It’s that time of year again. Time for the most anticipated event of the Falmouth and Exeter University sporting calendar. The second oldest varsity match in the UK. The Camborne School of Mines (CSM), a team formed of students from both Falmouth and Exeter, will take on the London Imperial Colleges Royal School of Mines (RSM) teams in a number of sports including rugby, football and hockey. For over a century the two sides have gone head to head in attempt to return home with the coveted Bottle trophy.
While there are now a number of disciplines, it all started with the rugby, before expanding to include other sports. For this reason, it’s no wonder that the match brings in crowds upwards of 2000 strong. What’s more, the event raises money for charity, with the CSM boys getting ridiculous haircuts to raise money for charity. This led to the CSM rugby team being the most charitable society in 2018 for Falmouth and Exeter raising over £3000 for their chosen charity Man Down, which aims to provide support for men with depression.
Last year saw CSM dominating the rugby with a landslide score of 35-5. However, this has not always been the case, with CSM only winning three out of their last ten games against RSM. The pressure is on for CSM following last year’s win, but more importantly, can they win consecutive games for the first time since 1996?
I spoke to some of the rugby team as they travelled up to London, to find out what’s going through their minds in the build up to this, their most important match of the year which will take place at 2 pm on Saturday 23rd Feburary.
Max Stirling, the CSM captain who has been in the squad for three years and resides in the back row, explained how great it feels to be a part of the team, “It’s very important to all of us, it really sinks in when we start receiving good luck messages from old boys from all over the world that have participated. Everyone wants to play their part in the match’s legacy.”
In preparation for the event, Stirling explains that: “the key is to not get too hyped up, as it’s easy to lose concentration,” with winger Albert O’Rourke adding that in regards to physical preparation, the most important thing is obviously to try and avoid injury at all costs.
O’Rourke continued: “It’s always great to be a part of the CSM squad throughout our Cornish season, but the Bottle Match is special. I feel very proud to be playing in it for the first time.”
The match itself will be more of a challenge than CSM’s ordinary league games, as Stirling highlighted that “RSM are a much younger and fitter team than we’re used to playing against.”
When asked about who they believe the key players in the squad to be, it was reassuring to hear the exact same response from both the captain and his teammates. “We’re a team and it’s a team game. There are no key players, every cog has its part to play in order for us to play well together.”
If one thing is for certain, it’s that despite the result, the real victory is the amount of money raised for charity. “The haircuts are a great laugh and add a nice light-hearted tone to the whole event,” the captain explained, “and of course all of the money goes to a great cause.”
VIDEO: Watch below a showcasing of some of the ridiculous haircuts for the CSM boys. Courtesy of CSM winger Harry Gardiner’s Instagram.