On a glorious sunny Friday afternoon at Iffley Road, the Oxford Colleges XV got the 2016 Varsity Series off to a winning start when they defeated the ‘Cambridge Lions’ by 17 points to 8. In the tradition of this fixture, first played in 1999, this was the Oxford team’s only outing as opposed to their opposition who had played four previous fixtures, making the result an even greater achievement for this group of Oxford College players. The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty before the Oxford fly-half Jordan Ayling scored a fine individual try from fully 60 metres, a score he subsequently converted. However, it was Cambridge who went into the interval ahead, when their centre scored a try out wide to make the score at half-time 7 points to 8 in ther favour. The second half continued to be an evenly contested affair but it was the home side who managed to make the most of their opportunites as they added two further tries with none in reply, from centre and captain Oakley Cox and full-back James Baker to secure the desereved victory. The Oxford coaches named second row Jack Briggs as their Man of the Match.
1 Peter Doane (Magdalen)2 Angus McCance (St Peter’s) 3 Luke Dent (St Edmund Hall) 4 Jack Briggs (Balliol) 5 Fraser MacDonald-Lister (Keble) 6 James Porter (St Edmund Hall)7 Ross Toward (St Anne’s) 8 George Badger (Balliol) 9 David Peberdy (Keble) 10 James Baker (St Anne’s) 11 Sam Smith (Lincoln) 12 Scott Geelan (Keble) – Captain 13 Oakley Cox (Keble) 14 Felix Rathbone (Keble) 15 Jordan Ayling (Magdalen)
Replacements: 16 Blake Lewis (St-Hilda’s) 17 Callum Morganti (St John’s) 18 Freddy Thurston (St John’s) 19 Andrew Warrington (Keble) 20 Liam Peck (St John’s) 21 Humhprey Heylan (Keble) 22 Laurent Stephenson (Wolfson) 23 James Cobb (St John’s)
Coaches: Joe Winpenny, Mike Williams, Ant Kalindjian, Aaron John Henry
Physio: Jade Norridge