Hawks’ Newsletter May 2024

5 in a row for CUABC, Light Blue dominance in the 115th Varsity


President’s Introduction

Gentlemen Hawks,

It is a great pleasure to write to you, bringing news of another successful term for the Club. The term has been defined by another year of Varsity successes, including clean sweeps for our rugby players and oarsmen. The Boxing Varsity was a real highlight, hosted at the Cambridge Guildhall in front of a sell-out crowd, culminating in a Cambridge victory. The 150th Football Varsity was another well attended event, despite a narrow loss on penalties to the Other Place.

My sincere thanks go to all alumni who have turned out to support the current teams, many events enjoyed far bigger crowds than in previous years and there is real momentum and life back into Varsity sport, particularly for those of a Light Blue persuasion. Many athletes will have been funded by your donations to the Charitable Trust and I am grateful for this direct contribution to the success of Cambridge sport. Next, it is the turn of the ‘summer’ sports and the cricket at Lord’s on 9th May promises to be a real highlight.

The Clubhouse has been very busy and the Club continues to offer an enviable combination of a lively and well attended Bar, alongside formal dining for Club and reunion dinners. Many members have taken advantage of this and I was particularly pleased to welcome back the 1974 CUHC Blues and 1994 CURUFC Blues Varsity sides for their 50th and 30th milestones. We would be delighted to welcome back any other teams with anniversaries on the horizon.

Alumni continue to meet both in Cambridge (under the energetic stewardship of Mark Hancock, all Hawks welcome!) and further afield. 2024 marked the 50th Welsh Dinner and an excellent write up can be found below, alongside an interesting piece on the Woodpeckers RFC, an Oxbridge invitational rugby side which has morphed into a golf club in recent years which also appeared in a recent Vincent’s newsletter.

At the end of this newsletter there is a note on ‘Clarissa’s Campaign’, an initiative to celebrate Clarissa Nicholls, an Osprey, hockey player and cross country runner, who tragically passed away on her year abroad, days before her 21st birthday. The Cambridge community is raising funds for an annual ECG screening service in her memory. My siblings (a Vincent and an Osprey) and I ran with Clarissa for Herne Hill Harriers and have benefited from ECG screening. I would be very grateful for your support towards the campaign to widen this service to all Cambridge athletes.

Over the next few months, there is much to look forward to. The Resident Hawks will field an XI in the Cricket Cuppers and a VI in the Croquet Cuppers, we will also be touring Prague to celebrate the end of exams. The term will be capped off with the Hawks’ Event and the dining in of a new President and Committee to lead the club in our 152nd year!


Felix Craig-McFeely (Fitzwilliam, CUBC)

Hawks’ Club President 2023-24



In the last few months we have had many new members join the Club, as current members will know, the Club colours are the market of a Hawk. We thought it would be good to give new Hawks (and old) a brief overview of just some of the many items available for purchase, and give wind of some new items that are coming soon.. All items mentioned below can be purchased here and deliver to anywhere in the UK in 2-3 days.

A particular essential is the Hawks’ cap (£20), proudly worn around Cambridge by many Resident Members. A fleece/sweater of some form also goes down a treat. We have a Columbia full-zip sweater (£75) on offer and a new cheaper Columbia quarter-zip available for purchase. Those looking for a slightly smarter option will enjoy the lambswool sweater (£85), which works excellently on the golf course.


The new Hawks’ Club Columbia Quarter-Zip – yours for only £30!

For more formal occasions, the Hawks tie (£35) and bowtie (£30) are must-haves. The crest cufflinks are also great at just £10. And, in anticipation of the May week season, an early cummerbund (£65) or pocket-square (£8) purchase wouldn’t be a bad idea.

We have many accessories on offer: boonies (£35), budgies (£27), towels (£19.50), belts, Chilly’s bottles (£25). The North Face duffle (£120) is unbelievably good. And shortly we will have a new North Face backpack available.

Finally, is the warmer wear. Both the Rab jacket (£145) and gilet (£130) are of really great quality, offering serious warmth in a lightweight style!

Happy shopping!


London Dinner Save the Date

This year’s London Dinner will take place on Wednesday 4th December at The Savoy. Please save the date and spread the word to fellow Hawks. More details to follow in due course.

