The Oku Memorial Trophy was contested for the 14th time at the Richmond Athletic Ground on Saturday 2nd December between a Hertford College Past & Present XV, London Japanese and the Kew Occasionals. The event honours the memory and celebrates the life of Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku, the first Japanese national to play for the Blues in the early 1980s. An alumnus of Waseda University in Japan and of Hertford College, Oku was a much loved figure in the world of rugby who was tragically killed in November 2003 whilst on secondment to the UN post-war reconstruction programme in Iraq. The event is organised each year by Oku’s close friend and former Oxford Blue Reg Clark. The trophy was presented after the tournament by Minister Plenipotentiary Okada of the Embassy of Japan in the UK.
The Kew Occasionals, captained by former Oxford fly-half and double Blue Ross Swanson, ran out winners after three keenly contested matches of 20 minutes each way:
Hertford College 24 London Japanese 12
Kew Occasionals 21 Hertford College 7
Kew Occasionals 29 London Japanese 7
Kew, a West London based club is a popular social rugby destination for new graduates in the capital, and features many former OURFC and CURUFC players. Under the leadership of Swanson and former Cambridge Blue Ed White they registered a ‘Varsity double’ this season for the first time with victories over the LX Club at Grange Road and the Greyhounds at Iffley Road.