11.02 The wait is over. We’ve had all the useless warm-up games that we all pretended to care about, the aggro, the pain, but finally we come to the 2012 Varsity Rugby match. I’m Alex Tyndall and from here until everything is over I’ll be bringing live commentary and awful humour to proceedings. We aren’t blessed with auto-updating like the Beeb so you’ll have to go for manual refreshing if you want the latest updates.
11.06 So, at 11:30, in about 25 minutes’ time, we’ll kick off with the U21 match, and the BIG ONE will start at 2pm, all being well. You can get involved with predictions and suggestions for jokes to save me from myself via twitter @attyndall with the hashtag #oxstuvarsity.
11.11 Quick OxStu crash course for those not in the know (this is the information I found myself over an evening on Wikipedia):
This is the 131st Varsity match, they’ve been on since 1872 and I think they only stopped for two pesky world wars. Cambridge are ahead with 61 wins to Oxford’s 55 and fourteen have ended in draws. Oxford have momentum on their side, with the last two on the trot going to the dark Blues.
11.15 Teams for the U21 game are as follows:
1. Ben Symington, Oriel
2. Dan Barnes, Keble
3. Duncan Littlejohns, St Edmund Hall
4. Richard Russell, Lady Margaret Hall
5. Doug Sexton, University College
6. Ed Bonnell, Brasenose
7. Fraser Heathcote, St Edmund Hall
8. Tom Reeson-Price (c), St John’s
9. Matt Shorthose, University College
10. Will Dace, Hertford
11. Sam Wareham, Christ Church
12. Phil Bell, Exeter
13. Will Boardman, New
14. Seb Williams, Pembroke
15. Chris O’Halloran, Worcester.
Subs: Will Darby, Dean Irvine, Tom Hilton-Stevens, Jack Calvert, Ben Brooks, Simon Dungate, David Cooper-Parry, Owen Jones
Strong side. I think. Nice to see some double-barrelled surnames in there. That’ll fox the announcers. I also can’t help but admire Duncan Littlejohns and Matt Shorthose for having surnames that mean the same thing.
1. Sam Alderson, Gonville and Caius
2. Tom Blaksley, Homerton
3. Hugo Cobb, Magdalene (Tabs can’t spell Magdalen right. Tsk.)
4. Oli Exton, Jesus
5. Rob Hall, Downing
6. Jonny Miller, Robinson
7. James Scott, Trinity
8. Nick Roope (c), Jesus
9. Kiran Vora, Fitzwilliam
10. Seb Foster, Fitzwilliam
11. Chris Blucke, Jesus
12. Jamie Crawford, St John’s
13. Andrew Gill, Jesus
14. Tom Hudson, Jesus
15. George Smith, Pembroke
Subs: Tom Pascoe, Ben Quarry, David Leahy, Luke Thompson, Alfie Lloyd, George Williams, Matt McBride, Aidan Devane.
11.27 – What is it about teams picking their Number 8 as captain? Three of our four captains today are at the back of the scrum. Any answers, GET INVOLVED @attyndall #oxstuvarsity.
11.30 And we’re off in the U21 game, Oxford kicking off.
11.31 Knock-on by Oxford and Cambridge have their own scrum on the half way line. The announcer just went for a “who’s supporting Oxford? Who’s supporting Cambridge?” moment, to deafening silence from the currently largely empty stands.
11.32 Oxford cock up the scrum, penalty to Cambridge. They kick for touch just inside the Oxford 22. Going backwards though, and there’s the penalty for Oxford.
11.35 Cambridge very much on the attack in the opening 5 minutes. Oxford have barely been out of their own half.
11.36 Oxford pressed hard on their 5 metre line but they got the turnover and went for touch. Cambridge with the line-out just inside the Oxford 22 but they give away the penalty.
11.39 SIN BIN FOR OXFORD. Will Dace executes the kind of tackle you see on the WWE being performed by men in spangly pants, and gets binned for 10 minutes. Cambridge press, get a penalty on the 5 metre line and opt to kick for the posts. Harsh card? I’ve seen softer ones.
