Undergraduate and graduate students currently take part in a wide range of sports including—but not limited to—football, rugby, cricket, pool (the College has its own full-size table, free to use), croquet and squash. The Merton College Boat Club puts out several men's and women's boats for Oxford’s major rowing events—Summer Eights, Torpids, and Christ Church Regatta—and summer 2014 saw the revivial of the SCR VIII, who gave a strong account of themselves amongst the younger crews. For a number of sports—football and rugby in particular—Merton teams up with Mansfield College to field joint teams.
Annual events include a JCR vs SCR Cricket Match and participation in the Oxford Town & Gown 10K run in May, the College team regularly including students, staff, Fellows and alumni; our highest placed runner in 2016 was Oliver Paulin (2015) with a time of 35m 19s.
There is a College Sub-Committee dedicated to Sports and Grounds, convened by the Senior Treasurer of the Amalgamated Clubs, Dr Jonathan Prag. He works closely with the JCR Sports Rep, Will Tilston, officially known as the Junior Treasurer of the Amalgamated Clubs.
Our current crop of sporting stars talk about life at Merton - how they balance training sessions and essay deadlines, what got them involved in their chosen sport, and what motivates them to strive for success on the field of play as well as in the examination room.
Merton College has its own extensive sports ground, located behind St Catherine's College, a ten-minute walk away from the main site, with pitches, a pavilion & changing rooms, tennis courts - both grass and hard, squash courts. The Merton College Boathouse is situated on the aptly-named Boat House Island, on the north bank of the Isis (Thames), a short distance across Christ Church Meadow. There is a Real Tennis Court on Merton Street itself—the second oldest court in England after Hampton Court Palace—which is used by Oxford University Tennis Club. There is a well-equipped gym on the main campus, with a variety of weight-training equipment, and rowing and running machines. Students also have access to a Games Room, complete with pool table - free to use, table football, darts and dartboard.
The College employs a Waterman and a Groundsman to look after its sports facilities.
Merton is able to contribute up to three-quarters of the costs of membership, facility fees and travel for those who play their sport at the University or higher levels. Grants for sport to individual student members of the College are made for any activity recognised as a sport by Oxford University Sport Federation or by the International Olympic Committee (though not for sports equipment, tuition or coaching). They are intended to enable participation in non-College sporting activities, including membership and facility fees and travel costs. Previous recipients have included champion rower Kathryn Twyman.
Funding is also available from the Amalgamated Clubs to students who have been awarded a Blue.
Oxford University Sport has a new website with details on student sports clubs, membership options and a virtual tour of the facilities. The website is a hub for sport at the University, signposting students, staff, alumni and the public to information. The clubs and colleges listing displays information about all the sports clubs as well as detailing which sports are on offer at which colleges. The new site also showcases the rich history of University sport.
At the end of each academic year, the Captains of our various teams, or another representative, write a report on the year's activities and achievements for Postmaster - here are the most recent set: