The Blues final game prior to the 134th Varsity Match saw them host a strong Richmond 2nd XV at Iffley Road on Sunday afternoon. Despite at times, 40 mph winds swirling around the ground, both teams managed to play some good rugby, Richmond in particular looking to tap and go at every opportunity and keep pace on the game.
Richmond were first to score after just three minutes when open side flanker Jamie Thompson crashed over following some concerted pressure on the Oxford line, full-back Tom Platt hitting the post with the difficult conversion. Oxford hit back almost immediately when fly-half George Cullen showed both awareness and great footballing ability to chip the on-rushing defence then dribble the ball over the line and touch down about 15 metres from the posts, unfortunately he could not add the conversion in the windy conditions. Some 15 minutes later Thompson added his second try from a well-constructed catch and drive line-out, this time Platt was successful with the extras. With five minutes to go before the interval, Thompson was instrumental in Richmond’s third try as he charged down a clearing kick which scrum-half Jamie Gibbs quickly pounced on to score out wide. This made the score at the interval 17 point to 5 in favour of the visitors.
Both teams made changes at the break, but it was Richmond who benefited first when Thompson capped a fine performance when he notched his hat-trick try from another catch and drive line-out, again Platt was not able to convert. Oxford then once again showed that their fitness and resolve are not in doubt as they hit back with two tries of their own in the final quarter. First replacement No 8 Jacob Goss was the beneficiary as the Blues set up their own rolling maul to drive over from fully 20 metres and finally replacement fly-half Basil, who enjoyed a Man of the Match second half performance, scooped up a loose ball to race in from 40 metres and for good measure added the conversion himself. This concluded the scoring, meaning Richmond secured a hard earned 22 points to 17 victory.
The Blues team to face Cambridge at Twickenham on Thursday 10th December, will be officially announced at the Vincent’s Club on Monday 30th November ay 6.00pm.
Team Lewis Anderson, Richard Halpin, Ian Williams, Andrew Grant, Fergus Taylor, Nicholas Roberts-Huntley, William Wilson, Fraser Heathcote, Henry de Berker, George Cullen, Henry Hughes, Henry Lamont, Matt Janney, Tom Stileman, Matt Geiger
Subs William Thornton (on for Richard Halpin), James Scaife (on for Lewis Anderson), Hugo Lu (on for Ian Williams), Kieran Ball (on for Lewis Anderson), Jonathan Marsden (on for Andrew Grant), Graeme MacGilchrist (on for Fergus Taylor), Will Thomas (on for Nicholas Roberts-Huntley), Jacob Goss (on for Fraser Heathcote), Ed David (on for Matt Janney), Tom Kershaw (on for Henry de Berker), Basil Strang (on for George Cullen), Guy Fairburn (on for Ed David), Andrew Abraham (on for Matt Geiger), Oliver Shorthose (on for Henry Lamont)
Scores T: Jacob Goss (1), George Cullen (1), Basil Strang (1) C: Basil Strang (1)