Welsh Dinner

By Stephen Whitehead (Christ’s 1969)

I’m pleased to report that the Welsh Dinner goes from strength to strength since its creation by our ‘founding fathers’: Johnny Morris, Cliff Evans and Hugh Thomas at the start of the 1970s. In all, over 160 Hawks have attended since its inception.

This year, a number of last minute withdrawals, unavoidable as they were, unfortunately, reduced numbers below the target of 60 Hawks. (Although, perhaps fortune favoured us in that this level of attendance would have seen the dinner transferred from its usual home in the Westgate room of the Cardiff and County Club to the much larger but less intimate, dining room overlooking the Principality Stadium! Such is the nature of the event, however, even in this eventuality, I doubt whether our characteristic ‘informal formality’ would have been lost at all).

The first element on what might loosely be termed ‘the agenda’, (or more accurately :order of play!) permitted John James (Christ’s 1961), one of four former club presidents around the tables, to kick off  the proceedings, his right hand wielding a gavel which would become more and more animated throughout the proceedings, as his left brought his wine glass regularly to his mouth.

A round of heartfelt applause resulted for the late Dennis Gethin, who was an ever present at the dinner prior to his illness and his passing late last year. Dennis was and will be greatly missed. He had been a regular for over 40 dinners.

After the meal, which has ever was of the very highest standards, the traditional ‘Welsh Rarebit’ and the passage of the Port decanter, it was over to the ‘newbies’, as has become tradition, to  give their virgin speech.

The noble efforts from Garri Jones (Caius 1989); Huw Jones (Caius 1990);  Steve Richards (Magdalene 1968); Ed Hyde (Jesus 2018); and Niels Van Fraassen (Jesus 2012) were greeted with the usual ‘respectful disrespect’ . Although the latter startled the gathering with his account of how he contrived a most satisfactory even innovatory means of screwing ‘the other place.’  Incidentally Messrs Hyde and Van Fraassen incurred the wrath of the printer as the proliferation of their University sports overran into a second line of script thereby ruining the aesthetic layout of the menu! 

Niels Van Fraassen (Jesus) and Ed Hyde (Jesus, President 2021-22)

Our ‘home grown’ Dick: David Richard Thomas (Christ’s 1972) returning to the Land of his Fathers , belying his Neath Rugby Club heritage, talked of his time at Christ’s. Without wishing to libel such an eminent dermatologist, it seemed bizarre that his rugby career might have resulted in so much scar tissue.  His delightful story of a cottage above the snow line in mid Wales called  Ty Hebog, “hebog” being the Welsh for hawk. At the stage that the evening had reached, the fact that he and his account was both interesting, relevant and intelligible, says a great deal.  He did, however, somewhat spoil the cultural moment  by scurrilously claiming that our highly respected chairman, had (without any intention at all, of course) been the subject of wanton sexual desire from a number of high society ladies of Cambridge during his time ‘up’!

In a somewhat questionable departure from tradition, Dan Wooller (St Catharine’s 1989) then had the temerity to wheel in a television monitor,  thereby employing a visual aid in the form of a video. By this means he made us aware of S.T.A.R. (Support, Transform and Achieve through Rugby) a charity geared to the sector where children are raised in adverse circumstances of an environment of drugs,  poverty or mental health issues. Its aim is to introduce these youngsters to rugby as a means of improving their lives and eradicating the logical path in life which they might otherwise follow.  Dan’s  company are pioneering the charity and have already made great strides with 79 clubs in England. The latter has encouraged him to launch a trial in West Wales, generously sponsored by Hugh Bach Thomas (St. Catharine’s 1988)

Before retiring to the bar to meet the early hours, James Skelton (Trinity 1986) decided it would be appropriate for a further element of culture in the the form of the renowned operatic voice of Geoffrey Haydn Moses (Emmanuel 1971) to be introduced to the somewhat raucous camaraderie prevailing . As a means of persuasion, a more than acceptable rendition of Calon Lân rang out from Johnny Eds (St Catharine’s 1991) proving that our mustang  medic by Royal Appointment is by no means a horse whisperer. His effort was, however, but voce dolce (as some might say in the stables just down from Llandewi Velfrey) in comparison to the magnificent, and mighty baritone from Geoff. This resounded around the entire club and half of Cardiff. It left  a rapt element mightily impressed.  Some made a valiant effort to join him in chorus, for others there was, whilst listening,  a continued twiddling with the knot on their Hawks’ bow tie in forlorn hope that the latter would somehow, at last right itself level, achieving equilibrium from skew at their shirt collars.

