History of the Blue

The man who began the Varsity match tradition was Charles Wordsworth of Christ Church College Oxford, who  arranged a two-day cricket match against Cambridge at Lords in June 1827.

The first Boat Race between the two universities was in 1829, and was rowed over 2 and a quarter miles between Hambleden Lock and Henley Bridge. The second Boat Race was not until 1836 which was rowed over more than double the distance, from Westminster Bridge upstream to Putney Bridge. It was in this race that one of the Cambridge oarsmen tied a light blue ribbon to the bows of the Cambridge boat (the colours of his school, Eton College).

The colour dark blue was then ascribed to Oxford because it is the colour of Christchurch College, and the Oxford crew sported white jerseys with dark blue stripes during the race.

These colours have remained over the years, and now exceptional players who have competed in a Varsity Match against Cambridge in a Blues sport are entitled to wear a dark blue "Blues Blazer". 


Athletes at the University of Oxford may be awarded a "Full Blue" or a "Half Blue" for competing at the highest level of a university sport (depending on the Blues status of the team). American Football was awarded Half-Blue status in 2016 and the Oxford Lancers continue to build the legacy of American Football at Oxford in the hope of eventually joining the more traditional sports as a Full Blue team. 

2019-20 Half-Blue Recipients
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Arb Xhamëni
#9 WR 



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Jamie Forsythe

#18 LB



Josh Hindley 
#70 OL 
St. Anne's

Ancient and Modern History

James Tufnell

#17 DL


Applied Landscape Archaeology

Nolan Whitcomb

#3 QB


History and Economics

Ben Porter

#4 FS


Social Data Science

Dom Reedy

#8 WR

Christ Church


Cristobal Gomez

#45 DL



David Ojeabulu

#2 RB

St Anne's


George Newick

#44 DB

St John's

Ancient and Modern History

2018-19 Half-Blue Recipients
Jesse Rose

#85 WR/CB

Lady Margaret Hall

Biological Sciences

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Stewart Humble

#52 OL/DL

Wolfson College

DPhil Biomedical Sciences

Blake Lewis

#8 LB

St. Hilda's College

BA Jurisprudence

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David Hansford

#55 OL/DL

Brasenose College


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Jamie Fowler

#11 WR

New College

BA Biomedical Sciences

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Tom Rizvi

#87 DE

St. Catherine's College

BA Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

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Richard Matheson

#13 DB

Balliol College

BA Law

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Max Rumbol

#14 CB

New College

BFA Fine Art

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Leon Hughes

#6 DB

Mansfield College

BA History 

Cedric Damein

#67 OL

Mansfield College

Msc of Mathematical and Computational Finance

2017-18 Half-Blue Recipients
Harvey Appleby

#54 LB

St Hilda's College

BA Jurisprudence

Richard Heit

#69 OL

Lady Margaret Hall


Lewis Morgan

#44 DB

St. Hilda's College 

BA Chemistry

Lucas Stolle

#84 WR

Somerville College

MSci Biochemistry

Oscar Rahnama

#74 OL/DE

Linacre College

DPhil Engineering Science

William Osborn

#52 DE

St. Cross College

DPhil Business

Andrew Badger

#1 WR

Kellogg College

Diplomatic Studies Program

Will Szymanski

#12 QB

Brasenose College

BA Literae Humaniores

James Blackwell

#45 SS

Worcester College

MEng engineering

Rory Smith

#64 NT

Christ Church

BM Medicine

2016-17 Half-Blue Recipients
Jonny Brooks

#38 DE/RB

Oriel College

DPhil Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre

Rob Main

#68 OL/DL

St. Catherine's College

DPhil Classics/Ancient History

Joe Barker

#15 WR

Trinity College

BA Mathematics

Sam Smith

#70 OL

Trinity College

BA Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Josh Allen

#33 DB

St Catherine's College

BA Human Sciences

Connor Thompson

#5 RB

Lincoln College

BM Medicine

Joe Muse

#21 DB

University College

MA Maths and CompSci

Guanze He

#72 OL

Linacre College

DPhil Material Science

Chris Nowek

#81 DE/WR

New College

BM Medicine

Matt Williamson

#55 LB

Brasenose College

DPhil Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics