Hawks Newsletter January 2023

Hawks’ Club Annual Dinner

It was a great pleasure to see many familiar faces at the annual dinner at the Savoy recently, including a sizable contingent of residents. Many thanks to the London Dinner Committee for their hard work in bringing about an excellent evening at the Savoy enjoyed by resident and non-residents alike. We would be grateful to receive any pictures taken during the evening for our next newsletter in the new year.

Members of the Hawks’ Committee

(Left to right; Nick Sweeney, Jeremy Dempsey, Felix Craig-McFeely, Ehren Agarwal, Ben Jackson and Alfie Collins)

Hawks’ Club wine

For those Hawks’ that are not partaking in Dry January, a new year means new stock! Please use the following link to stock up for 2023 https://www.privatecellar.co.uk/selection.asp?id=25&utm_campaign=Hawks-Club .

New reciprocal – New Club, Edinburgh

We are pleased to announce a new reciprocal club, the New Club in Edinburgh. The New Club is Scotland’s oldest members club and has dining, accommodation and meeting facilities. Don’t hesitate to call if you are in the area! Thanks goes to Peter Juhasz for his work on this.


Cambridge University Hare and Hounds take historic clean sweep at cross country Varsity Matches

For the first time in the history of the current format of three men’s and two women’s selected teams, the university cross country club have pulled off a performance for the ages to win all selected team races at the 2022 Varsity Cross Country Matches. This is made all the more impressive coming off the back of a 4-1 loss in last year’s match.

Top: Men’s Thirds team, Men’s Seconds

Bottom: Women’s Seconds

The II-IVs matches took place on the 26th November in Oxford, at the notoriously hard Shotover Country Park. A relatively new set of teams went out with the hope of avenging last years 4-1 home losses, and avenge they did. Starting off with the Women’s Seconds race, Cambridge won the individual race through Anna Kelly and the team competition with a very comprehensive 27-51;  leaving no room for error with 5 women in before O*ford’s first. This set the tone for the day. The men’s seconds and thirds match set off next, and it was a convincing win for Tom Spencer, upgrading his 7th place (but 1st Cambridge) finish from last year to lead home all 6 light blue scorers in the top 7 for an emphatic victory in 26-52. Showing a bright future, the team had 5 members who had never run any Varsity Match before. The Men’s Thirds race was a closely fought fixture that Cambridge claimed only with place changes in the last few minutes of racing. The final score was a tight 37-41.

The Men’s and Women’s Blues Teams

Buoyed on by the success of their teammates the week before and with favourable head to heads, the blues teams made the long journey to Wimbledon Common last Saturday in high spirits. While cold, the air was still and the week had been dry, so the day looked to be a fast one. The Women’s Blues race was the first to start and it was an exceptional run by 2019 Champion (and 2019 Osprey of the Year) Niamh Bridson-Hubbard that saw her run a record time of 22:30 round the 4 mile hilly course. Niamh was chased home all the way by fellow light blue Phoebe Barker in a fine return to cross country form, with last year’s champion Nancy Scott in 4th. While it was a Cambridge top 2 in 2021 as well, the team didn’t quite have the depth to take the win. This all changed on Saturday as Cambridge packed 5 women into the top 8 to show both the top end and depth required for one of the strongest wins in recent years, taking the match 29-50.

The Men went next, and after several large team member losses in the days running up to the match, a comfortable win was no longer on the cards and it was all to play for. The start was cagey, and the race only broke up around the halfway mark. Hawks’ Club Vice President Jeremy Dempsey eventually pulled away to win by 26 seconds, covering the 7.5 mile course in 37:47. The team race, however, was decided further back, as several Cambridge men ran some of the strongest races of their lives to keep the light blues in contention. Ewan Spencer upgraded last year’s 12th to a surprise and well-deserved 3rd. In doing so Ewan overtook O*ford’s 2nd man in the final 100m in run that turned out to be pivotal. Hawk’s Club Resident Luke McCarron, alongside new American Paul McKinley, worked through from last at the river crossing to 7th and 6th respectively. Finally, reserves Tom Spencer and Matthew Dubery, called upon at the last minute, both made the scoring team to result in a final score of 38-40 to Cambridge; the closest winning margin since 1982.

