Blues narrowly best Bodgers

Cambridge Blues 35 – 34 Steele-Bodgers’ XV

Cambridge Blues Oxford Rugby Steele-Bodgers The Don Varsity Wednesdays

An epic encounter between the Steele-Bodgers’ side and the Blues saw the University team come from behind to sneak a 35-34 victory in the last few minutes. A few thousand old boys, current students and fans showed up for one of the most important fixtures in the University rugby calendar. This game, the traditional Varsity warm-up match, pitted the Blues against a Bodgers team made up of ex-professionals and current academy stars.

The first 30 minutes showed the gulf in experience as the Cantabs found themselves trailing 22-3 after taking an early lead. Some weak tackling in the centres was pounced on by the opposition, who were clinical in finishing their chances. Moments of genius, including a very flair acrobatic volley from a player on the Bodgers side, kept the crowd going throughout. The away team were physically large, with a number of strong and direct runners, and in some respects Cambridge did well not to go further down in the early stages.

The Steel-Bodgers’ side refused to kick for the posts, instead opting for quick penalties to try to find breaks and extend their lead. Dominating the first half, the only silver lining was a strong Cambridge catch and drive to bring the half-time score to 22-10.

The second half started with a flourish, with the Bodgers picking right up from where they left off. However, a loose offload was pounced on by a Cambridge winger who sprinted the length of the field to score an impressive try. This was followed up swiftly by a successful kicked penalty attempt, bringing Cambridge to within four points of their opponents. It seemed to have gone against the run of play, but there was now a real chance for the home side to win the game, which was sensed by an ever more enthusiastic crowd.

Two quick tries by the Steele-Bodgers didn’t do enough to silent the crowd who would remain behind the Blues to the final whistle, despite being 34-18 down. With twenty minutes to go, regular starters Don Stevens and Harry Peck arrived onto the field at 9 and 10, and provided the momentum for the team to go on and take a sensational victory.

The wingers continued to make inroads into the defence, and the physicality of the forwards only increased as the opposition tired. Another try through the forwards brought the scores to 35-34 with only 4 minutes to go. Having hit the bar and missed on his last conversion, fly half Don failed with his next conversion by hitting the post. This led to a nail-biting last few minutes, which saw the Steele-Bodger XV regain possession and attack the line. Gratifyingly for the Blues, the defence remained solid and a knock-on by the Bodgers winger signalled the end of an extremely good match, which will leaving people guessing as the Varsity match approaches.