Blues Streak Past Bodgers With Oxford Watching On
Blues bosh the Steele Bodger XV with a commanding second half performance at Grange Road, despite the intervention of a streaker. Includes photos of Oxford’s Varsity Match challenge (and the streaker).
Cambridge 47- 27 Steele-Bodger XV
The Blues despatched the Steele-Bodger select XV with a confident second half performance at Grange Road, whilst the crowd were further entertained by a streaker managing two lengths of the pitch.
Mickey Steele-Bodger selected a very strong side to face Cambridge, picking last year’s Varsity Match winning Blues Ross Broadfoot, James Greenwood and Pat Crossley as well as the 2008 Blues captain John Dawson.
The game was preceded by the traditional Varsity Match challenge set out by Oxford Captain Nick Haydon and his returning Oxford Blues.
Having accepted the challenge, the match got underway with Jimmy Richard’s side looking to put in a strong performance in front of a 3000-strong crowd and the watching Dark Blues.
However, Cambridge started the game poorly and, despite a defensive training session with Wasps coach Rob Hoardley earlier in the week, let in an early Steele-Bodger try after missing two tackles.
The Bodgers only moments later pressed home their early advantage by kicking a penalty under the posts, making the score 0-10 within six minutes.
Tim Sherrington’s exclusive match photos.
After the early setbacks the Blues started to play some proper rugby and upset the Bodgers’ rhythm.
Captain Jimmy Richards shook his side to life with a crunching covering tackle on former team-mate James Greenwood who had intercepted a sloppy Cambridge pass to break up the field.
As the Cambridge forwards began to win more possession, the back-line started to look dangerous.
Fly half Greg Cushing was particularly alert, taking advantage of the Bodgers’ rush defence and the poor tackling of his opposite number to break through the opposition line before offloading to Sam Hunt who scored under the posts.
The Bodgers regrouped however, and spent the rest of the half lodged firmly in the Blues’ 22.
The only chances Cambridge had to attack were through the odd darting break by centre Fred Burdon.
An efficient and organised Cambridge defence kept the away side at bay, despite second row Tom Harrington being sent to the sin bin for consistently killing the ball.
The Bodgers were by the end of the half beginning to look desperate as there was simply no way through. An attempted cross field kick showed their desperation, but this was quickly snaffled up and cleared by Number 8 Ben Maidment.
After the half time break the match started to heat up.
Stirring words must have been said in the changing room at half time as the Blues came out and looked almost instantly a different side.
Within five minutes Cambridge had pulled ahead with a break straight up the wing puting Greg Cushing on the ball. He skipped past his opposite number to score himself this time under the posts.
The Bodgers had not given up yet however, and James Greenwood again looked lively. A surging break from him however came to nothing as his pass was knocked on by Number 8 R. Hackney.
The Blues were beginning to control the game, and scored again not long after. Cushing passed the ball to flanker Tom Stanton running beautiful line that cut straight through the Bodger’s defence, he then dummied the full back before touching down under the posts.
The home side were now dodging tackles with ease: Sam Hunt darted through a gap at the back of a ruck before drawing the final man. Unfortunately however, flanker Jason Kururangi knocked on his pass that would have put him clean in under the posts.
Within minutes substitute Ilia Cherezov had scored in the corner after accepting a cute pass that put him over from captain Jimmy Richards.
With the Bodgers looking increasingly sloppy and the Blues tightening their grip, the match became one sided.
The Bodger XV can perhaps be excused for allowing Cambridge’s next try on the hour mark however, as a streaker burst onto the pitch just as the Blues were making another break up the left.
Just as the naked man left the field. the announcer informed a distracted crowd that Greg Cushing had scored another try to take the score to score 35- 13.
By now the game was a foregone conclusion, however, the Blues still fought on, scoring two tries, courtesy of Jimmy Richards and Illia Cherezov again, in the next ten minutes.
In the last five, with the Blues perhaps congratulating themselves too early, the Bodger’s managed two of their own. The first came from more good work from James Greenwood, a reward for his consistent efforts throughout the game.
The Blues will be particularly pleased with their second half performance and will want to replicate it for the full 80 minutes against London Scottish on Saturday, their final game before Varsity.