11.42 PENALTY KICK 3-0 CAMBRIDGE Seb Foster drills the kick between the sticks and about 300 people in the far stand cheer as Eric Prydz’s hit song Pjanoo echoes around Twickenham. No less than Cambridge deserve so far.
11.44 No trouble identifying Oxford’s outside centre PhilBell. He’s got a pair of those hideous bright orange boots and a red scrum cap. He looks like the top half of a traffic light, to all intents and purposes.
11.45 PENALTY KICK 3-3. in the absence of a number 10, scrumhalf Matt Shorthose (whose trousers really are short), kicks between the posts from the 22 metre line. Came at the end of Oxford’s only real period of attacking intent, too.
11.48 TRY CAMBRIDGE, 10-3. an absolutely awful punt from one of the Cambridge backs fails to get even close to touch but winger Chris Blucke is under it, grubber kicks it for the line and dives on the ball with all the grace of a stingray. Seb Foster does the honours and Cambridge have their lead back.
11.51 Oxford have a penalty and go for the corner but the lineout ends up with Cambridge in possession.Cambridge are really pushing at the breakdown. Looking at them they’re a lot beefier than the Dark Blues and it’s showing.
11.57 OXFORD DROP GOAL 10-6 TO CAMBRIDGE. Will Dace, our pantomime villain so far, earns back a little respect from the Oxford faithful as he drops a goal from the Cambridge 22. The Dark Blues are still struggling to punch through the Cambridge defence, though. A drop goal was probably the best they could have expected.
12.00 A missed penalty by Seb Foster of Cambridge in the middle of the Oxford half means that Oxford are still within a try score of the Cambridge lead with 10 minutes left.
12.02 Don’t forget, you can still GET INVOLVED by tweeting me at @attyndall with the hashtag #oxstuvarsity. I set up Twitter especially, don’t keep me lonely.
12.04 PENALTY KICK FOR OXFORD 10-9. A mighty kick from just inside the Cambridge 10 metre line by Will Dace edges over the bar to keep Oxford within a point of the Light Blues. I do wonder if they deserve it, though. Still, only about three forays into the Cambridge 22 and they’ve got 9 points out of it. Cambridge have been comparatively wasteful.
12.06 Case in point. Cambridge have Oxford on their own try line, with the ball right under the sticks and they give away the penalty. If they’d taken their chances Cambridge would be out of sight.
12.10 Bit of a cock-up for Cambridge’s Tom Hudson. The ball’s going into touch just inside the Cambridge 22. Would have been a Cambridge line-out but he grabs the ball and runs it into touch. Not a good place to do Oxford a favour. Oxford are still pressing but again Cambridge are making it hard for them.
12.12 HALF TIME Cambridge lead Oxford by 10 points to 9 going in. It’s been a bit of a scrappy game so far, not exactly stunning by any means on the technical front with both teams committing the kind of spills and missed kicks you’d expect from a spaniel with no front legs. Cambridge really ought to be ahead by a lot more and Oxford can count themselves lucky to have as many as 9 points. But “nearly” never won anybody anything, and if you don’t take your chances you don’t win (I should know, I’m a Liverpool fan).
12.16 So, less than two hours to go before the Varsity Big Boys come out to play. And we’re already about to kick off with the U21s again. They didn’t get much of a breather. Still, it’s so freezing out here that you wouldn’t want to stay still for too long.
12.18 And Oxford should be ahead. Will Boardman doesn’t get hold of a pass while he’s sprinting down the wing within ten metres of the Oxford line. Oxfordstarting brightly, though, pressing harder than they had at any point in the opening 40.
12.22 PENALTY KICK TO OXFORD. Oxford take a 12-10 lead, with Matt Shorthose (still, I’m glad to report, wearing shorts that fit his name) lopping a kick from right in front of the sticks, fifteen metres out. A formality of a penalty really. Cambridge look like they have an uncomfortable period ahead.
