LIVE BLOG: The Varsity Matches 2015
History’s being made today: The Tab is in the Cambridge stand to bring you all the action from on and off the pitch
With Twickenham hosting The Women’s Varsity Match for the very first time and Wales international Jamie Roberts starring in the Men’s side, the 2015 Varsity Matches are not be missed. We’re in the Cambridge stand so expect plenty of non-partisan, professional commentary. GDBO
FULL TIME WOMEN’S SCORE: Cambridge 52 – Oxford 0
FULL TIME MEN’S SCORE: Cambridge 6 – Oxford 12
16.17 OXFORD HAVE WON FOR THE SIXTH TIME IN A ROW
Not a great game overall, reflected in the fact it’s the first time in fourteen years there hasn’t been a single try in the match. But Cambridge performed markedly worse – we practically lost the plot in the final fifteen minutes. Oxford were without a doubt better behind the scrum.
On that pessimistic note, this marks six defeats in a row in rugby varsity and eight defeats in eleven men’s boat races, which certainly raises questions about Cambridge sport.
But, to be fair, it’s been a historic day. The women absolutely smashed their way into the record books. The atmosphere’s been quite extraordinary.
Bring on the Boat Race…
16.15 Man of the match
The Oxford wing, Tom Stileman, has been named man of the match for his performance.
16.14 Oh god not another
George Cullen sends another penalty home as Cambridge lock Ian Nagle is offside. 6 – 12
16.12 Sin bin for Cambridge player
Cambridge are down to 14 men: full-back Simon Davies crashes into the Oxford scrum-half when he was was in mid-air.
16.10 Inches from success, Cambridge lose the ball
We’ve truly cocked-up. Oxford go an amazing run and take the ball right to the back of Cambridge’s own half.
16.08 Cambridge are a few metres from the try line
But Oxford keep on blocking our attempts to cover the final yards.
16.06 EIGHT MINUTES LEFT AND OXFORD SCORE AGAIN
George Cullen scores another penalty goal.
15.59 Oxford even the score
After Cambridge lock Ian Nagle is penalised in a tackle, Oxford don’t miss the opportunity to come back: George Cullen scores an easy penalty to bring Oxford back up to level.
15.47 Cambridge scores!
Cambridge push forward and another penalty this time results in a penalty goal. It’s a great kick from Don Stevens – it looked very tricky indeed. 6 – 3
15.42 Cambridge penalty
Cambridge have been given a penalty off the scrum. Captain Don Stevens looks very relieved. We’ve finally got a good opportunity to attack.
15.40 Not looking good
Cambridge have barely seen the ball this half. We’re doing a huge amount of tackling to keep Oxford back. We could really do with Jamie Roberts right now.
15.30 And we’re off again
Cambridge start the second half WITHOUT Jamie Roberts. Roberts is taken off for a reported dead leg.
Roberts had an odd first half, accidentally causing an injury to Dark Blues captain Henry Lamont (when Lamont went in for the tackle!).
15.15 Cambridge injury marks the end of the first half
Cambridge winger Ilia Cherezov appears to have dislocated his dislocated his shoulder. He is replaced by George Williams, but that marks the end of a first half that has seen a lot of battling from both sides, but not enough movement. That there’s been barely a ball kicked in open play speaks volumes.
15.10 The Women’s team show their support
The victorious – and no doubt exhausted – Cambridge Women’s No. 1, Ciara Scott, smiles for the camera.
15.05 It’s looking good
Cambridge are physically much stronger and it is beginning to show.
Spirit are high in the Cambridge crowd and Twickenham – by Varsity standards – is now packed.
14.59 Missed Oxford penalty
Oxford player George Cullen misses a kick from about 40 metres. No wonder he got rejected by Cambridge when he applied.
14.56 Cambridge are mounting a comeback
Chants of “CAMBRIDGE CAMBRIDGE CAMBRIDGE” ring out around twicks as Cambrideg captain Don Stevens puts the Light Blues level by perfectly executing a penalty kick. 3 – 3
14.41 Oxford score
Oxford are given a penalty – Cambridge forward James Kilroe committed a dangerous tackle. George Cullen, who scored 18 points in the match last year, kicks the ball through the posts.
14.30 The 134th Men’s Varsity Match has begun
Cambridge kick off hoping to end a run of five defeats in a row.
14.25 We’re ready
Cambridge is out in force.
14.15 The Men’s Match starts at 14.30
Fans are gathering…
13.12 WELL DONE CAMBRIDGE.
And especially well done to Alice Middleton. Alice is awarded Woman of the Match.
13.11 Nikki Weckman
To win, and to win at Twickenham, is “an incredible feeling”, the Cambridge Captain, Nikki Weckman, says. “The girls have worked so hard all season. They’ve put their hearts and souls into the training, the fitness sessions, so to come out with a victory is just such a good feeling.”
Commenting on the brilliant performances of Anna Wilson, who scored a hatrick, and Alice Middleton, she said: “I’m so glad they’re on our side.”
Even as the points piled up, Weckman said the team “took a nil-nil mentality – we didn’t want to let up at any point.”