Men’s Blues with coach Phillip O’ Dell

(From left to right: Jeremy Dempsey(H), Angus Harrington(H), Luke McCarron(H), Tom Spencer, Phil O’DellCoach), Terry Fawden, Ewan Spencer, Paul McKinnely, Matthew Dubery)

Women’s Blues

(From left to right: Helene Greenwood, Anna Kelly, Maia Hardman(O), Niamh Bridson-Hubbard(O), Louise Shanahan(O), Phoebe Barker(O), Poppy Craig-McFeely (O), Nancy Scott (O)) 

All this now means that Cambridge have pulled ahead in the overall series, currently leading by 66 wins to 65. See you next year, once both teams have recovered from a suitably celebratory post-match dinner!

Sightings of the club colours

Rowan Kitt With Andrew Bailey, Hon Fellow of Queens’, at the Barnado’s fundraising dinner in the Guildhall, London

Luke McCarron (Jesus, CUTrC, CUH&H), Papped (bottom left) on Boxing Day next to Arsene Wenger on the ex-Gunners manager’s first return to Arsenal since retiring

Hawks run coast to coast 

In June, former Hawks President Jamie Giddins and Hawks Committee member Richard Ollington set off to run the breadth of the UK, here’s their story as written by Richard.

Jamie had friends who’d run the feat in 26hrs, he was determined we should beat them in under-24. Our lack of ultra running

experience or a formal race to enter were no deterrent, the allure of a ‘win’ and adventure were motivation enough.

Our 87-mile run encompassed three marathons and a crawl-finish, each section with its own scenery, each fuelled by a hearty meal, each faced with different challenges.

The first section took us from Bowness-on-Solway down the flats of Cumbria surrounded by chirps of birdsong and waking cattle. Starting any earlier than 4am would have meant waiting outside shops and cafes for their 6am and 9am openings, there was no pressure to run any faster than our 10 minutes/mile. Onwards we cruised, in high spirits and flowing conversation.

After a second breakfast at Gilsland we faced a long set of climbs across the Pennines. The strong prevailing tail winds pushed us up endless steps. Nods of acknowledgment were shared with the many ramblers, DofE walkers and bleating sheep along the way. The ever present Hadrian’s Wall was celebrating its 1900th year with Roman scarecrows guarding its way. The Sycamore Gap Tree marked halfway; cold, tired and sheltering from the weather under its branches the enormity of the road ahead dawned on us.

At Chollerford we had ourselves a second seated meal, after inspecting already calloused blisters we loaded up on soup, sandwiches and whipped cream topped hot chocolate. As we set off on our third marathon the sun broke through the clouds lighting up the long straight Roman Roads ahead. As a distraction from tedium we settled into the day’s underwhelming ENG-NZ Test Match Special and bet on the distance to markers on the horizon. Now conscious of the coming dusk and the seizing up of legs we ordered a pizza to-go to be eaten as we walked down towards Newcastle with a drained pain coursing through our bodies.

Newcastle was vibrant with party-goers two stepping out of the way of our shuffles. As we adjusted our pacing down from interspersed run/walks to a determined stroll the energy of town was alien to us. It was 8 miles to the coast, single-digits, and we had 5 hours left on the clock. Our glimmer of hope was shadowed by the dread of worsening legs and a slowing pace. The darkening A-roads slugged through North Shields’ industrial and council estates. There was no excitement, just self-loathing pain. Finishing at 2am we were greeted by stiffening legs as we took our finishers photo. Fortunately, climbing into bed exhaustion overwhelmed our radiating pain and we soon fell asleep reminiscing on the longest day of our lives.

The next day, England overturned its losses to win its Test Match, and our achings started to give way to a warm long-lasting pride.

CURUFC Tour to Genoa: 

On the 17th of November 2022, the boys in light blue embarked to Genoa, on their first official tour of the season. Following an early start, the team boarded their flight and sights were eagerly set on Italian soil. 