12.24 TRY TO OXFORD 19-10. Hooker Dan Barnes finishes off a fantastic run from the Dark Blues straight down the Cambridge right wing to score under the sticks. Matt Shorthose appears to have taken on kicking duties, as he puts over another formality of a conversion to put Oxford all of 9 points ahead.
12.28 Sam Wareham and Ed Bonnell team up to hammer Cambridge winger Tom Hudson into touch. That will hurt tomorrow. Oxford make some swaps, prop Duncan Littlejohns and lock Richard Russell coming off, to be replaced by Dean Irvine and Tom Hilton-Stevens.
12.30 The Oxford crowd are getting noisier. If that’s possible seeing as there’s about 500 of them. The Cambridge faithful, many of them in some rather fetching sky blue beanies, have given a rest to their [paraphrased] shouts of “Go forth and multiply, Oxford!”
12.33 Cambridge make a switch, flanker James Scott replaced by David Leahy.
12.35 The full Blues are swanning around now, the Cambridge ones wearing pistachio blazers with very very beige trousers. They look like a 1950s living room. All quiet on the rugby front. for now.
12.38 TRY TO OXFORD 26-10. And the minute I say that, all hell breaks loose. Cambridge have Oxford on the ropes with the ball on the 5 metre line, but replacement prop Dean Irvine makes the interception and runs the full length of the pitch to plant it under the sticks. He looked like Christmas had come early and he couldn’t quite believe it, looking left and right like a meerkat dressed in navy rugby gear who happened to be barrelling down the Twickenham pitch at a rate of knots. Add the conversion and Oxford are now 16 points ahead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
12.41 Speaking of meerkats, the Cambridge mascot is out, a lion with a huge sky-blue bow a round his throat. Didn’t seem to help much because…
12.42 TRY TO OXFORD 31-10. A maul from the line-out brings Fraser Heathcote into range and he dives over for the try. Just so you’d all know we went to the same primary school. In Cambridge. The traitor. No conversion for Matt Shorthose, but when Cambridge need three converted tries just to get on terms I shouldn’t think it’d kill them.
12.44 TRY TO CAMBRIDGE 31-17. And, of course, Cambridge only go and score. It’s like they’re doing it on purpose. Replacement Alfie Lloyd scores under the sticks and replacement George Williams scores the conversion. Game on? It’d make one hell of a conclusion.
12.50 If Cambridge are going to turn this around they’d better get a shake on. Eight minutes left and fourteen points to make up. But they’re in the right part of the field, at least. Oxford make two switches; hooker, tryscorer and philanthropist Dan Barnes comes off along with flanker Ed Bonnell, replaced by Will Darby and Jack Calvert.
12.52 So close for Cambridge again, but once more they aren’t taking their chances. Oxford absolutely mash centre Jamie Crawford to the ground but after the ruck the ball is lost forward for an Oxford scrum. Prop Sam Alderson comes off for Cambridge, replaced by Tom Pascoe.
12.54 Clock ticking down. Five minutes. Ben Brooks comes on for Oxford in place of inside centre Will Boardman. Cambridge are still knocking on the door, as they have been for a good eight minutes but things keep getting misplaced and Oxford are holding on inside their own 22.
12.57 Oxford make two more changes, Matt Shorthose and prop Ben Symington come off, replaced by Simon Dungate and Owen Jones.
12.58 Patches of the stadium are starting to fill up now in preparation for the Varsity match proper which we will be bringing you in an hour’s time.
13.00 Time is up on the clock: Cambridge making one last push to reduce the deficit to seven, but…
13.01 FULL TIME 31-17 TO OXFORD. And they deserved it based on their second half performance. The Cambridge players look devastated, the Oxford lads elated. A sign of things to come? The President of the RFU is going to present the trophy to the Oxford U21’s in a moment, as bits of the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack fill the stadium.
