For the last 110 years a varsity has been held annually between Camborne School of Mines (CSM), and the Royal School of Mines (RSM). Sports including rugby, hockey (Men’s and Women’s), football, squash and netball are all played. As I experienced this weekend, there are no other games like it.
Like every varsity there is a huge build up of momentum, whether it’s in training, word of mouth or general competitive spirit. These games however have an extra flair, the infamous Banter Group on our beloved Facebook. This group allows the two teams CSM and RSM to converse through the medium of a social network. Some utterly ridiculous exchanges between the respective teams makes this a build up like no other. Let the games commence!
An 8am start on Saturday saw the netball girls on to the bus. And yes, the chants start immediately: “Oh CSM (oh CSM), Is wonderful (is wonderful), Oh CSM is wonderful, is full of gods, legends and miners, Oh CSM is wonderful.”
The events kick started with the girls’ hockey at 9am. Spectators accumulated on the sidelines of the astro with various banners, t-shirts, beverages and raucous attire to set the ball rolling. The use and abuse of the megaphone became central to the day’s activities. A tirade of verbal abuse was hurled onto the pitch from either side; several ladies singled out for relentless jargon. Alex Curtis, you poor soul. This was a real test of mental stamina.
The girl’s hockey team won their match, as did the men’s hockey. Baines the goalie really pulled out all the stops, perhaps helped by his mentor or mascot, a CSM representative dressed as a warrior.
On that note, many of the males on Saturday traditionally sported a curious hair do. Mohawks, some bald on top, fluff around the sides, and a few even bleached. This showed real commitment to the games, unleashing the competitive streak from within and helped others do the same!
The consumption of alcohol during the day was as rife as it was incessant. As soon as the competitors had finished their match, the drinking began. For the hockey girls this was quite a challenge as their game ended at 10am. For some, this meant making the most of the fresh air on the mini bus back home (Possum). It’s safe to say the locals of Redruth found this quite the spectacle!
The netball match was the last sport to be played at Pool School (before we all headed back to watch the rugby at Penryn), so spectators’ throats were sufficiently oiled by this time, to give the rudest, actually quite heinous ‘banter’ of all.
Although I had been a spectator for the best part of the day, nothing had quite prepared me for when I stepped onto the netball court to play my first match at this infamous Bottle Tournament. Despite the rank insults coming from the sidelines it was an amazing experience playing in such an incredible atmosphere. You really felt part of a community, and people did their up most to support every player that proudly wore the CSM crest. As a newcomer, this tournament fulfilled all the reasons why I chose to come to this university.
Community, good spirit and fun events like these really make Falmouth a privilege to be a part of. Congratulations to all competitors, spectators, streakers and drinkers for making Saturday February 25 a memorable one!
Photographs taken by Azril Mozzafar Al-sagof