002 Sep RAF Bicester Oxford Won
2001 Dec RAF Bicester Cambridge Won
1998 X-Country Ladder Oxford 14671 Cambridge 13112
1997 Aug RAF Bicester Oxford 80 Cambridge 40
1996 Cancelled
1995 May Gransden Lodge Oxford 1083 Cambridge 1054
1994 May RAF Bicester Cambridge 458 Oxford 434
1993 May RAF Bicester Oxford 213 Cambridge 194
1992 April RAF Bicester Cambridge 192 Oxford 192
1991 RAF Bicester Oxford Won
1990 Oxford Won
1989 RAF Bicester Oxford Won by 57 Points
1988 Cambridge Won
1987 Oxford Won
1986 Cambridge Won
1985 Cambridge Won


Normal rules

  1. A point is awarded for each minute of flight up to 50 mins, after which six points will be deducted for each minute over. The lowest score which can be recorded is 0 points. Two points are awarded for each 100 feet of height gained after the launch provided the climb is maintained for 500 feet. Climbs less than 500 feet do not gain height points.
  2. The number of pilots in each team should not exceed six and the team members must be decided before the start of the competition. Provisional teams should be declared at least one week in advance.
  3. Each pilot can enter only one scoring flight for each day of the competition. A day should be declared void if it is not possible for at least three members of each team to fly.
  4. Teams must record on their own logs the takeoff and landing time for each scoring flight made by a member of their team. Failure to do so renders a flight invalid. An observer from each team shall be present at the launch point during all flights.
  5. A barograph trace must be submitted for a flight to be awarded height gain points. If this is not available only time points will be awarded for the flight. It is the responsibility of each team to make sure a working barograph is carried in each scoring glider.
  6. Instructors may fly in scoring gliders and may verbally assist the competitor. They may not physically fly the glider at any time. The only exception to this is to maintain normal safety.
  7. All flights made during the days of the competitions are potentially valid scoring flights. At the end of each day, teams will submit the takeoff/landing times and trace for the best flight made by each team member.
  8. At the end of the competition, points for all scoring flights will be totalled and the team with the most points will be declared the winner.

Bad weather rules

As agreed at the 2012 Varsity Match

  1. Every 1 minute over 5 minutes is counted as one point, each pilot submits the best flight of the day.
  2. Scores for each university are aggregated, the university with the highest score wins.
  3. Instructors may fly in scoring gliders and may verbally assist the competitor. They may not physically fly the glider at any time. The only exception to this is to maintain normal safety.
  4. Flights making their final turn below 300ft will not score, nor will land out flights.

Past reports


See Varsity 2014.


See Varsity 2013.


Cambridge team
Malcolm Morgan (captain), Iain Butler, Fiona Llewellyn-Beard
Oxford team
Natasha Spottiswoode (captain), Chris Ballance, Joel Scott-Halkes

After a succession of abortive attempts at the Varsity Match (each one foiled by poor weather), we were very pleased to be able welcome members of Oxford University Gliding Club to Gransden Lodge on a cloudy Sunday late in the soaring season. Each Club fielded a team of three pilots of mixed ability, with one pre-solo pilot from each University competing in a two-seat glider under the watchful eye of an instructor. Owing to the weak soaring conditions, we agreed to use a variation of the standard rules: flights would score one point for each minute of flight after five minutes, and each pilot submits his best-scoring flight of the day towards the team total.

A passing rain shower delayed the first launch until eleven o'clock.

Chris Ballance (Oxford) and Iain Butler (Cambridge) completed check-flights with an instructor, obtaining clearance to fly solo in the two Junior single-seat gliders operated by Cambridge Gliding Centre. Early scoring was dominated by Malcolm Morgan of the Cambridge team who showed his experience by clocking up a flight of 31 hard-won minutes in the Junior, working hard at patchy, weak lift in difficult conditions that called for accurate flying and sharp decision-making.

This flight would prove to be decisive: it alone outscored the combined efforts of the Oxford team!

Natasha Spottiswoode and Joel Scott-Halkes posted scoring flights for Oxford, while Iain Butler took advantage of the rising air triggered by a combine harvester working in a nearby field to score secure a useful 13 minutes for Cambridge. Fiona Llewellyn-Beard, flying in a two-seat glider, also scored valuable points for the home side.

Conditions strengthened somewhat as the evening approached: Chris and Natasha took the opportunity to improve on their earlier scores, but it was not enough to close down the healthy Cambridge margin which was maintained until the cessation of flying. We hope to repeat the strong performance at next year's contest to be held at Bicester airfield, the home of OUGC.


Cambridge team
Julia Robson (capt), James Shaw, Fergus Noble
Oxford team
Natasha Spottiswoode (capt), Lukas Brandt

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to organise a Varsity Match we finally met on a typical British summer's day in mid-July. The forecast was not looking promising for a soaring competition - overcast cloud with occasional light rain, but both teams began the process of getting checked out on Bicester's K-13s. We cut the required flight times down because of the bad weather - a 10 minute flight would count for scoring purposes, with a maximum flight time of 30 mins. Even so, by 4pm Cambridge were leading by just 17 points to 12 (with Fergus Noble scoring for Cambridge and Natasha Spottiswoode for Oxford).

Throughout the afternoon we had been tracking a promising patch of sunlight which had slowly been working its way towards us; unfortunately, it looked like it would reach us just as we were packing up. James Shaw (Cambridge) took off in a K-13 intending to perform a hangar landing, came off the winch and immediately turned into a 2kt thermal and began climbing away.

