The annual Bottle Match between Imperial’s Royal School of Mines (RSM) and Camborne School of Mines (CSM) will go ahead despite reports there were plans to cancel it, according to Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union (FXU).
A petition started by the CSM rugby team last week stated there were proposals to indefinitely cancel the annual varsity match and remove the CSM name from sports teams. A representative of the CSM rugby club stated that the team had been told last week “by an FXU President, plainly and clearly, (that) ‘Bottle Match 2018 was cancelled’”.
However, in a statement put out earlier this week, Jamal Clarke, FXU President Student Experience, said: “There are no current plans to cancel the annual Bottle Match between CSM and RSM. While we are aware of the petition against the cancellation of the Match, no such proposal is under consideration at present.”
FXU said that the confusion had arisen from an internal paper which stated the Bottle Match had been cancelled. This paper was circulated widely, “leading to this understandable belief that the match would be cancelled”. FXU apologised for any confusion.
In a statement released following the announcement, CSM RFC said: “One thing is clear: we made a loud statement and it was heard. Everyone at CSM sport would like to thanks the amazing support and kind words from the student body, alumni, local community, and beyond.”
A representative of RSMU spoke to Felix, saying “we couldn’t be happier that such a historic occasion has not only been confirmed for this year, but – with nearly 3600 signatures on the petition – is now in a stronger position than ever to continue on into the future. Bottle is always a highlight for undergraduates, postgraduates, and alumni alike … We hope it can be something that continues to be enjoyed for many more years to come.”
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, which at the time of writing had more than 3,500 signatures, 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 the Bottle Match “has become a huge part of Cornish history”, and it holds importance for “every Cornish rugby player, CSM alumni, and spectator”.
The petition 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.
In a statement, the FXU said “there is much confusion over how clubs brand themselves”, with a number of names being used by sport teams and clubs. They said: “In any moves forward, FXU will be considering our various clubs and societies’ history, heritage and the views of all our students in order to find a solution that works and supports the overall student experience. We look forward to having these discussions with our many stakeholders.”
FXU also said that the CSM Student Association had been temporarily suspended, pending investigation into the ‘PPE’ social, which saw students wearing high-vis jackets with slogans such as ‘I love rape’.