Upon arrival, we were met with a videographer and a brief bus trip to the quaint town of Recco. Situated forty minutes outside of Genoa itself, the town provided the perfect opportunity for the team to acquaint themselves with the Italian culture – mainly food. After making short work of the Focaccia al Formaggio (famous local dish) and exploring the town itself, the team made their way across the river to Recco Rugby Club in preparation for Friday’s match. While the training session proved to be sub-par, the reception held afterwards was certainly not. Many songs were shared over a delightful Italian feast that brought tears to the eyes of all front-rowers.  

Friday, game day. Following a brisk walk and espresso in the neighbouring town of Camogli, the boys made sure to look sharp for their meeting with the Mayor of Genoa, Maro Bucci – a lovely man that provided us with great hospitality during our time in the city. Once the meeting and refreshments concluded, we made our way to the Carlini-Bollesan stadium to face off against the Siluri Rugby invitational team. 

Comprising various ex-professionals and Italian u20 players, the game met all expectations of being extremely physical and fast pace. Both teams lined up and sang their songs of choice – Cambridge’s being Country Road (thanks Jimbob). The stands were packed, and the roaring fans provided an awesome atmosphere. 

The Blues struck first with an electric line break from Ikechi Mere. Siluri was sure to hit back, showcasing their mercurial outside backs to go back up on the scoreboard. The Blues, courageous in their efforts, welcomed the Italian physicality with open arms and made for an exciting forty minutes of rugby, walking into halftime two points down (21-19). A closely contested twenty minutes into the second half saw both sides competing fiercely on and off the ball. The home side took the lead at 28-26, and this was when the flood gates opened. A brief lapse in defensive effort and urgency from the Blues allowed Siluri to capitalise, running in multiple tries over a short period. Down on the scoreboard, the Cambridge men fought fiercely to claw back victory, but unfortunately it was too little too late. 

Post-match, both teams met at a local restaurant, where we were treated to mouth-watering pizza and what seemed to be bottomless Italian beer. The celebrations were initiated by Ben Gompels, singing his iconic ‘Twist and Shout’ later joined by our very own Tomasso Castello (Italian Rugby player and Italian resident) sing his rendition of God Save the King, we don’t think he is allowed back into Italy after that. 

With Friday’s festivities carrying on into the early hours of the morning, Saturday’s wake-up proved to be a slow one, with sore bodies and many sore heads. After a quick breakfast, the boys hopped on the train to Genoa to watch Italy play against the world champion Springboks. The outcome of the game didn’t go as planned for the Italians, nor 99% of the Cambridge side, but made for two very happy South Africans in the team! 

Waking up on Sunday morning in a similar state to the morning before, it was time for the Blues to pack up and make their way back to the airport. To our surprise, we were greeted by the entire South African rugby team. With feelings of bewilderment and excitement, the boys made use of the opportunity to snap some photos – personal favourites being Laurence Marwood (The Ox) with Ox Nche and Ben Gompels with Rassie Erasmus. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to round off an unbelievable tour. While the result didn’t go our way, I can confidently say that we have grown together as a group, making memories that will long outlive the scorecard. GDBO. 

And we’ll roll the old chariot along

CURUFC: Shawn Ingles – Germany 7s International Tournament

Shawn was recently selected for the German national 7s team touring Zimbabwe to compete in the Zambezi Challenge tournament. The German team took home the trophy after narrowly besting the tournament hosts – the Zimbabwean national team – 19-17 in the final.

The tournament was played after a national training camp at the Olympic Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany where Shawn joined the squad of professional rugby athletes for a trial. 

A born and bred South African living in Cambridge, Shawn is eligible due to his German passport gained through his mother’s side of the family. He caught the eye of the German selectors while playing in Australia during his previous degree.

In Zimbabwe, the Germans faced a range of elite Invitational teams from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana – all vying to lift the Zambezi Challenge trophy. 

Thriving in the professional environment that the German team fosters, Shawn had a solid debut tournament. He made an impact for the German team through strong carries and some crucial defence, including the tournament-winning tackle which secured Germany the win in the final. 

