On a clear cold night at Iffley Road on Wednesday, the Blues continued their winning start to 2013 with a hard fought victory over the Crawshays by 26 points to 17. The Blues were pleased to welcome back Captain John Carter to the starting XV following his cameo appearance off the bench last week against the Navy. The Blues started strongly as the invitation side struggled to settle early and were soon rewarded with a try, when scrum-half Sam Egerton (Keble) was driven over by his forwards near to the uprights. Fly-half Charlie Marr (Trinity) added the straight forward conversion. The Blues were at this stage of the match in full control and were stretching the Crawshays defence out wide with some slick handling and extended their lead after 20 minutes. However, it was not the backs who got the score but Man of the Match Fraser Heathcote (St Edmund Hall) who enjoyed a storming game on the side of the scrum. Again the score came from driving forward play and it was Heathcote who eventually emerged from a pile of bodies to claim the try, Marr was unsuccessful with the conversion. This second score from the Blues sparked the Craswhays into life and the remainder of the first half saw them dominate possession and territory and claw their way back into the match. They narrowed the gap at the interval to just two points with a try from centre Edward Doe (Glamorgan Wanderers) which he converted, before he added a well taken drop goal to take make the score at the break 12 – 10 in favour of Oxford.
Crawshays started the second period as they had finished the first, on the attack and scored within 10 minutes from right wing Joe Ajuwa(London Welsh) with Doe again adding the extras. With both teams making a number of changes to personnel during the second half the game became rather disjointed, but it was Oxford who scored next to retake the lead when Heathcote barged his way over for his second try, with Marr once again on target with the conversion. With just two points between the sides, it was very much in the balance who would take home the spoils and each side had chances that they spurned. However, with injury time fast approaching it was the Blues who made the decisive move, when replacement flanker Jack Calvert (St Edmund Hall) made ground through the Crawshays defence set up a ruck and the ball was quickly moved out wide where centre Marcus Alexander-Neil (St Hilda’s), who had run and tackled strongly all night, cut an incisive line to break through a tackle and score under the posts. Matt Shorthose (University) who had replaced Egerton at scrum-half added the conversion, to make the final score 26 points to 17. Tight head prop Jon Direen (Kellogg) also enjoyed another fine match in the tight and loose, laying the platform for this third straight win.
The Blues final home match of the season is next Wednesday 27th February against the Penguins, kick off 7.15pm at Iffley Road.
Team Lewis Anderson, Daniel Barnes, Jon Direen, Michael Rickner, Sam Hitchings, Gus Jones, James Harris, John Carter, Samson Egerton, Charlie Marr, Will Boardman, Marcus Alexander Neil, Henry Lamont, Sebastian Williams, Sean Morris
Subs John William Darby (on for Daniel Barnes), Dean Irvine (on for Lewis Anderson), Tom Reeson-Price (on for John Carter), Fraser Heathcote (on for Gus Jones), Matthew Shorthose (on for Charlie Marr), Will Dace (on for Will Boardman), Chris O’Halloran (on for Sebastian Williams), Joe Mason (on for Jon Direen)
Scores T: Fraser Heathcote (2), Samson Egerton (1), Marcus Alexander Neil (1) C: Charlie Marr (2), Matt Shorthose (1)