Winner of the 2022 Michael Johnson Rugby Shield: Ben Eastwood

  • two men stand holding a shield award
20 June, 2022

The Oriel Rugby Club’s (OCRFC) captain, Joshua Williams has chosen to award the shield to Ben Eastwood (2013, Chemistry). Ben was presented with the award by the Provost on Wednesday 15th June.

For a couple of years, COVID disrupted the normal running of contact sports here at Oriel, but now that College life is back to normal, and clubs and societies are up and running, we are delighted to announce that the Michael Johnson Rugby Shield has been awarded for the second time. The shield is in memory of Orielensis Mike Johnson (PPE, 1979), who passed away in March 2017. The rugby award was decided on, as rugby was one of Mike’s passions.

Joshua explains why Ben was selected as the winner: “The Oriel Rugby Club (OCRFC) had taken a big hit during government lockdowns, and at the start of the academic year 2021/22 there were very few in Oriel who had actually ever played for OCRFC (or indeed even trained). Ben Eastwood had a long and successful career with the Oriel Rugby Club during his four years as an undergraduate. This was before he left to do a graduate medicine degree at St. Anne’s, but the fact he was no longer a current Oriel student did not stop him from giving so much time, energy and commitment to Oriel rugby in order to resurrect it from the ashes. Without Ben’s commitment and experience I don’t know where Oriel rugby would be; he helped to run our training, played for us in Cuppers and ran our first rugby drinks. Particularly his input on the culture and traditions of the OCRFC were invaluable, as these are the kinds of things that would have been completely lost without the presence of a member who had experienced them himself. Ben had no obligation to help The Club or me as captain, especially as he was doing his Finals for medicine at the time; he has contributed to the Rugby team this year enormously and we are all very grateful to him for his help and support."

Ben has also been pivotal in founding an Oriel Rugby alumni group 'The Hare Club' - which aims to develop the fellowship shared by Oriel alumni who have been a part of OCRFC. (Further details on the Oriel Alumni website https://alumni.oriel.ox.ac.uk/the-hare-club/).