Varsity - Easter 2000


The annual Oxford and Cambridge Varsity Match was held on Sunday 14th May 2000. This year it was Oxford’s turn to host the event. The Varsity Match is made up of many separate juggling games. An event is only played if each team have two people who can take part. Two points are awarded to the winner and one point is awarded the runner up. For full details of the outcome of each event, see the complete score-sheet. Clicking on each of the pictures displays a larger version.

The Cambridge team went to Oxford on the X5 bus service. Luckily we were not charged extra for bringing the unicycle, although we did get some funny looks when Chris E. decided to get in some pre-match practice.


On arriving at the bus station the Cambridge team met Nick, the OUJC president and Henry, another member of the club. After having lunch the group walked through Oxford town centre to the University playing fields where the match was to be held. The indoor events were held in the Cricket Schools.

Heavy Ball juggling

The first game to be played was the heavy ball juggling. Participants took turns to juggle the three balls that weighed approximately 1kg each and the winner was the person who could juggle them for longest. The photo shown here is of Llewellyn who juggled the balls for 2m 15s: a time which was third in the final ranking. Marcus from Cambridge won this event narrowly beating Nick from Oxford by one second.


Jollyball is a variation on volleyball that is played in most juggling clubs. The game was played as a knockout competition with eight people from the Oxford side and eight people from the Cambridge side. By the second semi final only people from Cambridge were left. The photo shows Chris and Marcus in the final.

Sumo juggling

Sumo juggling involves two people standing back to back in a square each trying to push the other out. The competition had the same layout as jollyball. The photo here shows Marcus and Simon, both from Cambridge, in the final.

Blind juggling endurance

After the knockout competitions had been played, the endurance events took place. First up was three ball blind juggling. As the photo shows, competitors sat in a circle while several adjudicators made sure there was no cheating. Simon from Cambridge came second, but the event was won by someone from Oxford who carried on for much longer than anyone else.

Club on face balance

This bizarre photo shows the club on face balance endurance event. Several competitors were too good at this, and after a long time they were told to carry out several moves: stand on right leg, stand on left leg and kneel. Even after this, both Marcus and Chris E. were still going strong. To bring the game to a close they were told to attack each other, which proved amusing as neither could see where to go.

Numbers endurance

The next game was five ball endurance. Both teams had a lot of entries into this round, but after a while only Marcus and Chris E. were left. Chris E. faltered and the game was eventually won by Marcus. The four clubs round which followed had fewer entries, and was won by Marcus with Henry taking second place.

Club passing

Two clubs passing games were played: seven club and distance. Seven club passing was another endurance event and after one false start was won by Llewellyn and Marcus. Distance passing involved seeing who could pass six clubs over the largest distance. The pairs lined up in a row, and then one person in each pair edged backwards. Henry and Nick from Oxford came second, but no-on could match the awesome distance that Llewellyn and Marcus managed.

Diabolo stuff

The remainder of the games were played outside on the running track and on the grass. By now it was four o’clock, and the afternoon sun was very pleasant to juggle to. Two diabolo games were played: accuracy and the high toss. Diabolo high toss involved throwing the diabolo as high as possible and successfully catching it on the string as it came down. The high toss proved difficult to score, and there were several quick revisions of the rules before the game was played. Heats were held to find the four best people: these were Tom, Marcus, Chris and Llewellyn who were all from Cambridge. Chris won the final, and although Tom threw the second highest throw, he failed to catch the diabolo as it came down, leaving Marcus to claim second place. Diabolo accuracy was a bizarre game which involved throwing a diabolo into a bucket that was held above someone’s head. Llewellyn was first to manage this and Nick took second place.

The races

First up was the unicycle race, which took place over approximately 70m. Two heats and a final were played. Oxford were much better than Cambridge at this event, taking the top two places. After this came the three ball race, which was played over the same length of track. Competitors had to run the 70m while juggling three balls. They were not disqualified if they dropped them, but lost time in picking them up. Again, two heats and a final were played. Robert from Cambridge won the three ball race while an Oxford team member was runner up. The three club race had exactly the same format, and was won by Marcus, with Robert coming second.


The final games to be played were team events of gladiators. The game was played over on a 10m by 20m section of the running track, and started with the whole Oxford team juggling three balls lined up on one side and the whole Cambridge team juggling three balls lined up on the other side. After a couple of seconds of trying to intimidate the opponents, the game started and the two teams used every means they could to stop the other people from juggling. Oxford won the first two rounds, but the outnumbered Cambridge team managed to claw back a victory in the final round. When the game was repeated using clubs, Cambridge managed to win two of the rounds.

The throw up

Most of the equipment had been packed up and everyone was about to leave when someone remembered that the traditional equipment throw up hadn’t been done. All the equipment came out again, and within a couple of seconds it was strewn all over the playing field. This excellent photo was taken just at the right moment with most of the props still in the air.

In the pub

The Oxford and Cambridge teams had a quick detour into a pub on the way back to the town centre. Everyone agreed that the day had been excellent, and that it was a wonderful way to avoid revision for the exams.

Photos are taken by Chris Rycroft and Robert Whittaker, 14th May 2000.

Score Sheet

Event Winner Runner-Up Cambridge Oxford
Balancing (Club on face) Chris E. Marcus 3 0
Diabolo (High Toss) Chris R. Marcus 3 0
Diabolo (Into Bucket) Llewellyn Nick ? 2 1
Distance Passing (6 clubs) Llewellyn & Marcus Henry & Nick 2 1
Endurance (3 Heavy Balls) Marcus Nick 2 1
Endurance (5 Balls) Marcus Chris E. 3 0
Endurance (4 Clubs) Marcus Henry ? 2 1
Endurance (7 club Passing) Llewellyn & Marcus Henry & Nick 2 1
Endurance (3 balls - Blind) James Simon 1 2
Gladiators (3 Balls) 1 2
Gladiators (3 Clubs) 2 1
Jollyball Chris R. Marcus 3 0
Race (3 balls) Robert 2 1
Race (3 clubs) Marcus Robert 3 0
Race (Unicycle) 0 3
Sumo Juggling Marcus Simon 3 0
Total Scores 34 14