Pembroke win Futsal Cuppers
And so it was, in the end, a grand finale between Pembroke and Jesus was ultimately decided by an extra-time strike from Laurence Wroe in his last appearance in a pink shirt. A nerve-shredding game which saw Jesus claw it back from 1-0 down and miss a contentious penalty deep into extra time was a fitting finale to what has been a phenomenal tournament.
The competition brought together close to 600 futsal players, with JCR teams, MCR teams and societies alike entering. The Japanese Society hold the honour of the only non-college team to have reached the knockout stage, driven by the relentless energy of Takahiro Tsunoda, while Pembroke/Queen's MCR and Wolfson/St Cross deserve credit for being the only graduate teams to reach the last 16 of a tournament that was ultimately dominated by JCR teams. The first ever Futsal Cuppers competition saw 596 goals scored in the four weeks that it ran, and here's to hoping that we only see more of this format of the game in the years to come.
Pembroke were worthy winners in the end, adding impressive defensive solidity in the latter rounds, with backs-to-the-wall defending seeing them past St Anne's, Keble and ultimately Jesus. That, along with their meticulous preparation (arriving half an hour before everyone else and practising their set pieces) stood them in good stead and made them the standout team of the tournament. Jesus, meanwhile, can look back at the competition with real pride, with the 3-1 win against New in the semi-finals a particular highlight.
As the sun sets on the men's tournament after four weeks of matches (for full results, see this spreadsheet), we have the women's competition to look forward to next week which should bring plenty of drama of its own. More on that on this website as it unfolds, but until then, congratulations Pembroke!