The Centenary Cup is a roughly-annual contest between Melbourne University Hockey Club ('MUHC') and Sydney University Hockey Club ('SUHC'), commemorating the centenary of their first meeting. It comprises a men's match and a women's match - the winner being the club with the highest aggregate score.
It is distinct from InterVarsity in that it is a contest between club teams rather than only current students ('club' is also interpretted somewhat liberally - particularly for the visiting team - and can include past club members, and non-club students & alumni).
The clubs were both formed in the early 1900s, to provide male and female students at their respective universities with the opportunity to play hockey, making them amongst the oldest hockey clubs in Australia.
In 1909 MUHC extended an invitation to Sydney to send a team down to Melbourne for a match. The invitation was accepted, and on Tuesday 1st June 1909 at the Melbourne University Oval, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney first met in a men's hockey match. This was also the very first men’s InterVarsity hockey match played in Australia. According to The Argus the next day:
There was no doubt, however, that Melbourne were the stronger side, and they won by 6 goals to 2.
The first women’s match between the two universities was played in 1910 in Adelaide (women’s InterVarsity hockey having begun in 1908 between the Universities of Adelaide and Melbourne, with 1910 then being the first year that Sydney participated). Sydney won the tri-series overall, though the result of their first match against Melbourne is unknown. Their second meeting was the following year at the Melbourne University Oval, on Friday 1st September 1911. As both teams had already defeated Adelaide, this match would decide the overall winner for the tournament. From The Argus again:
At half time the scores were level – 3 goals each – but in the second half Sydney, with the wind, prevailed, and, despite the excellent goal-keeping of Miss Bury, won by 5 goals to 3.
These annual InterVarsity Hockey contests gradually expanded to include more universities from around Australia, and in 1993 became part of the Australian University Games.
With the two clubs having celebrated their centenaries in 2007*, it was decided to relaunch the old rivalry. And so in 2008, matches were played at the Melbourne University Hockey Pitch – just a mishit hockey ball away from the University Oval where it all began 99 years earlier. The 'Centenary Cup' was then innaugurated the following year for the return contest in Sydney.
* MUHC was founded in 1907, and at the time, evidence of SUHC's existance could not be shown prior to 1907. Subsequent research shows that it indeed existed in 1906, and possibly as early as 1905.
|Year||Venue||Men's Result||Women's Result||Overall|
|2008||Melbourne University||5-4 Sydney||5-2 Melbourne||Contest won by Melbourne (9-7)|
|2009||Sydney Olympic Park||4-1 Sydney||3-0 Sydney||Cup won by Sydney (7-1)|
|2011||Melbourne University||6-5 Melbourne||3-2 Sydney||Cup retained by Sydney (8-8)|
|2013||Cintra Park, Sydney||12-0 Sydney||3-1 Sydney||Cup won by Sydney (15-1)|
|2014||Melbourne University||5-3 Melbourne||2-0 Sydney||Cup retained by Sydney (5-5)|
|2015||Sydney Olympic Park||7-2 Sydney||3-2 Melbourne||Cup won by Sydney (9-5)|
|2017||Bruce Pryor Field*, Sydney University||4-2 Sydney||3-2 Sydney||Cup won by Sydney (7-4)|
|2019||Melbourne (Feb/Mar tbc)|
* This contest also served as the formal opening of the Bruce Pryor Hockey Field, SUHC's long-awaited home pitch (at Sydney University's Cumberland campus)