The 2025 dinner is scheduled for January 17. All Hawks are welcome and details can be obtained from Steve Whitehead. (WhatsApp (07725) 702499.) and whiteheadstephen3@googlemail.com


CUBC wins 5 of 6 of the 2024 Boat Races

Cambridge University Boat Club had an Easter to remember on a thrilling weekend of racing in the Boat Races on the Championship Course.

High drama and epic contests were the theme on the Tideway as the Gemini Men’s and Women’s Boat Races captured the imagination of the public. Heroic displays from the Light Blues, in so many different guises, helped to secure five wins out of six of the students’ eights across the two days.

The victorious Men’s and Women’s Blue Boats celebrate a job well done

“A race for the ages” was one description of the Gemini 78th Women’s Boat Race, which Cambridge won by seven lengths. President Jenna Armstrong (Jesus) had lost the toss, and they were given the Surrey station, with Oxford looking to make the most of a lack of stream and a fast start on the Middlesex side. The Dark Blues got away quickly, taking two seats inside the first 20 strokes, but Cambridge had learned their lessons from the fixtures and soon settled into their race rhythm. WIth the river in their favour, Oxford had established a length lead by the Mile Post, going past Barnes wetlands. However, approaching Hammersmith Bridge, and with the Surrey bend set to unravel in their favour, Cambridge started to claw back the difference. In a two-minute burst, Cambridge went from two seats down to two seats up and, as they passed Chiswick Eyot, they were pulling clear. There was near-contact between the crews at the end of the Eyot, but that gave Cambridge the opportunity to race away for a seven-length win – their seventh success in a row. 

Cox Hannah Murphy (Girton) said: “We were just really proud of the race that we put down, and we knew that was the fastest race that we could have done today. I think we knew that they were going to be hot off the start and all season we’ve shown the base pace is really where we excel. They got out to a really strong start, but it was basically that we needed to reset and we needed to find our rhythm. As soon as we found that it was like, ‘this is gold’. We closed almost a length lead in less than about a minute and that gives you the confidence to keep going.”

The description of the Gemini 169th Men’s Boat Race was no less grandiose, with it being described as “fantastic”. President Seb Benzecry (Jesus) had lost the toss, and so Cambridge were handed the Middlesex station. The Light Blues made a sharp start to put the pressure on their rivals, and were five seats up after passing Craven Cottage. Oxford made a move heading towards Hammersmith Bridge, but the power, rhythm and length that was being set by stroke Matt Edge (St Catharine’s) had put Cambridge in a position to break clear at a time when the Surrey bend should have been unravelling in the Dark Blues’ favour. By Barnes Bridge, the Light Blues were around three-and-a-half lengths clear. However, Edge had ‘emptied the tank’ but he heroically continued to dip his oar in rhythmically to the finish as No 7 Luca Ferraro (King’s) took up stroking the boat. It meant that Cambridge won by three-and-a-half lengths in 18min 56sec, the fifth success in six years and with 7 Hawks on board and coached by Hawks Rob Baker, Marko Banovic and Donald Legget.

Cox Ed Bracey (Wolfson) said: “It was very noisy through the middle of the race and then very quiet those last few minutes there, but we got it done. We got it over the line in the end. We wanted to keep close to them. We wanted to get in there especially around Hammersmith, but once we were up far enough you start running a ‘no-chances’ version of the race; just get to the finish line and keep pushing, but don’t take those risks. It became clear to me about halfway through that bend that we didn’t need to take the risk, that we were just slowly going away so I stopped being so close to them and moved out a little bit.”

Good Friday had already lived up to its name for Cambridge’s Lightweights, who started proceedings for the long weekend. The Women’s Lightweights kicked things off, earning their fifth victory in a row with a five-length margin. That was followed up by the Light Blue Men, who clinched a third win in a row, this time by five-and-a-half lengths, coached by Hawk Nick Acock (Emmanuel) and with 6 Hawks navigating the rough waters of the Thames particularly skilfully.

