A petition has been started by the Camborne School of Mines (CSM) rugby team, following proposals by the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union (FXU) to remove the CSM name from sports clubs, and indefinitely cancel the annual Bottle Match against Imperial’s Royal School of Mines (RSM).
The petition, which was started by a member of the CSM RFC committee, opened two days ago, and – at the time of writing – has attracted nearly 2,500 signatures. The proposals are scheduled to be voted on by the FXU leadership team – a group of elected and appointed student representatives – in a closed ballot this Tuesday.
The Bottle Match is an annual varsity match, traditionally held in February, between CSM and RSM, one of Imperial’s six constituent unions. It is the second-oldest varsity match in the country, with the first match being held in 1902. The petition says the match has been held each year, except during World War I.
The petition states that playing under CSM “gives us a sense of belonging to a wider community”, and that the Bottle Match is “a culmination of over 100 years of a legacy which unifies both players and supporters alike”. It also says that the Bottle Match “has become a huge part of Cornish history”, and that it holds importance for “every Cornish rugby player, CSM alumni, and spectator.”
The petition has attracted a number of supportive comments: one signator wrote “I competed in the Bottle Match twice (in 2010 and 2011) and it was one of the highlights of my time at university”, while another described participating in the Bottle Match as “one of my fondest memories with friendships formed that have stood the test of time.”
Initially only the rugby teams participated, but over the last ten years the number of teams included has increased, including hockey, netball, and football, among others. The match takes its name from a three-foot tall tin bottle that was taken from the top of a Bass-Charrington lorry by RSM students in 1926. The rugby match alone determines which side will take home the bottle: this year the bottle was won by RSM, following a 36-19 victory over CSM.
CSM was founded in 1888 in Camborne, Cornwall, which was formerly a centre for the Cornish tin-mining industry. It was merged with the University of Exeter in 1993, and moved to a new campus in Penryn, Cornwall, in 2004.
Felix have reached out to RSMU and FXU for comment.
The petition can be found here.