Town v Gown

Town v Gown Pool & Snooker Matches

Town v Gown matches no longer happen, but you can read about their history below.

The origins of the adversarial relationship between town and gown arose in the middle ages, where two separately governed bodies with different priorities and loyalties shared the same restricted space. Violent confrontations between town and gown erupted on a recurring basis, one of the most famous being the Battle of St. Scholastica Day, which occurred on February 10, 1355 at the Swindlestock Tavern (now the site of the Santander Bank on Carfax). An argument escalated into a protracted two-day battle in which local citizens armed with bows attacked the academic village, killing and maiming scores of scholars. The rioters were severely punished, and thenceforth the Mayor and Bailiffs had to attend a Mass for the souls of the dead every St. Scholastica's Day thereafter, and to swear an annual oath to observe the University's privileges. For 500 years, Oxford observed a day of mourning for that tragedy.

In the annual Town v Gown pool match, the town are no less ruthless, presenting a stern challenge to the University's finest. Led by ex-England player Malcolm Lewis, the town usually field a team of ex-internationals or county players and often prove too strong for the gown team. However, highlights for the student side are the 5-2 wins in 2001 and 2003, when the gown team itself included a number of county players. Regardless of the score, the match is always enjoyable and great practice for the gown before BUCS and the Varsity match.

A Town v Gown women's pool match began in 2005 when Jasmine Venning, a graduating student, formed a town team to take on the Oxford University girls. The women's town team also features a strong line-up of county players, but the matches are highly competitive and the gown very much hold their own.

Following a rising interest in snooker amongst the University, an inaugural Town v Gown snooker match was organised in Trinity term 2011 at the Oxford Union. A very strong Town team, featuring players with century breaks to their name, overpowered the Gown to take the match 5-1. The match was a very enjoyable occasion and hopefully it will continue in future years to be a part of the long-standing tradition of Town v Gown events.

Archive reports for each year can be found in the drop-down menu under the Town v Gown navigation link.