Ben Jones (Magdalene) leads the Lightweight Men to their third win in a row

Goldie won the Men’s Reserve Race by three lengths with 5 Hawks on board, but there was defeat for Blondie in the Women’s Reserve Race, by three lengths.

Stream all six races on The Boat Races Youtube channel.


Rugby Varsity

A move to Saracens from Twickenham proved to be successful for CURUFC’s Blues as both the Men’s and Women’s teams secured victories.

Cambridge University were victorious in an enthralling Women’s Varsity Match beating Oxford University 10-5 at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium. It was as compelling a game as you could wish to see, with gripping play by both teams right until the very end. The difference between the two sides was Ella Heathfield’s try and five points from the boot of Izzy Boothroyd, but that only tells a small fraction of the story.

The victorious CURUFC Women’s Blues

The defence from both teams  was immense – each time you thought someone was about to break through and add to their team’s tally, a last-ditch tackle thwarted the hopes. All the points arrived in the first half. Boothroyd kicked Cambridge ahead in the 16th minute through a penalty. There was  then a spell of great driving play for the line from the forwards, with the persistence and patience reaping its rewards as Ella Heathfield crashed across the line. Boothroyd added the conversion. Four minutes later, in the 28th minute, some smart thinking from Oxford scrum-half Alex Wilkinson saw her take a quick tap penalty and dart through on a diagonal line to touch down to reduce the arrears to 10-5.

What was to follow in the second half, though, was almost breath-taking. At the heart of the play was huge defence, be it in open play, at the breakdown or at the set piece. Cambridge had a dominant spell in the Oxford 22 for what felt like the first 20 minutes of the second period, but the Dark Blues threw their bodies on the line to keep them at bay. Lauren Webb was sin-binned for Oxford after 47 minutes, but the Light Blues were unable to make their numerical advantage count. The pendulum then swung the other way as Alice Middleton, whose tackling had been huge all game, was shown a yellow card in the 65th minute. Cambridge were rising to the challenge of being on the backfoot, and there was a great turnover on the line just as it seemed Oxford may touch down.

The scrum had grown in strength for the Light Blues as the game wore on, and it was crucial in getting some solid front-foot ball when under pressure Hetta Friend made a massive hit to stop a flowing and impressive backs move from Oxford in the 76th minute, while Cambridge had to sit out the closing stages a player light as Emily Bell, whose tackle count seemed never-ending, was sin-binned. However, a last-ditch tackle deep in the 22 by Ellie O’Keeffe in the final play proved to be the winning moment as the jackal led to the Light Blues earning a penalty, which skipper Emilia Bushrod tapped and kicked to touch to signal the final whistle and mass celebrations from Cambridge.

Cambridge University recorded the biggest victory in the history of the Men’s Varsity Match by beating Oxford University 56-11 at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium. Eight tries helped the Light Blues secure the win with an impressive performance. The forwards’ grit and the backs’ flair led to an irresistible display.

Ben Gompels (Darwin) leads the Men’s Blues in celebration

Oxford landed the first blow with a third minute penalty from Archie King, but the response was immediate, and a forerunner of what was to come, as two minutes later, scrum-half David Holdroyd went wide to Jamie Benson, who went wide again for Tim Andrew, and the play then switched through the same set of hands back inside for Holdroyd to finish off the move and touch down. Benson landed two consecutive penalties inside a minute to put Cambridge 11-3 ahead, and it was a vantage point they never surrendered. The forwards were rampant at the breakdown, giving Oxford absolutely no time or space, and they were also clean with it, keeping errors to an absolute premium therefore eliminating any threat from the Oxford scrum. When they then had the set-piece in their favour, the Light Blues were also able to use it as a launchpad, scoring a couple of tries directly from the set piece. In the 28th minute, a penalty was kicked to the corner, and a catch and drive set up captain Ben Gompels to touch down, and Benson landed the extras. Six minutes later, a great break from halfway by Jamie Farndale saw the full-back stopped just short of the line, but play was recycled and Charles Kantolinna picked up to cross the line to make it 23-6. The final play of the half saw more good work by the forwards rewarded, this time thanks to a period of hitting the line for Fergus Jones to eventually dot down from close range. Benson’s conversion made it 30-6 to Cambridge at half time.

