OUWPC caters to all levels of experience and skill. Some members join training to improve fitness and gain experience, while for others the aim is the BUCS Championship. Follow the links below to learn more about the various levels of competition available to Club members and students within the University.
The Varsity Match is held annually between Oxford and Cambridge University, usually towards the end of Hilary Term and alternating venue between the universities. It is one of the highlights of the OUWPC calendar and is one of the most highly-charged annual fixtures in British water polo. The teams prepare all year to triumph against Cambridge and the prize is simple: pride.
The Men's match originated in October 1891, and is the oldest water polo fixture in the world, predating the Olympic final by 9 years. The early Varsity Matches were held at the Crown Baths at the Kennington Oval, as Cambridge lacked a covered pool. Reports of the early Varsity Matches concentrated mainly on swimming, so little is known about the development of the water polo match, although it is known that the early years were fairly turbulent due to a major shake-up in the rules of water polo at that time. Barring suspensions between 1915-1918 and 1940-1945, the match has been held every year.
The first Ladies’ match was held in 1984, following an attempt by Oxford to field a woman in the 1983 men's game. The most recent developments in the history of the Varsity match were the additions of the Men’s Second’s match in 2013 and Women’s Second’s match in 2019.
Varsity match results can be found here.
The British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues and trophy tournaments form the bulk of the matches OUWPC plays. Each team OUWPC fields plays in a league and tournament against other university teams of similar ability.
The Men’s Blues team currently competes in the Premier South League, along with Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Imperial and Exeter. They won the league in 2020, earning themselves full blues. The Blues also compete in the Men’s Championship, progressing to the quarter final in 2020. The team hopes to continue their winning streak in 2020-21, though this is currently planned to be a friendly season starting in January 2021.
In 2020-21, the Women’s squad will be playing in the Midlands Tier 1 league, against East Anglia, Loughborough, Nottingham 1s, Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham 2s, Nottingham Trent and Oxford Brookes. The women also compete in the Women’s Trophy competition, earning a place in the final in 2020, though the match was called off due to COVID-19.
The Men's Seconds team compete in the Midlands 2A league with Cambridge 2nd team, Oxford Brookes, Leicester and Nottingham Trent. The team also competes in the Men’s Trophy competition.
The Women’s Seconds Team is not yet entered in BUCS but will compete in regular friendlies.
More information about BUCS can be found here.
Each summer in Trinity term OUWPC holds an inter-college Cuppers water polo tournament. It is an opportunity for anyone at Oxford to give water polo a try without signing up for the Blues squad. The inaugural tournament was held in 2004, following the completion of the Rosenblatt pool, and has been a popular occasion every year since, with increased participation each year. The tournament usually follows the format of an initial group stage followed by semi-finals and a final. The group stage usually sees four groups of three, four or five colleges playing a round-robin tournament, with the group winners progressing to the semi-finals. It is a mixed tournament, with each team required to field at least three girls in the water at any time. Each team is also allowed only two Blues players in the pool at any time.
Cuppers is a great opportunity to try water polo in a fun competitive environment. If you are interested in taking part in Cuppers, please send an email to our current secretary. Even if your college is not entering a team it is possible to join a surrogate college for the tournament. We do allow joint teams, but this should be confirmed with the secretary before entering, as we try to avoid this where possible.