Hawks Newsletter March 2023

Hawk competes in Hong Kong and becomes 372nd best triathlete in the world

Luke McCarron (CUHH, CUTrC) lined up in Hong Kong for an Asia Cup event and achieved what is by some measure the best result of his career. McCarron finished in 7th place in a fiercely contested sprint distance race with just 19 secs separating him from winner Austria’s Lukas Pertl, rising to 372nd in the world rankings.

More information is available here: https://www.triathlonireland.com/news/2023/edgar-steps-up-in-sa-elite-racing-round-up/?fbclid=iwar1witg_jmf0c4bysnevc88eoour-jjoh7avkx_3rkesvkeu8mjhw95crvw


Hawks’ Clubhouse update

This term, the clubhouse has been incredibly busy with a whole host of activities. Between the Hawk’s darts tournaments, post-Varsity celebrations, the Six Nations and members booking out dinners it has been fantastic to see residents using the space how it is intended to be! The Clubhouse is now serving food every trading day of the week too. Hawks’ Burgers are back! Burgers on Saturdays and Sundays, lasagne on Tuesdays for a pre-BUCS carb load and sausage rolls and pasties Wednesday-Friday.

We encourage all alumni to come along and get involved too!

Some of the festivities.


Sightings of the Hawks’ Club colours 

Dr M Graham Rees sporting a Hawks’ tie whilst entertaining the Duke of Edinburgh – story on the power of the tie below!

When South Africa finally returned to sanity with the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela as President, the door opened for visits by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1994 and 1995.

Trisha (Graham’s wife) and I had the immense pleasure of being invited by The British Ambassador to a garden party at his residence to meet the Royal couple. I remember how impressed Trish was by the beauty of the Queen’s complexion and I had the pleasure of a long chat with the Duke based on him recognising my Hawks Club tie. He happened to be President of the Club for Cambridge students who have been recognised for their sporting efforts while at the University.

On an entirely separate occasion the Duke had come to Cape Town to establish His Duke of Edinburgh award scheme in the new multiracial South Africa. A luncheon took place at the Mount Nelson Hotel and I had the honour of hosting a table sponsored by the Anglo American/De Beers Group.

Trisha was also at the lunch and it was a hugely enjoyable and memorable privilege for us to be involved in the establishment of an award scheme which challenges youngsters to achieve so much. Our grand-daughter Maisie has just completed the Silver level of the award. At the garden party, with the Queen, the Duke showed Trish and I his wicked sense of humour when he said to me as a parting shot – Keep wearing that tie. You never know your luck – someone famous may recognise it sometime in the future!!


George Pugh, CUAFC, 2018-2022 working for the Alsama charity in Beirut, Lebanon, sporting Hawks’ stash. Front right


Hawks’ Welsh Dinner

Aside from the intrepid few Welsh Hawks of April 2022, who had maintained continuity, it was happy returns post COVID to the Cardiff and County Club in January and the 49th Welsh Dinner for the regulars amongst the group.

In the interim, dare it be said that anno domino had exercised its influence and much of the early conversation in the pre dinner bar centred around wonky prostates, knackered knees, arthritic hips, whilst doubtless, making an effort to hide surprise as to how much everyone else had aged over the two years intervening!

As befits tradition, John James (Christ’s 1961) took the gavel and as one of two former Club Presidents present, gave apologies for the absence of, amongst others, Dennis Gethin and Gerald Davies : one who had held and other, current incumbent in the position of President of the Welsh Rugby Union.

On a somber note he expressed the mood of sadness amongst us that illness for Dennis and a former chair for the Dinner, Russel Jenkins had prevented their attendance.

The loss of Brian Rees and Eddie Butler since the 48th Dinner was marked with a heartfelt round of applause.

After the meal for which our host is renowned, it  fell for the Chair, no doubt mindful of his claim for a knighthood , to propose the loyal toast.  For the first time of course, it was directed to a fellow Hawk, King Charles. Next with alacrity John introduced two of the three ‘Dinner virgins’; the third, David Cassidy ( Trinity Hall 1995) had somehow (allegedly), managed to maroon himself in Trinidad and shall until he proves us wrong, as a result, be forthwith declared a ‘lightweight’!

Larry Amure (Christ’s 1976) gave a superbly entertaining ‘virgin’ speech . He was as pure and chaste in his delivery as one might expect of a Boxing Blue! Larry was clearly, however, not a first-timer, as he let slip his experience of stand-up at the Edinburgh Fringe. His stories of interviews at Cambridge, boxing and after taking his Ph.D, experience as a medic brought roars of spontaneous laughter and a nodding of heads with Welsh Fringes: many of them,  slipping further up aging and increasingly grey and/or balding pates!

Dr Larry was followed by another first for the dinner; as Justin Davies, a surgeon of renown, the second of the Hawks’ Presidents present and moreover a DON at Downing, rose to speak;  accompanied, it has to be said, by less than respectful ribaldry . The fact he mentioned,  in a short and polished speech , that he had understudied for five years two Blues scrum halves both of whom were sharing his table, before gaining his reward in the number nine shirt, saw  Andy Booth (Hughes Hall 1989) and ‘Chocco’ DeMaid (Hughes Hall 1991)  nodding in contentment at the mention. He then spoilt their moment by recalling that he had advised Martin Williams (the current Welsh Team Manager) of this fact, who had retorted authoritatively : ‘Five years as substitute  to those two, you must have been Sh*t!!’