The backs were primed to get in on the action and did so almost immediately as Farndale off-loaded in the tackle to free George Bland to race away and touch down. Benson landed the extras. Harry Jones’ yellow card did not put Cambridge off their stride, and a dominant scrum saw Makoto Tosa pick up at the base to charge clear to score, and Benson put the two points on the board to make it 44-6. Another break off the back of the scrum saw more points in the 57th minute, with Holdroyd picking up and passing to Bland on the 10-metre line and freeing Farndale, who skipped clear of a tackle to race away and touch down. Oxford were rewarded for some good work at the line-out when scrum-half Jack Hamilton sniped over the line to touch down. But the final say went to Benson, who had controlled the game in imperious fashion from fly-half. He wriggled away from two attempted tackles outside the 22 and burst clear to touch down, and the conversion made it a record number of points from an individual in the Varsity Match since 1975. 


Football Varsity

On Friday 15th March Cambridge men and women’s teams played Oxford in the 150th Varsity football matches.

Cambridge women’s team chalked up a resounding 3-0 victory. The first goal came courtesy of central midfielder Ella O’Connell, before centre-back Allie Rennie extended Cambridge’s lead with another two more goals, one in the first half and one in the second that also saw Rennie named player of the match.

The Women’s Blues celebrate their 3-0 victory

The men’s game was a more closely fought battle as Cambridge drew the match 1-1 before losing on penalties. Oxford took the first goal in just the 3rd minute before Cambridge Captain, Cai La Trobe-Roberts, scored an equaliser in the 73rd minute. With Cambridge suffering an injured goalkeeper, the following penalty shootout saw Oxford take home the trophy, winning 3-0 on penalties.

The Men’s Blues score an equaliser in the 73rd minute of the 150th Varsity


Rackets Varsity Match 2024

The victorious Cambridge team along with alumni Howard Angus and Ed Hyde (left to right; Theodore Seely, Arthur Adams, Sascha Groom, Henry Buxton, Howard Angus (St John’s), Arthur King, Patrick Smart, Ed Hyde (Jesus)

The 156th Rackets Varsity Match (only exceeded in years by Cricket and Rowing) was held at The Queen’s Club on Wednesday 17th January 2024. 

Again this year the format of the First Team Match was four singles matches followed by two doubles matches. Additionally, there was a Second Team Match comprising two singles and one doubles, played in the morning on the Bridgeman Court whilst the 4 first team singles matches were being played on the Championship Court next door. 

The First Team Match was won by Cambridge, by the score of 5 rubbers to 1. Theodore Seely (Trinity), Arthur Adams (Trinity) and Patrick Smart (Churchill) all won their singles matches. Seely & Arthur King (Trinity) paired up to win the second doubles and Smart & Adams eased to victory in the first doubles (both scores were 3-0).

The Second Team Match was also won by Cambridge, by the score of 2 rubbers to 1. Sascha Groom (St Catharine’s) & Henry Buxton (St John’s) won the deciding doubles match after the singles matches were shared.

After the matches, Chris Davies, CEO of the T&RA, hosted a Pol Roger Reception in the David Norman Room next to the Championship Court, at which the prizes were presented to the players by Laurence Bialy from Champagne Pol Roger, who have now been the greatly appreciated Sponsors of the Rackets Varsity Match for more than a quarter of a century.

A full match report written by former Rackets World Champion, Howard Angus (St John’s), can be found here: https://www.tennisandrackets.com/rackets/tournaments-fixtures/varsity-match#overview


Woodpeckers RFC

In 1948, a remarkable Rugby Club was founded when players, returning from military service in post-war Germany to take up their places at Oxford and Cambridge, jointly decided to preserve and deepen those Army-days friendships by creating a new, touring Rugby Club drawing on members from both Universities. That Club was the Woodpeckers RFC and was remarkable as a touring Rugby Club in pioneering the game of Rugby in many countries emerging from war-torn Europe in the late 1940’s and 50’s. 

The ‘Peckers were a popular Rugby Club in those days and, because of their 70+ tours bringing new rugby countries into the Rugby world, the RFU formally recognised them as a Club even though they had no UK home base. Many Rugby players of the vintage will remember them.

Membership was by invitation and was originally restricted to non-Blues – because Blues had their own touring programmes – but many ‘Peckers subsequently won their Blues, some going on to be Internationals and Lions players.