13.04 That’s lunch for me, I’ll be back in a few for build-up to THE BIG ONE.
13.16 My fingers have come back to life after the Twickenham Media Lunch and a good cup of tea. Meanwhile some slightly more impressive limbering-up is taking place on the pitch. The Oxford team have got a variety of cones set up which they’re running rings around, and captain Jon Carter is loping around, his shaggy black hair a fly, looking like a man on a mission. I’m going to stick my neck out at this point and call this match in Oxford’s favour. They’ll want three on the trot, they’ve got more returning Blues (more on that in a moment) and even a Swiss international on the side. Plus I’m not discounting the possibility that Jon Carter is in fact in control of the weather and will unleash his power if the match starts to go against the Dark Blues. But this is all just my opinion, what’s yours? GET INVOLVED WITH TWITTER. I’m practically begging, my twitter feed is looking very moth-eaten. @attyndall, #oxstuvarsity
13.23 Squad time! Here’s Oxford’s finest twenty three rugby players:
1. Lewis Anderson, University College*
2.Nick Gardner, Lincoln College
3. Bob Baker, Kellogg
4. Jason Law, Kellogg *
5.Will Rowlands, Pembroke
6. Alex Waddingham, Kellogg
7. James Harris, Kellogg
8. Jonathan Carter (Captain. Possibly Messiah), Kellogg *
9. Stuart Commins, Kellogg
10. Jon Hudson, Lincoln *
11. Oscar Vallance, St Edmund Hall (No surrender, St Peter’s folks!)
12. Gavin Turner, Kellogg *
13. Cassian Bramham Law, Hertford *
14. Henry Lamont, New College
15. Sam Egerton, Keble
Subs: James Wisson, Jon Direen, Michael Rickner, Gus Jones, Charlie Marr, Heewon Cho, Henry Hughes, Hamish Macdonald*
Now here’s a strong squad. No fewer than three players who have experience of the Aviva Premiership (Bob Baker, Stuart Commins and James Harris), seven returning Blues in the full squad and a Swiss international in the form of Jon Hudson. Exciting new faces include Gus Jones and Henry Lamont. Fun fact: Jon Carter was a teenager by the time these two were born.
13.31 There are people from Jack Wills firing Jack Wills merchandise into the Jack Wills wearing crowd using Jack Wills catapults. Only at the Varsity match… This comment brought to you by Jack Wills.
13.32 Cambridge’s squad are as follows:
1.William Briggs, Magdalene * (Still with the spelling…)
2. Paul Mallaband, Emmanuel
3. Stuart Brown, Clare *
4. Nate Brakeley, St Edmunds
5. Scott Annett, Clare *
6. Rob Malaney (Captain), St Edmund’s *
7. Hugo Kelly, St John’s
8. Matthew Steele, St Edmund’s
9. Sebastian Tullie, Emmanuel
10. Andrew Abraham, Homerton
11. William Smith, Girton
12. Dugal Bain, Jesus
13. Danny Holmes, Hughes Hall
14. Andrew Murdoch, Homerton
15. Rob Stephen (King’s)
Subs: Rupert Cowan, Nick Marshall, Frank Sanders, Max Mather, Ollie Wolfe*, Kristian Cook* Ilia Cherezov, Kieran Hegarty.
Players to watch here include American lock Nate Brakeley. If you believe his Biography page on the CURUFC website he’s sponsored by Freedom. As allies go that’s pretty powerful. Rob Stephen manages to pull off the incredible multitask of a medical degree, a choral scholarship at King’s and Blue rugby. I bet his room is obsessively tidy. You can’t be as organised as that without having an obsessively tidy room.
13.38 In terms of form leading up to today, Cambridge have the edge, having played twelve matches to Oxford’s ten, winning half of them, whilst Oxford have mustered only three wins in ten until today. Of course, form only tells us so much. In terms of Varsity history, the Light Blues obviously have the lead with 61 wins, five in the last decade to Oxford’s four. However, Oxford have won the last two on the bounce and that’s the kind of record you can’t argue with. Not that I’m arguing any point put forward by any player whether they be Oxford or Cambridge. I think all of them could bicep curl me without breaking a sweat.