Lukas Brandt (Oxford) immediately jumped into the other K-13 and launched into a strong thermal. After climbing to 3,000ft he displayed a mastery of Varsity Match tactics, using his airbrakes to descend quickly in order to maximise the amount of time spent climbing in thermals. Unfortunately he came unstuck when he was unable to find another thermal, and he was forced to land with a score of 40 points.

At this point Oxford could see James still racking up the points for Cambridge and knew they needed another scoring flight to be in with a chance. They deployed their home-field advantage, pulling rank to ensure that Natasha Spottiswoode took off in the final flight of the day. To Cambridge's dismay, she also started climbing away after some initial trouble.

Meanwhile, James landed his flight after 28 minutes in the air, scoring 71 points (bringing Cambridge's total to 88) and setting Oxford a target of 49 from Natasha's flight to win. At this point it was approaching 6pm and it wasn't clear how long the thermals would continue. We thought it would be close, but as Natasha continually found thermal after thermal to stay up we realised that the match was slipping away from us. Just after 6pm she landed after an excellent flight, scoring 89 points and handing Oxford a comprehensive victory.


Cambridge team
Philippa Roberts (capt), Graham Spelman
Oxford team
Lukas Brandt, Rory Barker

The 2010 Varsity match was held during the Inter-University Gliding Task Week at Bicester airfield, the home of OUGC. Saturday was unsoarable so on Sunday 8th July a team of four pilots from each club rigged their gliders in anticipation of the good weather. Philippa Roberts, Cambridge Captain and Lukas Brandt, Oxford launched first to test the conditions, they were closely followed by Graham Spelman, Cambridge and Rory Barker, Oxford. Lukas and Philippa flew a very close match with only 2 points between them; unfortunately for the Cambridge side Rory beat Graham by 72 points. Tragically the weekend's flying was cut short by the death of Miss Amy Barsby in an accident. Amy, 25, a pilot from Trinity College Dublin contributed a lot to university gliding and we would like to take this opportunity to recognise that contribution.


On the weekend of the 27th/28th June 09, Cambridge University Gliding Club travelled to Oxford University's home club at RAF Bicester for the 2009 Gliding Varsity Match. Their aim was to keep the Varsity Cup for the sport of soaring the sky at Cambridge for another year. The five person team knew they were up against tough competition, as the Oxford team held the advantage in qualifications and experience. The Saturday started with a real surprise for a gliding competition; the weather was fantastic! The airfield was set up quickly and the necessary check flights made by the visiting team, to familiarise themselves with the airfield and local airspace (there is a nearby parachute drop zone – not a good place to be in a glider!). With these chores completed, Julia and Becca kicked things off for the Cambridge team, flying in K13s, and both gaining very respectable scores of around 130 points (1 point per minute, up to 50 minutes, plus 2 points per 100 ft sustained height gain). However, Oxford countered with two very good flights, as Lukas and Felix went off in their hotships, into the best of a good day's weather. Their better gliders and slightly dubious pull-up tactics led to some truly amazing scores of 235 and 276 points, gaining between the two of them more than the entire Oxford team last year. Peter then flew in a borrowed glider, making Cambridge's best scoring flight yet. Most of the remaining members of both teams made their flights that afternoon, and the evening showed Oxford out in the lead. Sunday's weather was not quite what Saturday's had been, but there were still plenty of thermals about, so there were many efforts from the Cambridge team to better their previous scores. Peter made another impressive scoring flight of 212 points, in CUGC's new glider; an ASW19 with the tail letters CU, but no one else was able to improve in the slightly poorer weather.


After a defeat at home in 2006, Cambridge arrived at RAF Bicester eager to take back the Varsity Trophy. As was the case for much of the season, the weather was proving to be rather uncooperative. However, by early afternoon the sky cleared enough that the match could begin. Soaring conditions remained very difficult and both teams found it hard to make significant height gains. In the end though, a trio of strong performances from Nick Laux, Adam Spikings and Peter Buchlovsky sealed the day, with us eventually winning by 112 points to 85.


Sadly, the match was pushed back to August from projected dates in June due to weather and other uncontrollable delays. When the day did arrive, the visiting Oxford side was on excellent form, with Cambridge struggling to put out a whole team due to the holidays. After a hard day’s competition in difficult conditions, Oxford won by a fair margin, leaving Cambridge disappointed but keen for the replay in 2007.


Cambridge team
Paul Flower & Charlotte Morley


Cambridge team
John Hingley, Paul Flower, John Glass, James Lloyd-Hughes & Tom Bishop


Cambridge team
Pete Thelwall, Jay Rebbeck, Debbie Thomas, Stuart Crawshaw & Stephen Madle


Cambridge team
Pete Thelwall, Debbie Thomas & Stephen Madle


Cambridge team
Stuart Crawshaw, Henry Rebbeck ,Mark Williams, Alex Parr, Ian Lewis & Kingsley Reavell


Cambridge team
James Chappell, Stuart Crawshaw, John Moore, Mark Williams & Henry Rebbeck


Cambridge team
Jagdip Grewal, Harjinder Obhi, James Chappell, John Moore, Malte Grosche & Stuart Crawshaw


Cambridge team
Damian Debski, Malte Grosche, Stuart Morgan, Harjinder Obhi, Peter Topping, Matthew Turnbull & John Moore


Cambridge team
David Heath-Whyte, Derek Prinsen, Graham Armstrong, Frank Zachariasse & Margaret Oakes