In its early years, the Club was run by an elected group of officers amongst undergraduate members. The Club founders and early members were from both universities, ex-army colleagues, and friends.

The founding members were from Pembroke and Clare Colleges, Cambridge and Brasenose College, Oxford but Cambridge dominated the membership in those early years, particularly when it came to organising social events. Legend, not necessarily fact, suggests that the Woodpecker name came from a certain pub on the road between the two universities. Some current members have hazy memories of darts matches being played there.

New members were invited to play, and then formally elected. A uniform was created, and the teams turned out in green shirts emblazoned with the Club crest and white shorts.

Largely because the Woodpeckers had set themselves up as a touring club, the Rugby Football Union took a keen interest in their post-war pioneering matches taking rugby into post-war Europe. Sweden (1949) was the first foreign tour with the Woodpeckers travelling “steerage” and staying in Youth Hostels.

In 1950 they travelled to Italy and beat the Italian National Team in Milan. Bobby King, (Pembroke, Cambridge), is today’s oldest Woodpecker at 94. He remembers the victory over Italy and comments “We had a good side”! His crowning memory is singing the Woodpecker song on the stage of La Scala, Milan after the match!

More because of, than in spite of this, Sr. Carlo Origoni, the Italian President, requested the Woodpeckers to instigate discussions for them with the English RFU. Origoni was introduced to Wavell Wakefield, the President of the RFU. Eventually this led to Italy joining the Six Nations.

This was followed in 1951 by matches in the Channel Islands and in France. Robin Tattersall, who was on this tour along with Bobby King, wrote: “I was on tour to the Channel Islands and France. We went on an ancient plane from Jersey to St. Malo. It was my very first flight and I can remember the pilot carefully seating us according to our weight so as to balance the plane, and the machine then skirted the wave tops all the way”.

That tour ended in Paris with a memorable visit to Les Folies etc. A subsequent Southern French tour ended in Toulon and led to a post-match banquet hosted by the Admiral in command of the French Naval Base there.

1951 also saw a tour to Spain. The Woodpeckers established considerable rapport with their Spanish opponents and subsequently hosted a return visit with matches played in England by the Madrid Team. The Spanish tour was expanded to include Portugal, and tours also went to Holland, Germany, Belgium and Denmark. The latter being in 1955, and was the last European tour. 

The Club was led throughout this period by the remarkable energy and enthusiasm of Michael West. He was an original 1948 undergraduate founding member and played the vital role of Fixture Secretary, even long after he left Pembroke, Cambridge and played Rugby for Harpenden, in Hertfordshire. Sadly, Mike died in his early fifties, and the Club owes him a huge debt of gratitude. Others who helped him were Reggie Lingwood from Clare College, Cambridge, and Mic Jory from Brasenose College, Oxford. 

After 1955, tours became more concentrated in the British Isles. The Easter tour to Cornwall became a permanent fixture with an annual game against the Cornish Pirates in Penzance. That was a match which was distinguished by the failure of the Woodpeckers ever to record a victory, though there were often draws, but in recompense they hosted some memorable post-match events. Several Woodpeckers were “baptised” in the sea each December. 

Today’s Chairman emeritus played the bagpipes as he led his team through the streets of Penzance en route to the police station carrying a boat they had “found” in the harbour.

Wales, Ireland and Scotland contributed many Woodpecker members over the years and thus ensured hospitable and memorable matches on their home territory. The Scottish Borders, Dublin and West Wales, were all visited. Tours went to the Vale of Lune, to North Devon, Cornwall, Bournemouth, Sussex and Yorkshire. For the last of these, the RFU sent a warning not to play any match where an opponent had participated in Rugby League. That was a divisive issue!

The great finale to the Rugby season in the 1950s, and later, was the Middlesex 7-a-side Spring tournament. Invited guest teams made it a national event. Several clubs hosted preliminary rounds with the winners moving on to the Twickenham finals. This was also a great social occasion. The Woodpeckers RFC made it only once to that final day, being defeated by an extraordinary try, but they always fielded a competitive team. It was in this competition that they played their final Rugby match in 1960.

The Woodpeckers RFC stopped playing Rugby in 1960 as the touring environment had undergone much change. But the old camaraderie continued, and they became a Golf Club capitalising on the connections made as Rugby players to generate match fixtures against many prestigious golf clubs in the British Isles.

