Tuesday 5th March at Iffley Road saw a fantastic culmination to the 2012/13 College Rugby season with the sun shining down upon three keenly contested, close finals.
In the Bowl Hertford overcame a determined Jesus side 25 points to 20.
Hertford Trys: Thomas Wetherald, Harry Jackson, Kevin Chang Cons: David Franklin (2), Pen: David Franklin DG: David Franklin
Jesus Trys: Carwyn Watkins (2), Richard Gregson, Harry Foster
The Plate was equally as close as Exeter just managed to hold off a tremendous fightback from CCC/Somerville to win by 30 points to 24. The highlight of the match was the 80 minute battle between the opposing No 8’s Sam Hitchings and Will Fell – worth the entrance money alone!
Exeter Trys: Sam Hitchings (2), Tony Dickinson, Andrew Heard, Joe Weld-Blundell Cons: Phil Bell Pen: Phil Bell
CCC/Somerville Trys: Will Thomas (2), Alex Mason, Leo Bentley Cons: Kit Aina (2)
In the main Cuppers Final, close to 1,000 vocal students cheered on their respective college teams for the full 80 minutes, but it was the reigning champions St Edmund Hall who came away with the spoils 27 points to 17. Keble came out of the blocks strongly and went three points ahead when fly-half Charlie King converted a penalty after an infringement from the kick off. However, the Teddy Hall pack started to gain some ascendancy – which it maintained for the majority of the match – and went ahead with No 8 Fraser Heathcote scoring from a driving maul. They extended their lead after 25 minutes when Heathcote was again the recipient of a well constructed line-out drive. However, Keble were not going to roll over and on the 30 minute mark a beautifully executed backs move, centre Talfan Evans cut through the Hall defence to score a try under the posts, which King duly converted to tie the scores at 10 all. Hall then re-took the lead when full-back David Cooper-Parry kicked a straight forward penalty to make the score at the interval 13 point to 10 in their favour. In a match sadly marred by 6 yellow cards, five against Keble, Teddy hall were able to turn the screw in the first 20 minutes of the second half and extended their lead with two trys from centres Oscar Vallance and Jack Calvert, both converted by Cooper-Parry. However, the final 20 minutes saw Keble hit back again, to show why they were crowned 2012/13 league champions, and got their reward when replacement prop Jon Direen scored from close range, King converting to bring them back to within 10 points. However, despite continuous pressure the Teddy Hall defence stood up and Keble were unable to close the gap any further come the final whistle. So over the season the Trophies were shared between the two dominant rugby colleges from the last 20 years, with Keble taking the league title and St Edmund Hall Cuppers. We can all look forward to the College 7’s on Saturday 11th May, to see who will emerge victorious in the shortened version of the game!
A Short History of Cuppers Rugby
The inaugural Cuppers Rugby competition was contested in 1913, with Brasenose College coming out as champions. In the 100 years since it has been an annual fixture in the OURFC and University sporting calendar with the exception of during the Second World War. However in 1947 and 1963 the competition failed to reach a conclusion due to severe weather. Despite not winning the tournament for the first 43 years, St Edmund Hall have since won 31 Cuppers trophies, sitting well clear of their nearest rivals Brasenose with 14. That said, in the last 20 years, Keble have won the Cuppers competition 9 times. So, this evening we see a particularly appropriate clash, that pitches the two dominant forces in college rugby against one another. Keble have dominated this years college season, undefeated league champions and even have The Varsity Match Man of the Match in their ranks (Samson Egerton). Moreover, in a recent league fixture Keble comprehensively put SEH to the sword. However, SEH see the return of a number of university players and a pack going from strength to strength to put this final in the balance.
Entry to all three matches is free and the Pavilion Bar will be open form 6.30pm for the main final.