Dark Blues coach James Wade was wearing the broadest of smiles after seeing his side put in a special performance to whitewash the Major Stanley’s XV 50-0 in a one-sided game that will have put them in the mood for next month’s Varsity Match.
There were seven tries to savour, six of them converted by Matt Janney, and plenty of good performances for Wade and Captain George Messum to ponder on as they get ready to pick an Oxford side to shoot for Varsity Match history at Twickenham on Thursday 10th December when they try to make it six wins in a row.
On-looking Cambridge University coach James Shanahan would have noted and admired the close driving play of the Oxford forwards in a first-half in which they bagged three tries to set up a 22 point lead.
No 8 Fraser Heathcote led the way with a push over try, lock Fergus Taylor was then driven over at the posts by skipper George Messum from close range and then tight head prop Ian Williams was the man to profit from a text-book driving line-out.
Loose head prop Lewis Anderson, seeking to push his Varsity Match record out of sight to six games and six wins, looked to be back to his very best form and the lock pairing of Fergus Taylor and Nick Roberts-Huntley worked hard, drove hard and looked ready to head to Twickenham to take on the twin-towers of Ian Nagle and James Kilroe.
That 22 point interval lead was no less than the home side deserved as they dominated the breakdown and the scrums and looked crisp and pacy behind. Scrum half Henry de Berker’s service offered his back line plenty of space and time and Matt Janney ran hard in the middle to create plenty of problems for the Stanley’s defence.
The second half started with the Dark Blues throwing the ball around into the wind and it took only eight minutes before the impressive De Berker picked up at the base of a quick ruck and broke the defensive line to sprint 20 metres to the posts for Janney to again convert.
The gallant invitation side kept battling to the end, but they couldn’t match the continuity and energy produced by the Dark Blues who continued to pile on the points. Williams was driven over for a second try shortly before he left with a shoulder problem and then De Berker sped to the posts for his second just after the hour.
Replacement flanker Will Wilson rounded off proceedings with a kick and chase try in the left corner and Janney’s touchline conversion was the perfect ending to a thoroughly convincing afternoon’s work for the Dark Blues a he brought up the half-century.
Team Lewis Anderson, Richard Halpin, Ian Williams, Fergus Taylor, Nicholas Roberts-Huntley, James Faktor, George Messum, Fraser Heathcote, Henry de Berker, Andrew Abraham, Henry Hughes, Henry Lamont, Matt Janney, Tom Stileman, Matt Geiger
Subs Kieran Ball (on for Ian Williams), Graeme MacGilchrist (on for Fergus Taylor), Jonathan Marsden (on for Nicholas Roberts-Huntley), Will Thomas (on for James Faktor), William Wilson (on for George Messum), Tom Kershaw (on for Henry de Berker), Ed David (on for Tom Stileman), William Thornton, Hugo Lu
Scores T: Ian Williams (2), Henry de Berker (2), Fergus Taylor (1), Fraser Heathcote (1), William Wilson (1) C: Matt Janney (6) P: Matt Janney (1)