Oxford University Water Polo Club

The Varsity Match

The Varsity Match is held annually between Oxford and Cambridge University, usually around the middle of Hilary Term - early to mid February.

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. Other than suspensions from 1915-1918 and 1940-1945 the match has been held every year since 1891, with Cambridge 62-33 in front overall with 15 draws.

The varsity water polo match of 1891 at the Kennington Oval


The early Varsity Matches were held at the Crown Baths at the Kennington Oval due to a lack of a covered pool in Cambridge. 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.

The first ladies match was held in 1984, after Oxford had wanted to field a woman in the 1983 men's game. Cambridge lead Oxford by 15 to 10 overall.

Varsity Results archive