The ‘Peckers today continue to play touring golf, playing matches against Clubs in England, Wales and Scotland. We have just celebrated our 75th match against Royal Wimbledon GC.

Today, with a strong Fixture List, the Woodpeckers RFC are always looking to welcome like-minded new blood / members into the Club’s fellowship. As many of the original Rugby players were members of Vincents and the Hawks – the same is true of today’s golfers. Not all ‘Peckers are ex- Rugby players but all share the enjoyment and camaraderie of touring together and playing golf against good friends at many of the UK’s leading Clubs.”

The detailed story of the Woodpeckers and how to join can be found on the Club’s website at:



Never Say Nethers Again

Our Welsh Dinner Secretary, Stephen Whitehead (Christ’s 1969) was diagnosed with prostate cancer 4 years ago and has written a short account with all proceeds going to Prostate Cymru, he takes up the story below:

The core argument centring around Never Say Nethers Again alludes, in a laddish manner to the world of a fictional James Bond, where many men like a superhero persuade themselves that they are immune to all bodily ills and consequently ignore the consequences and implications of what bodily symptoms may mean. 

In the real world, as I discovered, the fittest of men can succumb to the hidden killer that is prostate cancer (even Hawks!). If the attendance at Twickenham were to be 80,000 men, then 10,000 of them statistically can expect to be visited by this cancer. How many of them die consequently, depends on how rapidly they seek advice. 

In a context where humour and the necessity to laugh at circumstances is a vital part of the battle for a cure, I hope that I have made my own experiences readable, and that I might be forgiven for Salle de Bain details within and the execrable puns and fruity invective throughout. (Knackered nethers are enough to make a Saint swear!) 

The book is available by mail order from the site: PROSTATECYMRU – shop at a price of £9.99 ( plus postage). The entire cover price has been committed to the Charity and will be devoted to national research and awareness into a disease that implodes within the nethers of  at least one in eight men. 

Please support such a worthy cause.


Clarissa’s Campaign

For any of those still in the circles around Cambridge, you will be aware that last May the Cambridge community suffered a tragic loss when Clarissa Nicholls passed away days before her 21st birthday during her Year Abroad.

 Clarissa was a French and Italian student at Trinity Hall, and would now be in her fourth and final year. In the Paris leg of her travels, Clarissa collapsed and passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition. Tragically, this is not uncommon; 1 in 300 youths suffer from an undiagnosed life-threatening cardiac condition. Ultimately had the right checks been done, Clarissa would still be with us today. 

Clarissa enjoyed the very best Cambridge had to offer, academically and beyond. She was often happily found bumbling around the dance floor, head down in the library, cackling iconically or racing down the Grantchester meadows. She lived life to the absolute maximum, far better than any of us could. 

Clarissa was also a top athlete and sport played a major part in her life at Cambridge; she was a runner and played hockey for the University. She was an integral part of the sports community, and many Hawks and Ospreys have been deeply impacted by her tragic loss. Even from the most fleeting conversations and interactions, Clarissa graced the lives of so many at Cambridge, and is sorely missed each day. 

With her memory in mind, I would like to make you aware of a fundraiser happening at the University in her honour; Clarissa’s Campaign for Cambridge Hearts, raising money to provide an ECG Heart Screening Service for Cambridge students. 

One screening day at Cambridge will cost £7,000 and the campaign hopes to raise enough money for an annual four-day service. We are working in cooperation with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), Clarissa’s family and the University. We want to prevent more tragedies like this and to give people the opportunity to test before it’s too late. Knowing of a condition early is an enabler and gives people the choice to live an adapted life. This is essentially a life-serving service.

Clarissa’s Campaign surpassed the one-day target within the first few weeks of launching, thanks to the immense support from the Cambridge community. Yet there is still a significant way to go, and we are reaching out to our trusted alumni community to share our story and to kindly ask for any support.

If you have read this far, thank you so much. Please consider supporting us to help us love and honour Clarissa’s memory, and to prevent another young death at Cambridge. 

Donation link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/clarissas-campaign


Contact Us and Picture Submissions

Please do get in touch with us about anything 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. 

Do get in touch via either 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 President Felix Craig-McFeely and Communications Officer Joseph Helm