“It feels incredible [to be part of history]. To put the women’s game on this platform feels so special and so I’m really, really glad we had the chance to show off our rugby talent here.”
13.10 Education Secretary awards the trophy
Nicky Morgan, the Education Sec, hands the Light Blues the trophy.
13.08 Whistle is blown – Cambridge wins 52 – 0
THIS IS INCREDIBLE. LIGHT BLUES WIN THE DAY
13.04 Two minutes left
Oxford are going to lose. Crowd go crazy as Alice Middleton announced Woman of the Match.
Tim Bond, LXs men’s player, tells The Tab: “Some of the best tries I’ve ever seen.” Mark adds: “this is the largest margin ever seen in a Varsity match at Twickenham”
13.02 Whaaaaaaaaat! An eighth try!
Anna Wilson scores a hatrick and Cambridge reach their half century! Conversion by Alice Middleton makes it 52-0!
12.59 And again – seventh try!
Can we top last year’s score of 43-0? Yes, we can. Cambridge make it 45-0! Mark: “The Oxford team is just awful.”
12.52 Wilson scores again – sixth Cambridge try!
Two tries in the space of two minutes from Anna Wilson. Incredible. A full fifty-five metre run – at Twickenham, no less. Successfully converted. 40 – 0
Yes, surprise, surprise, another success. 33 – 0
12.50 Fifth Cambridge try
Some great passing down the line to Sophie Farrant, who battles four Oxford players to get four metres short of the line. Withers gets hold of the ball, then Randall, who passes to Edgerley. Edgerely can’t quite get it over the line and releases the ball. No. 12, Anna Wilson, from Jesus College, gets hold of it and pushes it over the line to score Cambridge’s fifth try. 31 – 0
12.49 Back to the crowd…
Our expert commentator, Mr Mark Bittlestone, is pleased: “An absolute destruction. Cambridge’s offloading game has been excellent.”
As for the food situation, well, this savvy Cantab went to Tesco instead.
12.44 Triple substitution by Cam
Ciara Scott, Pembroke’s last representative leaves the pitch, along with Withers (Fitz) and Elgar (Girton). Randall (no. 20), Sutcliffe (17) and Edgerley (18) come on.
Cambridge successfully convert it. 26 – 0
12.39 Fourth Cambridge try!!!!
The amazing Alice Middleton scores a second time. 24 – 0
12.34 View from the crowd…
A man sitting near us just revealed his father was recently knighted. Definitely the sport of the people.
As for the views on Cambridge’s performance, the consensus seems to be that the Light Blues could do better: “Despite the score, we’re giving them too much width”, one fourth-year told us. “The pitch is wider than Grange Road, that might be why we are too narrow.”
Another pointed out that “Cambridge are much fitter [athletic terms] than Oxford.”
Our resident rugby expert, Mark, says: “Cambridge is squeezing the life out of Oxford. On average Oxford achieve about four phases before being turned over. Cambridge’s kicking in general has been very poor. This margin is largely down to their superior physicality.”
Lara Gibson, who scored Cambridge’s first try, must be knackered. Sophie Farrant replaces her.
12.30 An easy conversion
Easy. 19 – 0
12.29 Third Cambridge try!
It’s messy. The referee has given it, even though it might have been a knock-on. Chloe Withers edges it over the line, almost right under the posts, for Cambridge. 17 – 0
12.24 Second half
Oxford kicks off.
Cambridge lead 12 – 0. The Hawks’ Club seems to have commissioned these:
12.15 Cambridge scrum then Oxford scrum
40 minutes have passed, but the referee says let’s have one last scrum.
12.12 Meanwhile, in the stands…
There’s outrage in the crowd, as peckish Pembroke students told to stump up £11 for a burger and chips “deal”.
12.09 Penalty for Oxford
Oxford into the Cambridge ’22 for the first time.
Oxford miss a key opportunity and Cambridge get the ball again.
12.04 Second Cambridge try!
Big run by Claire Donaldson, who passes on to McNally and then Wilson – a great duo – then passed out to the far side of the pitch to Lara Gibson (No. 14). Gibson makes a stunning run and places the ball past the try line next to the posts. 12-0
11.54 Cambridge dominate the ruck
11.46 Cambridge conversion
Successfully converted by Sophie Trott: 7-0
11.44 Cambridge try!
Following a strong Cambridge scrum 5m out from the Oxford try line, the Light Blues edged towards the try line and, with some brilliant passing, Alice Middleton scores. 5-0
11.30 The Women’s Match is about to begin
But all the supporters are stuck in Vauxhall.
11.28 Stereotype Alert I
This chap’s not even from John’s.
It’s the World Cup all over again – as Camilla Long wrote in The Times at the time:
Everyone is wearing either an England shirt or tweed. It’s 9,000% Cameron’s Britain. Cameron, after all, is the politician for people who don’t do politics. Just as rugby is the sport for people who don’t do sports.
11.24 Despite the travel situation, spirits are high.
We’re confident of success.
“Behold – an optimistic Pembroke second year”
11.20 It looks like Cantabs are facing bad delays getting here.
Vauxhall is a total mess right now, we hear, with dozens of Cantabs held up.