The experience of playing in his native Africa was a personal highlight for Shawn. Zimbabwe is a beautiful place and the locals are a lively, friendly bunch. They treated Shawn and the German team like celebrities after their tournament win.

Movember in Cambridge! 

November 2022 once again saw Cambridge’s sports teams invested heavily in the Movember cause. Movember is a global charity aimed at improving men’s mental health, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. 330,000 people signed up for Movember across the world this year, raising 53 million and counting!  Men and women around Cambridge were running, cycling, rowing and mo-ing to add their contributions and earn donations.  

The rugby club launched its own ‘challenges’ to be completed at certain milestones along the way.  A delightful rendition of ??? was sung and posted by Fergus Hughes at £300, and some interesting hair dye was picked out for Max Loveridge and Tim Andrew (pictured) to raise awareness during this year’s Steele-Bodger fixture.  Overall, CURUFC saw £1,344 raised and is still counting.  There is a link below for any further donations!

The Cambridge Swimmers took on Movember as a club too, even despite the extra drag they were burdened with while in the pool! CUSWPC raised £325 altogether. Their Instagram post is here.  There is still time to donate!


(Left to right: Max Loveridge, Tim Andrew (CURUFC))


Micky Steele-Bodger XV Fixture (CURUFC)

On the 30th of November, a beautiful sunny afternoon saw the pubs of Cambridge packed with eager spectators awaiting the 74th annual match against the Micky Steele-Bodger XV.

It was a great start from Cambridge who fired out the blocks threatening the Bodgers’ try line with some well worked phases.  The ultimate dream start was snatched from us as the referee called for a forward pass, allowing the game to open up.   Around fifteen minutes in, Cambridge has the first score with Tim Andrew capitalising on an overlap and dotting down in the corner.  Max Loveridge, stepping into the number 10 position following an injury, added the extras from the touchline.  The Bodgers fought back with a well worked try by their number 12, an ex-Loughborough University player.  Cambridge were struggling in the scrum against a more experienced pack and thus conceded again before half time.  The crowd, replenished with beer, welcomed the teams back out, and soon enough Bodger’s had scored another with a fantastic finish from their winger.  Another excellent kick from touch made the score 7-21 in favour of the visitors.  Cambridge struck back with a creative mall-carry-carry-carry combo, clawing their way back into the game.   It wasn’t long at all, however, before Sam Odu showed his flair and skinned former team-mate Etienne to eventually send Tim Andrew back to his Happy Place for his second try.  Cambridge well and truly back in it: 19-21.  Grit and determination saw Max Loveridge break the line and feed the ball inside to his freshman teammate, David Holdroyd.  What a year it has been for that lad!  Later on, Max put in a beautifully weighted grubber which debutant Jordan Mubako collected before easing his way into the corner.  Max seemed to be having the time of his life as he burst through for Cambridge’s final try of the match, sealing the deal 36-21.  Ex-CURUFC heroes, Joey Gatus and Chris Bell, shimmied their way down the touchline to go in for a consolation score for the invitationals.  However, it was too little too late.  Final score CURUFC 36 – 28 Steele-Bodger XV.

Thanks to all of the sponsors who made the event such a success and we look forward to seeing you there next year on the 29th of November 2023!

(Tim Andrew scoring in the corner, credit: Ben Phillips)

(Thomas Castle carrying hard, credit: Ben Phillips)

(Matt Symons making his CURUFC Debut, credit: Ben Phillips)

Contact Us and Picture Submissions

Please do get in touch with us about anything at all Hawks’ Club related! We particularly welcome photos of Hawks past and present which we will try to get up in the Clubhouse and on the website. It is also great to hear about the sporting or social activities of past Hawks – for example, anecdotes or brief thoughts on current affairs, or how we could improve the newsletter. We’re very keen to get content in here that you as Hawks alumni want to read about! Do get in touch either at president@hawksclub.co.uk or secretary@hawksclub.co.uk.

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If you enjoyed this newsletter, you can also read archived newsletters here.

Newsletter compiled by Vice President Jeremy Dempsey and Communications Officer Alex King