Whilst the more refined of diners sat back with the relaxed overview that boyos will be boyos; and as others adjourned to the bar to stretch its normal stop tap, we all relaxed and revelled in the informality and camaraderie that so characterises our annual gathering and our once a year donning of the formality of club and blues bow ties.

Details of the Fiftieth Welsh Dinner on 19th January 2024 will follow from Steve Whitehead.( enquiries : 07725 702499 ; whiteheadstephen3@googlemail.com)

All Hawks will be most welcome, especially those young enough to avoid the necessity to discuss less than perfect prostates, faltering lungs and rampant arthritis!


Hawks’ Wine update

In an unsurprising turn of events Hawks continue to enjoy the Club’s wine range. The Hawks’ rosé has been reduced from £11.94 ex to £9.75 ex per bottle! Be sure to stock up on a Clubhouse favourite. Link found here.


 Varsity Matches

Cambridge have made a strong start to varsity matches, with Rackets, Hockey and the Hare and Hounds (amongst others) winning. More information on results and fixture dates is available here: https://www.hawksclub.co.uk/varsity-fixtures/ .


Rackets Varsity

Below can be found a quick round up of the Rackets Varsity match, supplied by former Hawks’ Club president Ed Hyde. The Full report can be found here . The overall result was a convincing 4-2 win by Cambridge in the first team and a narrow loss in the seconds.

1st Team

Jake Probert (O) beat Arthur King (C) 5/15, 15/9, 15/9, 15/8

Benedict Yorston (O) lost to Arthur Adams (C) 15/1, 12/15, 4/15, 15/12, 11/15

Isaac Wighton (O) beat Louis Dessalles (C) 15/1, 15/1, 15/12

Louis Manson (O) lost to Patrick Smart (C) 0/15, 13/16/ 6/15.

Benedict Yorston & Jake Probert (O) lost to Arthur Adams & Arthur King (C) 15/7, 15/8, 4/14, 7/15, 14/17.

L Manson & I Wighton (O) lost to P Smart & L Dessalles 7/15, 10/15, 6/15.

2nd Team

Henry Buxtall (C) beat Tristan Gauthier (O) by 3 games to 0

Charles Inglis (O) beat Sacha Groom (C) by 3 games to 2

C Inglis & T Gauthier (O) beat Groom & Buxtall (C) by 3 games to 1

Arthur Adams (Trinity), Arthur King (Trinity), Patrick Smart (Churchill), Louis Dessalles (Robinson). 


Cambridge University Hare & Hounds secure medals at BUCS 

On Saturday 4th February over 50 members of the University Cross Country Club made the trip to Pembrey Country Park in Wales to compete in the British Universities Cross Country Championships. Fresh of an historic 5-0 clean sweep in the selected teams at December’s Varsity Match, hopes were high for some strong performances at the biggest race of the season. The course was known to be flat and generally fast, but the wind and sandy sections would pose some challenge.

Proceedings began with the women’s B race which saw some strong performances from Cambridge athletes, whose scoring team finished 6th. Incredibly this would become the only race of the day without light blue on the podium. In the 8km Men’s B race Wolfson PhD Terry Fawden took the fight to race favourites Loughborough from the start with an impressive piece of front running. While a few caught up with him in the latter stages he still held on for a fine bronze medal in a tight sprint finish which saw all three medallists within two seconds of each other. Further back teammates Lawrence Hollom, Neil Ibata and Cillian Doherty ran the races of their lives to finish 12th, 17th and 25th. This would make it two medals for Fawden as the Cambridge team finished in third place behind Loughborough and Birmingham.

Fawden (right) with the other individual medalists

The women’s A saw incredible performances by Niamh Bridson Hubbard in 4th, Nancy Scott in 11th and new recruit Bea Wood in 13th to get on the team podium. In the Men’s A race it was a pack of 8 that broke away after the first lap, which included Hawks’ Vice President Jeremy Dempsey. The pace was hot from the start with 10k being passed in well under 30 minutes for the leaders, and while Dempsey found himself off the back over the final lap, he held on for an impressive 8th place against strong competition. Further behind, a Cambridge team of Luke McCarron (Hawk), Ewan Spencer and Paul McKinley followed the example set by their B race counterparts to progress through the field and finish 28th, 31st and 34th respectively, with McCarron and McKinley coming from deep in the 70s after the first lap. This was enough to secure a bronze medal in what ended up being a Varsity rematch against O*ford for the final spot on the podium.

The Men’s A team – Luke McCarron, Ewan Spencer, Paul McKinley and Jeremy Dempsey

This capped off what is perhaps the most successful trip to BUCS Nationals in the club’s history, and with most of the scoring team members staying for at least next year and promising freshers to fill the ranks, hopes are high for next year. But for now, on to the track season!


Hockey Varsity

Blundies: 0-3 L

Rovers:  2-1 W on shuffles

Squandies: 4-3 W on shuffles

Beds: 2-0 W

Wandies: 3-0 W

Nomads: 0-1 L

Sam Grimshaw (Hawk, CUHC) and Sam Pritchard (Hawk, CUHC) celebrating the Squandies win


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.

You can also rapidly and easily keep up to date with all the latest Hawks’ Club activities by following our social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A reminder to keep your details up to date on the website (your username should be <SURNAME><INITIALS> e.g. MOENAJ for Alexander James Moen – send an email to secretary@hawksclub.co.uk if you have forgotten your username).

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

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