Monday 1st October was a perfect day for the Men’s Blues & Greyhounds to begin their home matches at Iffley Road and after two highly competitive games they both secured hard earned wins. The Greyhounds kicked off first against an Army Academy side preparing for the Inter-Services U23’s competition and despite being behind twice on the final 10 minutes managed to show enough ‘savvy’ to get back in front and hold on for a very pleasing win, providing plenty of food for thought for the Blues coaching team. Full-back Rob Quinlan (Jesus), wing Tobi Clarke (Merton) and centre Michael Dunn (Lincoln) crossed for tries with scrum-half Dylan McGagh (Magdalen) adding two conversions to make the final score 19 – 16. The Greyhounds have second match on Friday when they entertain Brunel University, kick-off 8pm at Iffley Road, providing an opportunity for more players to stake a claim to a jersey.
The evening saw the temperature off the pitch but on the pitch it certainly went up a notch as the ‘Beaties’ for Sydney certainly that whilst they have enjoyed their UK tour so far they were not going to roll over at Iffley Road in what will be a highlight of their visitto play at Iffley Road. The Australian visitors proved that whilst the Wallabies might be struggling, club rugby ‘Down Under’ is alive and kicking as they proved to be a resilient outfit who were prepare to match the physicality of the Blues and test their defence with an ‘All Court’ game based on keeping the ball alive and running straight and hard! Ultimately the Blues proved too strong in most areas and after two tough games on their own tour to Madagascar were battle hardened and outscored their opponents by four tries to one. In the first half-half, flanker Sam Miller, who has enjoyed a strong start to the season scored from a well constructed catch & drive line-out with the second score being a penalty try after the visitors collapsed a scrum as the Blues drove over the line. In the second half Miller’s fellow Teddy Hall flanker, Ryan Jones celebrated a ‘barnstorming’ 40 minutes with a brace of tries, fly-half Tom Humberstone converting one, whilst Easts had the last word with a converted try to reward their endeavours on the night, final score 24 – 7.
Whilst the win was pleasing for Captain Dom Waldouck and Coach James Wade, they know there is still plenty to work on over the coming days and weeks, not least with the visit of the physical Pacific Island Barbarians next up for the Blues on Friday 12th October, kick-off 7.15pm.
Blues Starting XV Abhijeet Oswal, John Aaron Henry, Ben Parker, George Robson, Jasper Dix, Sam Ridgway, Sam Miller, Ryan Jones, George Tresidder, Tom Humberstone, Ed David, Dom Waldouck, Daniel Barley, Tom Stileman, Ben Ransom
Subs Joshua Navarajasegaran (on for John Aaron Henry), Vincent Tang (on for Abhijeet Oswal), Niel Naude (on for Ben Parker), George Robson (on for George Robson), Joe McGrail (on for Ryan Jones), Robbie Fraser (on for Ben Ransom), Henry Martin (on for Tom Stileman)
Scores T: Ryan Jones (2), Sam Miller (1) C: Tom Humberstone (1)