Oxbridge preparations for this game were somewhat curtailed by a number of reasons and a two hour training session, a team meeting and a ‘walk through’ had to suffice. Nevertheless the squad gelled well, were well captained by hooker Nick Gardner and following an encouraging and dynamic warm up, were keen to start the game well and subdue the expected Combined Services physicality and forceful running.
Exactly that scenario happened and the Oxbridge forwards secured a good amount of possession and the whole team executed a strong defence in all aspects. The pressure told and a (painful!) charge down by flanker Hugo Kelly led to a try by fly half Andrew Abraham. He duly converted and would go on to have an excellent day with the boot as well as marshalling the attack with invention and fine distribution. The 7 nil score encouraged the speedy and skillful Oxbridge back division to show their attacking prowess from all over the field and quick free kicks, use of width and fine support play created a number of opportunities. Andy Abraham scored again following a fine break by centre Danny Holmes, again he converted and at 14 nil the momentum was firmly with the students. However, a ball stolen from a maul led to a good opportunist try by CS. Almost immediately Oxbridge snuffed any thoughts of an immediate comeback when a brilliant 50 metre attack down the 15 metre channel, involving superb offloading and support led to a spectacular splash dive by centre Seb Williams to score in the corner. The game was interrupted by a fracas following the kick off and 3 players were sin binned 1 from Oxbridge and 2 from CS. Oxbridge reacted better and soon scored again through flanker Will Fell supporting a forceful Gus Jones break from No 8. Abraham converted and soon initiated an attack which led to a period of pressure and a sharp piece of finishing by scrum half Seb Tullie. At half time the score of 40 point to 5 reflected a superb effort from Oxbridge well appreciated by a sizeable and growing crowd!
The half time talk by coach James Wade called for more clinical finishing, no relaxation of standards and impact to be made by the bench players. Oxbridge was able to carry this out despite a good fight back in the last 20 or so minutes by the CS team who never gave in. Three more early tries by Holmes, following a beautifully executed defence splitting grubber kick from Abraham, by Tullie, supporting a rapid break by outstanding captain Nick Gardner and by Holmes again , two of which were converted by Abraham led to a score of 52 point to 5 and Oxbridge’s bench were utilised and did add value. CS continued to try hard and were rewarded by a great try to make it 52 to 12 much to the spectators delight. Jon Hudson the Oxbridge full back then scored with a tricky run and Abraham converted but at 59 -12 Oxbridge conceded an interception again finished with a great splash dive and the score became 59 – 19. There was no let-up however from Oxbridge and a try by lock Max Mather and a hat trick interception try by Man of the Match Danny Holmes completed the Oxbridge scoring. It is to CS great credit that the kept going right to the very end and scored the final converted try to end the match at 69 points to 24
It was a really entertaining, fully committed game and both sides contributed to the spectacle, much enjoyed by the spectators.
Thanks to the Oxbridge players and staff and to all supporters.
The squad was made up of a mixture of players from the Blues (10), Greyhounds/LX Club and Under 21’s from the two clubs, with James Wade (Oxford) taking the lead coaching role and Ian Minto (Cambridge) assisting him. Oxford hooker Nick Gardner (Lincoln) will captain the side.
1 S Alderson (Cam) 2 N Gardner * (Ox) 3 J Mason (Ox) 4 M Mather * (Cam) 5 T Reeson-Price (Ox) 6 W Fell (Ox) 7 H Kelly * (Cam) 8 G Jones * (Ox) 9 S Tulle * (Cam) 10 A Abraham * (Cam) 11 A Murdoch * (Cam) 12 D Holmes * (Cam) 13 S Williams (Ox) 14 C Blucke (Cam) 15 J Hudson * (Ox)
Replacements: 16 R Cowan * (Cam) 17 B Symington (Ox) 18 Russell (Ox) 19 W Key (Ox) 20 TBC 21 A Gill (Cam) 22 C O’Halloran (Ox) 23 D Irvine (Ox)
* Denotes Blue