Looking back over no fewer than 16 Acheson-Gray Sports Days, I can confidently say that this year's Alumni V Undergrads clash was the most successful yet. Rain threatened much of the time, but this did not prevent a record 11 hard-fought but good-natured matches taking place, with football a welcome first-timer; of which the Alumni won 8.
Happily, A-G is a day which keeps evolving, and this year we have to thank Luke Harries and JCR Charity Officer Srishti Agarwal for notable innovations. The evening dinner in Hall culminated in the first singing of Dudley Robinson's beloved Jerusalem outside in Main Court, to the full-throated accompaniment of the Chapel organ - a change which is likely to stick, thanks to Luke's inspiration.
And during the day, Srishti dispensed 100 lunch and tea packs provided by the College's Catering department, to fuel hungry players. The food was paid for out of a generous benefaction to A-G Day, leaving customers to give a charitable donation if they wanted to. This meant that we were able to give some £318 to the Senior Tutor's Student Counselling Service fund - an objective fully in line with the ethos of the day, founded as it was in memory of a popular Cats sportsman who suffered from depression.
So, a fine day's sport was had by all, thanks to the efforts of all our team captains and our long-suffering groundsman, Chris Tovey, to whom a great vote of thanks is due. It was followed by a more-than-usually successful dinner: in another A-G "first", we welcomed as guest the Dean, Dr John Xuereb, together with Professor Don Broom and Dr Philip Oliver, two sportsmen whose continuous support has seen us through thick and thin over the years.
The usual vigorous banter was punctuated by enjoyable contributions from Kittens Captain James Digby, Hockey Captain Anna Faulkner, "Field Marshall " Luke Harries, (whose contribution to the day rivalled that of Louis Williams two years ago) Alex Fries and Professor Broom, as well as Dr Xuereb, who complimented Kittens on their notable change in sporting philosophy over the year.
Great thanks are also due to the Alumni and Development department. Their all-round encouragement has ensured that what started off as an experiment by the Society's London Group when I was Chairman has grown into a valued and lasting contribution to College life. My right-hand man then -as now- was Dominic Harding, who has been a faithful ringmaster of Alumni teams, even though business-trips usually mean he is abroad on the day itself: thanks, Dom.
Finally, I was really pleased to be able to convey at dinner the gratitude of the Acheson-Gray family, that from their tragedy has sprung a St Catharine's College tradition which suggests this college has finally matured into a full, "7-bucket College".
John Oakes (1961, English; Founder, Acheson-Gray Alumni V Students Sports Day)
|Croquet||won by 21 hoops|
|Tennis||won all matches|