13.42 Winner of the Weirdest Name competition goes to Kristian Cook, whose full name is Hans-Kristian Larsen Haimes Cook. But don’t tell him I said that.
13.47 So I’ve bagged my spot in the Press Box for the afternoon’s proceedings. It’s a decision I immediately regret, because, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s bloody freezing outside. Four old men in the stands in front of me doing some sort of line dance to keep warm. Interesting behaviour I must say. The crowd is starting to look increasingly like a Barbour advert, too…
13.50 Ten minutes to kick-off and the teams have disappeared down the tunnel.
13.51 And Jerusalem is being sung by two women, one from each university. A little more refined-sounding than you’ll find at rugby drinks on a weeknight during termtime.
13.54 The time ticks down. The motivational music gets louder. The crowd stand up and wave flags. The Varsity match is here in five minutes. I’m excited, are you? GET INVOLVED ON TWITTER!!! @attyndall #oxstuvarsity
14.03 We’re off! And it’s at this point that Apple’s fabled reliability which is why I chose a MacBook fails. Great. All ok now, and Cambridge have a penalty just outside Oxford’s 22.
14.04 PENALTY KICK FOR CAMBRIDGE 3-0 to Cambridge. Rob Stephen’s boot is as sweet as his voice. The kick takes a lucky hit off the upright, but who’s counting? Cambridge are in the lead. All fairly even so far, but Cambridge have the ball again and are on the attack.
14.06 Two minutes later and Rob Stephen’s kicking boots are on trial again. Another Cambridge penalty in the same place as before, just outside the Oxford 22.
14.07 PENALTY KICK FOR CAMBRIDGE 6-0. And again the kick is good. Eight minutes in and Oxford are six points down.
14.08 And that’s a clattering tackle on Oxford full back Sam Egerton. A penalty results from the breakdown and Oxford pushing the maul from the lineout.
14.10 Oxford’s turn to kick for the sticks, just inside the Cambridge 10 metre line.
14.11 MISSED KICK Cassian Bramham Law, the Oxford outside centre, doesn’t get the kick right and we play on. Not a stellar performance from Oxford so far but then neither side has looked like going for the line just yet. But given my commentary’s luck we’re probably about to see a passage of excellent running play.
14.15 We haven’t, but Cambridge are definitely on the offensive at the moment. First quarter of an hour gone and Oxford haven’t really looked like threatening. Cambridge well into the Oxford 22 and pushing hard.
14.17 Jon Carter of Oxford is on the floor getting his knee looked at. That seems to put paid to my theory his bones are made of titanium. However it’s still a verifiable fact that the Disney would-be blockbuster John Carter: The Man from Mars only struggled to pull punters because it turned out not to be a biopic of Oxford’s hairy captain and number 8. He’s really struggling with that knee, though.
14.20 PENALTY KICK FOR CAMBRIDGE 9-0. Stephen is at it again, a penalty under the sticks on the Oxford 22 casually chopped over the bar. Jon Carter is up, heavy strapping on his knee and running gingerly. But he does look like he hunts bison before 9am on a weekday so he may well be fine.
14.22 Another fairly scrappy period of play gives Oxford a penalty just outside the Cambridge twenty two on the far side of the pitch. Bramham Law is kicking again…
14.24 PENALTY KICK FOR OXFORD 9-3. Cassian Bramham Law doesn’t hesitate this time, bringing the Dark Blues within one converted try of Cambridge. It’s not all good news, though, since Carter has now called it a day, to be replaced by fresher Gus Jones. This unfortunately means that I’ve an entire stash of jokes about Jon Carter’s resemblance to the barbarian general from the opening scene of Gladiator that will never see the light of day. Rugby’s a cruel game.
14.27 A scuffle breaks out between Oxford prop Bob Baker and the entire Cambridge pack after Oxford give away a penalty in the Light Blues’ 22. Premiership forward he may be, but 8 on 1 isn’t a good plan. Winger Oscar Vallance is looking potentially dangerous; he just carved through the Cambridge back line before being taken out by the full back.
