The Blues started 2014 in fine style with an impressive 36 points to 16 win over the RAF at Iffley Road on Wednesday night. After three weeks of incessant rain, it was surprising to see the pitch in such good condition, but the firm surface allied with a desire from both teams to run the ball saw an exciting evenings rugby. The RAF started the brighter winning plenty of possession but could only manage a solitary penalty for their efforts from fly-half Andy Byrne, when the Blues did get hold of the ball they struck straight away when centre Matt Janney (Oriel) cut a swathe through three or four despairing tacklers before releasing fly-half Jacob Taylor (Keble) to score under the post, Taylor adding the straight forward conversion. The RAF replied soon after with a second penalty from Byrne, but following this score was a stalemate with no further scores until just on the break when Oxford struck again when No 8 Zandy Macdonald (St Peter’s), controlled the ball base at the base of a five metre scrum as the Blues pack drove the RAF back over their own line. Half-time score 12 – 6 to Oxford.
With two men in the sin bin, the RAF struggled to contain a rampant Blues side for the first 10 minutes of the second half, with the forwards providing a solid platform for Taylor to direct play at fly-half for his outside backs to cut big holes in the airmen’s defence. First centre Henry Hughes (Magdalen) rounded off some fine inter-passing, with Taylor once again successful from the tee, then his fellow centre Janney, who enjoyed a fine all round match, cut through a weak tackle to score near the posts, Taylor adding the extras again and finally to finish off the 10 minute purple patch Freshman Chris Williams (University) scored a try from a driving line-out, Taylot was unsuccessful with the conversion on this occasion. The RAF restored to fifteen men, as you would expect from a proud sewrvices team, hit back when hooker St Philpott drove over from close range for an unconverted try. Both sides then made a number of replacements including five University players making their debuts for the Blues – hooker Alex Koo (St John’s), second row Anthony Kalindjian (St Peter’s), flanker Harry Beale (Magdalen), wing Sam Dumigan (Pembroke) and flanker Jack Calvert (St Edmund Hall), which disrupted the pattern of play if not the entertainment! With ten minutes remaining Oxford scored their sixth try when wing Dumigan through a speculative inside pass which was eagerly gobbled up by full-back Pietie Olivier (Keble) to dive over out wide. Teh RAF however had the last word when winger Toby Mann scored out wide following a long passge of play. Final score 36 – 16.
The Blues next match is on Wednesday 29th January against the Army at Iffley Road, kick off 7.15pm.
Team Lewis Anderson, Nick Gardner, Michael Hannah, Graeme MacGilchrist, Fraser Heathcote, Julien Morlet, Chris Williams, Alexander Macdonald, Matthew Shorthose, Jacob Taylor, Sam Arras, Matt Janney, Henry Hughes, Edward Doe, Pietie Olivier
Subs Dean Irvine (on for Lewis Anderson), Harry Beale (on for Alexander Macdonald)
Scores T: Alexander Macdonald (1), Chris Williams (1), Matt Janney (1), Henry Hughes (1), Pietie Olivier (1), Jacob Taylor (1) C: Jacob Taylor (2)