OURFC’s 15-a-side season came to an end on Saturday afternoon at Iffley Road, with the Men’s Under 20’s securing a deserved 27 points to 3 victory overt their Cambridge counterpart, but unfortunately the Women’s 2nd XV, the Panthers couldn’t match that win as they went down by 24 points to 10 to the Cambridge Tigers.
On a bright but chilly afternoon the Under 20’s completed a clean sweep in the Men’s Varsity Match series in the 12noon fixture. Captain Will Wilson gave a stand out performance from the open-side, where alongside him No 8 Sam Howard and fellow Freshman flanker Jacob Goss ensured the future of the OURFC back-row is in good hands as they ‘rampaged’ around the field showing not only power but rugby ‘nouse’ too to lay the platform for the rest to follow. The opening exchanges saw both sides make breaks, but neither side were clinical enough with the final pass, the Cambridge fly-half Ollie Bilclough also missed a straight forward penalty to take an early lead. On the 20 minute mark it was Oxford who eventually broke the deadlock when Wilson calmly stoked over a penalty from close range. Bilclough replied almost immediately after with a penalty of his won to level the scores, before Wilson stamped his authority on the game with a solo try from 30 metres when he showed and pace and power to breach the Cambridge defence, he duly added the conversion from in front of the posts. This made the score at the break 10 points to 3 in Oxford’s favour, by no means a secure lead in a Varsity Match!
Unfortunately soon after half-time Wilson incurred the displeasure of the referee who showed him a yellow card for an infringement at the break down in the home side’s 22, however whilst he was on the sidelines Oxford managed to extend their lead when centre Rory Trevelyan Thomas finished off a length of the field move when the ball passed through several pairs of hands. Unfortunately full-back Matt Geiger was unable to convert. With Wilson restored to the pack, Oxford pressed home their advantage with a penalty try following a series of scrums on the Cambridge line, the conversion added by Wilson. The game was now beyond the young Cambridge side, but they continued to push for a try, however it was Oxford who had the last word when wing Tom Hammond scored out wide, again Geiger was unsuccessful with the extras. This completed the scoring and marked the start of deserved celebrations for the young Oxford side.
In the Women’s 2nd XV Varsity Match, the Panthers were confident of a strong performance and a repeat of last year’s victory at Grange Road, following a 50 points to nil victory in their match against Liverpool University the previous Sunday. However, it was the Cambridge Tigers who enjoyed victory this year with their No 8 Lucy Sutcliffe putting in Player of the Match performance with a hat-trick of tries as she showed pace and power at the base of the scrum. The Tigers full-back Katherine Monks added a fourth try and prop Charlotte Edgereley added two conversion. In reply for the Panthers, President Helen Lamb added the only score when she managed to force her way over the line from close range for a deserved try. This made the final score 24 points to 5 in favour of the away side ensuring Cambridge a Double in the Women’s Varsity Matches.