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The Varsity Matches have trophies presented by the sponsor, Jefferies, and the teams also play for the Rhino Trophy.

But back at the start of the last century, the Oxford and Cambridge men’s teams fought it out for the Crabbie Cup. In 1901, John Crabbie, one of the most respected whisky blenders in Edinburgh presented a silver trophy to the two universities for them to play for each year at the Varsity Match.

The father of the Oxford and Scotland wing, also John Crabbie, he was a big backer of sport. The silver trophy weighed 400 ounces and cost £250 in 1901 – about £30,000 in today’s money.

“The Silver Cup is in the form of a vase of classic design, of oxidised silver, chased and with figure work in repousse. In a centre medallion a football scrimmage is depicted, taken from a snap shot of an actual contest at Queen’s Club in 1900, and a double girdle of shields surrounding the trophy bears the names of the winning teams. The vase is surmounted by a knight in armour, who, holding his spear with the pennon inscribed ‘Defiance’, has thrown down the gage of battle,” wrote one newspaper of the day about the trophy.

No pictures of players or teams with the cup have been discovered, and there were some dissenting voices among the ranks of old Blues as to whether or not the universities should accept, and play for, the trophy. It was still being referred to as “the annual cup” in 1907 and was referenced in match previews as late as 1929.

But the whereabouts of the ‘Crabbie Cup’ remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of the Varsity Match. It was certainly the earliest trophy the two teams ever played for. If anyone knows anything about its whereabouts then I’m sure either club would be pleased to hear from you.

For the record, John Crabbie junior won four Blues and went on to play six times for Scotland.  He was captain of the Oxford team that won the cup for the first time in 1901, triumphing 8-0 at Queen’s Club.

These days there are also trophies for player of the match in both fixtures. The woman of the match is presented with the Bunting-Pegers Trophy, named after the captains of the Oxford and Cambridge teams in the inaugural Varsity Match in 1988, while the men’s award is the Alastair Hignell Medal.

Hignell is one of the greatest sportsmen to wear Light Blue, captaining both the rugby and cricket clubs. He went on to play rugby for England and cricket for many years for Gloucestershire.

The men’s award was first presented to the Oxford lock Karl Outen in 2011, while the women’s award was first given to Alice Middleton in 2015, when the Women’s Varsity Match made its bow at Twickneham.

Bunting-Pegers Award

2015       Alice Middleton (Cambridge)

2016       Sophie Trott (Oxford)

2017       Chloe Withers (Cambridge)

2018       Amelia Miller (Cambridge)

2019       Coreen Grant (Cambridge)

2021       Anna Park (Cambridge)

Alastair Hignell Medal

2011       Karl Outen (Oxford)

2012       Sam Egerton (Oxford)

2013       John Carter (Oxford)

2014       Sam Egerton (Oxford)

2015       Tom Stileman (Oxford)

2016       Brian du Toit (Cambridge)

2017       Chris Bell (Cambridge)

2018       Ben Ransom (Oxford)

2019       Fergus Jemphrey (Cambridge)

2021       Andrew Durutalo (Oxford)

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Founded. 2014