21As Defeated By Oxford

A poor first half performance saw Cambridge out played by their bitter rivals.

rob stevens Rugby twickenham under 21s under 21s varsity Varsity

Cambridge 13-22 Oxford

Cambridge tasted defeat in the 21As Varsity match after a dreadful first half. They fought back in the second half but had left themselves too much to do as they fell well short of their dark blue opponents.

The match started terribly for Cambridge as the Oxford speedster Roland Crouch ran through to score a try in the corner within the first five minutes. Crouch had a great game, causing havoc with the Cambridge defence whenever he found himself in space.

Cambridge responded with a penalty in from of the posts to only trail 5-3 but were soon put under pressure again in their own half.

Oxford were awarded a penalty on the far touchline in the Cambridge twenty-two as the light blues were found guilty of crossing. A generous man would say that Oxford showed their attacking intent by opting to go for the corner, though the fact that the fly-half couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat may have influenced the decision. Nevertheless, the dark blues were rewarded with a try after poor defence at the ruck allowed them to slip over and amazingly Andy Sprague even got the conversion.

Cambridge were playing terribly and should have been punished far more than they were. Oxford however did everything they could to not score, repeatedly giving away penalties when in promising attacking positions. The worse offense came from full-back Sam Newton who somehow contrived to knock the ball on when seemingly already over the try line.

The half ended in calamitous circumstances for Cambridge who had somehow managed to hold on to a 15-3 score line that flattered them. But fly-half Mat Thomas threw a pass to no one in midfield which bobbled about before being gratefully picked up by Oxford and run in for a try from half way.


The second half saw a great improvement from Cambridge as Oxford failed to score again. The introduction of promising Downing fly-half Steve Townend helped to change the course of the game. Townend possessed the novel talent of being able to reach touch with his kicks, something which scrum-half Ben Wilson will have been interested to observe no doubt.

The first Cambridge try when it finally came was a thing of beauty. A first phase move off the back of the scrum saw Townend on the loop in acres of space after Ray Brooks’ dummy run had sucked in the Oxford centres. He passed out to Kings winger Tom Donovan who breezed over in the corner.

Another try followed after Cambridge pressure lead to Oxford dropping the ball in the middle of the park. Tom Donovan again was the first to the loose ball and after spinning out of a tackle like Shane Warne’s leg breaks out of the rough, put on the after burners to run in a second try.

There was still quite a long time left to play and despite the atmosphere of expectation around the stand, Cambridge were too sloppy to really threaten their opponents’ lead. The final whistle was a relief to the Oxford team but the Cambridge players can be very disappointed at the result of the match. They totally dominated the second half and if they had only started in this manner and proved more clinical the result would have been very different. Attention now turns to the 60s match being played on Wednesday.

1 Will Briggs (Magdalene)
2 Sean Cook (Sidney Sussex)
3 Stuart Brown (Clare)
4 Sam Nava (Emmanuel)
5 Dan Penman (Sidney Sussex)
6 Andy Maddox (Christs)
7 Alex Torrens ( Capt) (Johns)
8 Stefan Filip (Robinson)
9 Ben Wilson (Johns)
10 Mat Thomas (Johns)
11 Tom Donovan (Kings)
12 Chris Skipper (Fitzwilliam)
13 Dom Macklin (Jesus)
14 Josh Storrs (Churchill)
15 Francis Evans (Fitzwilliam)
16 Frank Sanders (Magdalene)
17 Paul Grethe (Johns)
18 John Fitzpatrick (Catz)
19 Simon Bushell (Robinson)
20 Oli Hunt (Girton)
21 Steve Townend (Downing)
22 Ray Brooks (Downing)
23 Jon Rackham (Homerton