On a cold Wednesday afternoon the Greyhounds travelled to Cambridge to take on the LX Club, in the men’s 2nd XV Varsity Match looking to bring the trophy back to Iffley Road after their victory at home last year. The Grange Road pitch had succumbed to the frost and was deemed unplayable, but thanks to Head Groundsman David Hurst the game went ahead at Cambridge RFC just 5 minutes’ drive away from the home of CURUFC. The Hounds were led by six times winning Blue Lewis Anderson, no longer eligible for Blues Varsity rugby, but also included three Freshman in the starting XV, so this was not a ‘graduate’ heavy side, indeed only six of the 23 man squad were not undergraduates, so this bodes well for the future of OURFC teams.
It was the LX Club who started the stronger and were soon ahead when their fly-half converted a straight forward penalty, however the Hounds hit back almost immediately when the referee awarded a penalty try after the Cambridge scrum collapsed on their own line, fly-half Tom Dyer converting to put the visitors 7 – 3 ahead. This award roused the LX Club and they scored a try over their own when their full-back brushed through a tackle to score near the posts, this time the fly-half was off-target with his kick to leave the LX Club just one point ahead. This was to be the last time the home side troubled the scoreboard as the Greyhounds started to exert control in both attack and defence and were able to score at regular intervals during the first period with two further tries from flanker Ollie Adams and wing Dan Barley (both Freshers) and two conversions and two penalties form Dyer, who certainly had his kicking boots on! This made the score at half-time 25 points to 8. The second half saw the home side come out strongly once more, but a 10-15 minute spell of pressure in the Oxford 22, was repeatedly repelled by excellent and committed defence and ultimately decide the outcome of the match as they were unable to cross the Hounds line. Once this period ended, Oxford were able to set the platform from which to play a fast tempo game and added four further tries in the second 40 minutes, Barley adding his second, centre Scott Fernquest also notching a brace with replacement 2nd row Valentine Taylor concluding the try scorers, Dyer adding two more conversions for a personal tally of 19 points. Final score OU Greyhounds 49 CURUFC LX Club 8.
Credit must be paid to the coaching team of Johnny Fennell, Mike Rickner and Dom Alonzi, plus support staff of Matt & Ollie Shorthose and Rob Menzies-Wilson, who put in place a training and playing structure that allowed this group of players, along with the Whippets squad, to perform to their optimum o the most important day of the season. Many of these players will now look forward to preparing during Hilary Term for a return visit to Cambridge in March for the Under 20 Varsity Match.
Team Lewis Anderson, Noah Miller, Paul Childs, Hugo McPherson, Graeme MacGilchrist, Ollie Adams, Jacob Goss, John Aaron Henry, Dylan McGagh, Tom Dyer, Daniel Barley, Scott Fernquest, Joshua Stickland, Robbie Fraser, Jack Holmes
Subs Daniel Radigan, Hugo Lu, James Calderwood, Valentine Taylor, Sam Behagg, Sebastian Haddock, Tom Humberstone, Tom Hammond, James Povey
Scores T: Daniel Barley (2), Scott Fernquest (2), Ollie Adams (1), Valentine Taylor (1) Pen Try (1) C: Tom Dyer (4) P: Tom Dyer (2)