14.29 Oxford have a line-out on the Tabs’ 5 metre line after a neat little punt from one of the Dark Blue backs had to be taken into touch by the Cambridge defence.. They’re pushing hard to take something away but Cambridge are holding fast.
14.31 PENALTY KICK FOR OXFORD 9-6. In the end Oxford come away with another 3 points courtesy of a very short penalty kick for Cassian Bramham Law. Momentum is definitely leaning the Dark Blues’ way as we enter the last quarter of an hour before the break.
14.33 Oh, and Oxford have given themselves all sorts of trouble. A punt upfield from Cambridge scrumhalf Seb Tullie reaches Oscar Vallance whose pass to Sam Egerton goes astray. After a bit of a melee they kick for touch but miss and the Light Blues pump the ball right back into the Oxford 22.
14.35 Interceptions all over the shop, it’s like neither side wants the ball. Cambridge’s number 13 Danny Holmes so nearly comes clean through the Oxford defence but Cambridge give away the penalty. It’s so scrappy, though, that you really wouldn’t bet on Oxford keeping it for too long.
14.39 Only the second scrum of the match, and there’s only five minutes of the first half to play. The Oxford pack weighs in at about 820 kilos. Cambridge didn’t have these stats on their website but opted for the far more universally employed “rate yourself out of ten as a bloke.” Watch out, ladies, because this lot are coming in with a hefty average of 7.4.
14.40 TRY TO CAMBRIDGE 16-6 Andrew Murdoch opens the tryscoring for Cambridge, latching onto a nifty offload from his fellow winger Will Smith and touching down on the right hand side after Cambridge come up trumps in the scrum. Rob Stephen gives us the conversion to give Cambridge a ten point lead. As I can’t seem to stop myself saying, it’s been scrappy. But Cambridge look reasonable for the lead.
14.44 We’re edging closer to half time and the crowd seem to be keen to push off for a half-time scone and cake. Can’t say I’m not jealous. The teams are lining up for another scrum, which looks like sixteen outside toilets squaring up to each other.
14.45 HALF TIME CAMBRIDGE LEAD 16-6. The scrum collapses and Cambridge kick the penalty to touch to take the players in for half time. It’s a trickier game to comment on than the U21s because I honestly can’t say I think Oxford have been much poorer, yet they’re ten points down. The Cambridge defence have been solid, though, it must be said.
14.48 Of course, the competition we’re all here to see is the Jack Wills Kicking Competition. Top prize? A Jack Wills Shopping Spree. Quality of competition is blinding. And why wouldn’t it be, when Jack Wills is up for grabs? If the Oxford team were offered a Jack Wills shopping spree at half time they’d have stormed this. At the moment a young man from Cambridge is in the lead for the spree. IS THERE ANY DRAMA GREATER THAN THIS?!
14.52 Weather update: It’s freezing. The skies are nice and clear, though, not much wind at all. The floodlights are just starting to warm up now as we all limber up for the second half. Although, after the Jack Wills Kicking Competition I’d rather just go home. If I mention Jack Wills enough will they pay me sponsorship money? Answer this, and other existential questions, by GETTING INVOLVED ON TWITTER! @attyndall #oxstuvarsity.
14.56 Second half. We’re under way. Forty minutes left for Oxford to turn on the quality.
14.57 I’ve had an anonymous, mysterious commenter saying it’s definitely NOT Jonathan Carter, but John or John Henry. Apologies to everyone for the mistake. Cambridge on the attack again, they’ve won a penalty again, and again they’re going for the sticks. Grinding the points out here, if this one goes over.
14.59 PENALTY KICK FOR CAMBRIDGE 19-6 And Rob Stephen strikes again. Is there nothing this choirboy medic fullback can’t do? Oxford now thirteen points behind. They really need to start changing things because this is only looking like getting worse.
15.02 Oxford are still going back and forth like a really rubbish rocking horse. Cambridge scent blood and are fighting hard at every tackle. A bit of fisticuffs between Stuart Commins and Hugo Kelly after Cambridge give away a penalty, but it’s certainly not punch-up territory yet.
