History of the Club


OUAC and CUAC members who have competed for their University in the annual Varsity Match are invited to join the Achilles Club. The Achilles Club was formed in 1920, by and for past and present members of Oxford University Athletics Club (OUAC) and Cambridge University Athletics Club (CUAC), and traces its roots back to the first Oxford v. Cambridge Athletic Sports (' Varsity Match') of 1864, an event it still helps to stage each year.

The Club rapidly rose to the forefront of British and indeed world athletics, and members have won 18 Olympic Gold Medals, 17 Silver and 15 Bronze, and held 38 World Records

The Club is exclusively for past and present CUAC and OUAC members, and exists to help strengthen and maintain for life the friendships forged between University club mates and their rivals at 'the other place'. To this end the Achilles Club shoulders the following responsibilities:

Overseas Tours

Every fourth year Achilles arranges a tour to the USA for a series of matches against the Ivy League Universities: this tour is exclusively for Oxford and Cambridge students, and all OUAC or CUAC members are eligible for consideration for selection for one such tour. In the intervening years, Achilles hosts reciprocal matches for visiting American teams, which OUAC and CUAC athletes are expected to support.

Other major overseas tours are arranged which are open to all Achilles members, past and present students alike: these are a particularly enjoyable way of broadening athletic, social and geographic horizons. In 2008 we enjoyed a tour to Tuscany. In recent years Achilles teams have visited Singapore (winning 14 medals in their National Championships), Australia (where they were royally received by Sydney University AC), Estonia, Russia, Finland, France, Austria, China (twice), Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa, and undertaken shorter domestic trips to e.g. Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight.

Domestic Competition

Achilles enters teams for several matches in the UK each year. They offer good class competition and a friendly opportunity for past and present members of CUAC and OUAC to compete together.

Social Events

Several Achilles events are held each year, including dinners and dances. There is always a dinner for old members after the Varsity Match; a dinner in New York in October is another annual fixture; a Ball is often held in London; and impromptu barbecues and curries after matches are commonplace.


An annual magazine (the 'Annual Report', back numbers of which can be downlaoded from this site)  is circulated free to members, drawing together reports on Oxford v Cambridge and Achilles matches, rankings lists, news of members, reminiscences and many other items of interest. A fixture card is included, listing forthcoming CUAC events plus Achilles and OUAC events, social occasions and planned tours. Updated bulletins are circulated by email and on this website.


Most of the organisational structure which gives continuity to the Varsity match and other events in the OUAC/CUAC calendar is provided by the Achilles Club. The President, Captains and Hon. Sec of OUAC/CUAC, and their immediate Past-President, are all ex officio members of the Achilles Club committee.


OUAC and CUAC could not thrive in the way they do without the financial assistance they receive from Achilles members' subscriptions and older members' voluntary charitable donations to the Achilles Trust.

To be invited to join Achilles' illustrious membership is an honour, and is reserved for athletes who compete in Oxford v Cambridge matches. Election is for life and enables members to maintain contact with contemporaries long after they have gone down.


The Lord Noel-Baker1979 - 1982

The Lord Desborough of Taplow1920 - 1945
The Rt. Hon. P.J.Noel-Baker1946 - 1979
Sir Thomas Macpherson1979 - 

Col. E. A. Hunter1949 - 1953
R. St. G. T. Harper1951 - 1989
H. M. Abrahams1961 - 1978
K. S. Duncan1987 - 2006
Dr. R. K. I. Kennedy1987 - 2005
D. G. Steel1987 - 2008
J.P. Ford1990 - 2007
H. R. H. Stinson2005-
T.M. Taylor2006-

The Hon. Sir Montague Shearman1920 - 1929
P. J. Noel-Baker1930 - 1936
Bevil Rudd1937 - 1946
H. M. Abrahams1947 - 1961
R. T. S. Macpherson1961 - 1979
Dr. R. K. I. Kennedy1979 - 1987
H. R. H. Stinson1987 - 2005
Dr. D.W. Roberts2005-

Honorary Treasurers
A. E. D. Anderson1920 - 1923
W. G. Tatham1924 - 1930
R. St. G. T. Harper1931 - 1947
J. P. Ford1948 - 1957
D. G. Steel1958 - 1987
P. G. Crawshaw1987 - 

Honorary Secretaries
P. J. Noel-Baker1920 - 1921
B. G. D. Rudd1921 - 1923
E. A. Hunter1924 - 1947
K. S. Duncan1948 - 1987
P. D. T. Willcox1987 -