Blues Boys Bring It Home

CAMBRIDGE WIN VARSITY – The Blues have beaten Oxford 31-27 in a thrilling match at Twickers

blues rugby oxford bashing Rugby twickenham Varsity vickerman

The Blues have beaten Oxford to win the 2009 Nomura Varsity Match at Twickenham.

Despite finding themselves 7-5 down at half-time after a tight first period Dan Vickerman’s men put in a brilliant second half performance to win 31-27.

Greenwood bagged the Blues’ only first half try with further scores after the break from Jones, Broadfoot, Richards and Hood as Cambridge ran riot against Oxford’s mistake-ridden back line.

Captain Vickerman told The Tab that winning the Varsity match was “a pretty special moment in my career. This is quite a unique group of guys.”

Cambridge weathered the early Oxford possession with some tight defence and impressive work at the break-down, where Joey Wheeler made the most of the Dark Blues’ uncharacteristic mistakes.

After a disallowed Oxford try they eventually took the lead in the 32nd minute, awarded a penalty try after a big push in the scrum from the five metre line which was duly converted by the impressive fly-half Swanson.

Vickerman’s men came back at them. A few minutes of promising phases saw Richards break through before spinning it to Riley who let Greenwood finish the move he had started by skinning the full-back Mahoney to score in the right hand corner. Broadfoot’s missed conversion made it 7-5 at the break.

Vickerman told his men at half-time that the next period was key if they were going to have a chance. He said afterwards: “I made it clear we had to target the first 10 minutes of the second half and turn potential into points.”

Despite Oxford grabbing a penalty early in the second period, the skipper’s words were heeded.

With 46 minutes on the clock a well executed move at the line out saw second row Will Jones beat four men to score brilliantly under the posts.

Broadfoot’s conversion put Cambridge in the lead for the first time in the match at 10-12. To paraphrase Peter Drury, this was shaping up to be a good one.

The nature of the game was confounding the predictions of Oxford running backs against Light Blue forward obstruction. As the Dark Blues forward-passed and fumbled their way out of contention, Cambridge’s backs were turning up the heat.

A scintillating break from Fred Burdon, the Blue’s youngest member, scythed open Oxford’s defence and within seconds fly-half Ross Broadfoot had crossed the line, a try he easily converted.

Nick Haydon’s 58th minute converted score roused Oxford’s hopes, but the game was moving in the opposite direction.

After good work form the Blues pack, strong running from Broadfoot opened up a hole for Nomura man of the match James Richards, whose searing pace saw him over the line before Oxford’s defence could say 26-19.

But the scoring didn’t stop there. Minutes later Cambridge completed their ruthless 12 minute period when substitute Jamie Hood grabbed his team’s 5th try of the game with a breathtaking run, Broadfoot obliging with the conversion.

A try in the dying seconds from the Dark Blues was little consolation to their devastated captain Dan Rosen, who had seen his team broken by a Cambridge side more precise with their execution, more clinical with the chances that came their way.

The celebrations at the final whistle were special for none more than Rosen’s opposite number Vickerman, the man whose debut dreams were shattered in the running, rollicking, record-breaking rugby of 2008 but who now could choose mentally to frame this moment and stick it on the mantelpiece of his life.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team” he said afterwards, “It’s a very special moment for me.”

Earlier in the day the Under 21s lost 53-17 to Oxford.

1. Niall Conlon, St Edmund’s
2. Patrick Crossley, Homerton
3. Tom Harris, Churchill
4. William Jones, St Edmund’s
5. Daniel Vickerman (capt), Hughes Hall
6. Ed White, Jesus
7. Joey Wheeler, St Edmund’s
8. Ben Maidment, St Edmund’s
9. Doug Rowe, Hughes Hall
10. Ross Broadfoot, Hughes Hall
11. David Riley, Hughes Hall
12. Fred Burdon, St John’s
13. Frederick Shepherd, St Edmund’s
14. James Greenwood, Hughes Hall
15. James Richards, Hughes Hall

Subs (all subs played)
Jamie Stuart Davidson Gilbert, St Edmund’s
Andrew Daniel, St Edmund’s
Predee Anuvatnujotikul, Girton
Haden Henderson, St Edmund’s
Jamie Hood, Hughes Hall
Sandy Reid, St John’s
William Balfour, Queens’
Alexander Cheetham, St John’s