15.05 Oxford have a foray into the Cambridge 22 after a penalty on the half way line. The maul is pushing strong. Cambridge’s defence is on Ebenezer Scrooge levels of avarice at the minute, though.
15.08 TRY TO OXFORD 19-11 Sam Egerton takes the ball over the line out wide after several minutes of hard pressure in the Cambridge final quarter. It was the first time Oxford have posed a serious threat and what a time it’s come. No conversion for Cassian Bramham Law, though.
15.11 Sam Egerton does an interesting little gazelle-skip whenever he has the ball, just before he starts taking off. He’s easily the most gangly looking player on the field. Cambridge’s turn to attack now and they’ve got a line-out just outside the Oxford 5 metre line.
15.13 I’m really very cold now. Why not warm me up with the glow of companionship and send a tweet or a comment?
15.14 Cambridge flanker Hugo Kelly gives way to replacement Ollie Wolfe, a player who’s already won a Blue in the past. There is definitely more experience on the Cambridge bench than the Oxford one. Talking of which, Stuart Commins has just been replaced by Charlie Marr.
15.16 Oxford have a penalty and they’ve gone for the corner. A score here could be really useful as the clock ticks past the hour.
15.18 TRY FOR OXFORD 19-16 James Harris finishes off another very snazzy passage of play for Oxford with a touch down on the left wing and they’re within a try score of the Light Blues’ points total. Again, the kick was at a tricksy angle so no joy for the conversion.
15.20 Oxford have fifteen minutes to find a lead. Cambridge have fifteen minutes to put the game to bed. Saddle up because this could be tense…
15.23 Cambridge spend a stint inside the Oxford last quarter but off the lineout the Dark Blues’ maul is stronger and they’re off on the offensive. Jon Hudson has come off to be replaced by Henry Hughes.
15.24 TRY FOR OXFORD 23-19 The play opens up for Oxford on the halfway line, nifty passing play finds Sam Egerton who looks up in time to see Charlie Marr to his right, passes to him and Marr takes the ball under the sticks. Marr then converts his own try, the rebel, and Oxford lead by four with ten minutes left.
15.27 Don’t write off Cambridge, though, because they’re pushing again, and a try would see them usurp Oxford as leaders. Both teams are running hard and hitting hard with eight minutes left.
15.28 Cambridge pushing a maul hard, bundling it ominously toward the try line… It’s gone to the backs now but these are scary times for the Dark Blues.
15.28 Oxford have a turnover and Cassian Bramham Law is released, being tackled just short. Oxford give away a penalty but get the ball back at the lineout
15.34 Oxford with a penalty 35 metres out. As darkness falls the Dark Blues can put fresh air between them and Cambridge and…
15.35 PENALTY KICK FOR OXFORD 26-19 Charlie Marr gives Oxford a seven-point lead with one minute to play. Cambridge have to go for the converted try, nothing else will do.
15.37 FULL TIME OXFORD 26-19 And Oxford have it! The Light Blues can’t get anything out of the final exchanges and Oxford fall into a group of manly embraces. John Carter limps onto the field to shake hands with the defeated Cambridge squad. Cambridge’s second row Scott Annett is sitting all on his lonesome inside the Cambridge 22. He looks like he wants to be left alone. And who wouldn’t? Oxford fought back valiantly in the second half and I’d say they deserve the win.
15.56 Sorry for a full twenty minutes of radio silence but in typical fashion it was decided by the internet god that just before full time everything would go on the fritz. First thing is another correction and apology. A (presumably) Cambridge commenter has told me that Rob Stephen actually does classics rather than medicine. All that I’ll say in my defence is that the bloke from the Cambridge tab lied to me.
So, a fairly frantic second period from Oxford, with twenty points for no answer in the end… I’d call that a good day at the office for Oxford. Full match reports will be up as soon as my fingers decide to work again, but until then that’s everything from me. Thanks very much to everyone for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.