The Blues played their first match on home soil against Richmond on Monday night with expectations high of a first win of the season following the defeats to the two French clubs whilst on tour. However, on a perfect night for rugby in south west London it was the home side who came out on top in a match that never really hit the heights and wad dominated by the referees whistle. The Blues got off to a bad start when they lost wing Henry Hughes (Magdalen) with a knee injury after just four minutes, Seb Williams (Pembroke) coming as his replacement. Richmond were the first to score with two penalties from their fly-half Hugh Roberts, but it was Oxford who crossed the line for the first try on 20 minutes. The Blues secured good line-out possession from Will Rowlands (Pembroke) just outside the Richmond 22 and then went through a series of five or six phases before local boy fly-half Matt Janney (Oriel) forced his way over from five yards. Full-back Jonathan Hudson (Lincoln) added the difficult conversion to put the Blues 7 – 6 ahead and the score remained the same, despite Oxford having to defend the final 5 minutes of the half with 14 men when Rowlands got on the wrong side of the referee and was send to the sin-bin for repeated offences at the break down.
The Blues again had a poor start after the interval with Richmond regaining the lead with a try from wing Jak Rossister who was put in to space by his centre just inside his own half and he had the pace to beat the cover to score near the posts, Roberts adding the straight forward conversion. Roberts added a third penalty soon after to extend the home side’s lead to 16 point to 7, before Oxford staged a fight back. Despite the Blues enjoying a period of possession and territory the Richmond defence remained resolute and their only reward was a penalty from Hudson to close the gap to six points. With both coaches emptying their benches in the last 20 minutes, the game started to lose shape but it was Richmond who closed out the game with a fourth penalty from Roberts to stretch their lead to nine points and despite the Blues pushing hard to narrow the gap, they could not find the necessary cutting edge to add to their ten points. Final score Richmond 19 Oxford 10.
The Blues now have ten days to lick their wounds as they look for their first win of the season, with their next opportunity coming in the shape of Trinity College, Dublin who visit Iffley Road on Friday 11th October, kick off 7.15pm. TCD currently have the bragging rights in this annual fixture after they won a dour battle in the driving Dublin rain back in March on home soil. The Blues will be keen to reverse that result and kick start their 2013 Varsity campaign with a morale boosting win, the return of Captain John Carter is expected which will give the squad a huge lift.
Team Dean Irvine, James Wisson, Ian Williams, Michael Rickner, Will Rowlands, Fraser Heathcote, James Harris, Tom Reeson-Price, Samson Egerton, Matt Janney, Henry Hughes, Gav Turner, Oscar Vallance, Henry Lamont, Jonathan Hudson
Subs Daniel Barnes (on for James Wisson), Michael Hannah (on for Ian Williams), Steven Patch (on for Michael Rickner), Alexander Macdonald (on for Fraser Heathcote), Chris Williams (on for Jonathan Hudson), Marcus-Alexander Neil (on for Henry Lamont), Sebastian Williams (on for Henry Hughes)
Scores T: Matt Janney (1) C: Jonathan Hudson (1) P: Jonathan Hudson (1)