On Tuesday, the Blues narrowly lost 9 point to 5 in a tightly contested match against an unbeaten Aviva A League side Worcester Warriors on a dreary night at Iffley Road. With just one month to go until the 133rd Varsity Match, Oxford were looking for a good performance. However, a combination of poor weather and lack of discipline denied the Blues a victory. Right wing Ed Doe scored Oxford’s only points of the night with his third try of the season before Worcester fly-half Tiff Eden scored a hat-trick of second-half penalties for the Warriors to claim his side the win.
The Blues started in strong fashion, turning over possession in the line-out and scrum. Fly-half George Cullen set up Doe for the first points of the game with a delightful chip which opened up the Warriors defence, with Doe winning the race to touch down before the dead ball line. In a pretty uneventful first half, Cullen had perhaps the best opportunity to extend the lead when he intercepted a loose pass and sprinted for the line from 45 meters. However, he didn’t quite have the legs to get home and Jon Hughes managed to run him down to deny Oxford a second try. Just before the break Worcester prop, Alex Cordas received a yellow card but Matt Janney failed to convert the penalty from 40 metres, leaving the Blues with a five point lead at half-time.
The Warriors capitalised on two Oxford yellow cards in the second-half and worked themselves back into the match with three penalty kicks successfully converted by den to give them a narrow lead.
Replacement scrum-half Henry de Berker nearly won it for Oxford with the last play of the game as he stormed through the Worcester line and sprinted the length of the pitch, but a last ditch challenge deprived the Blues a nail-biting comeback.
Blues scrum-half, Sam Egerton’s confident performance earned him the Man-of-the-Match award for Oxford who remained positive despite the loss.
“It is disappointing that we didn’t eke out the win today,” Egerton said, “but we aren’t really interested in wins at the moment and the boys put in a solid performance in tricky conditions.”
Following another two yellow cards picked up by Oxford today, Egerton commented on the poor discipline shown by the Blues, “Everyone is trying that extra bit to earn a place in the side for Varsity, putting a hand in to force a turn-over, which obviously is causing the poor discipline. We will try and work on that in the coming weeks because the penalty count was absolutely huge today.”
Oxford continue their preparation for the Varsity match, with the traditional annual encounter against the Major Stanley’s XV at Iffley Road, kick off 3.30pm. The Blues will be looking to end the run of poor results and claim victory.
Team Lewis Anderson, Nick Gardner, Ian Williams, Graeme MacGilchrist, Tom Reeson Price, Sam Peter, Gus Jones, George Messum, Samson Egerton, George Cullen, Henry Lamont, Alexander Macdonald, Matt Janney, Basil Strang, Edward Doe
Subs Tom Quayle (on for Nick Gardner), Guy Western (on for Ian Williams), Tom Hilton-Stevens (on for George Messum), Will Thomas (on for Graeme MacGilchrist), Henry de Berker (on for George Cullen), Will Dace (on for Basil Strang), Alastair Adams-Cairns (on for Edward Doe), James Scaife
Scores T: Edward Doe (1)