A resilient Oxford side secured a commanding victory over Cambridge at Twickenham yesterday, despite playing with only 14 men for nearly half an hour. Samson Egerton became the first player ever to be sent off in a Varsity Match when he was involved in an off the ball incident around the 55 minute mark, but the impressive dominance of the Oxford pack kept Cambridge at bay. Oxford Captain John Carter, who announced his retirement for the third time immediately after the game, described the performance as “among the best [he had] seen by an Oxford side” as the Dark Blues secured their fourth consecutive varsity triumph.
It was Cambridge who started the stronger however, opening the scoring within ten minutes when fast hands from Toby May put Nick Jones over in the corner. In a frenetic opening period, the Light Blues then lost impressive number 8 Sam Farmer to injury, before Oxford hit back with a try on their own when a powerful surge at the scrum allowed captain John Carter to rumble over from a yard out.
A spirited Cambridge side hit back soon after, making repeated forays deep into the Oxford half, and they were rewarded when Don Stevens added three points from the ten-meter line. Oxford’s sheer physicality began to tell however, as the fly half struggled off soon after with a shoulder injury. The Dark Blues then drew level thanks to a brilliant piece of skill by Henry Lamont, who beat 3 defenders inside the 22 to scramble over. Oxford’s dominance at the scrum was a pivotal feature of the game throughout, and the Dark Blues dismantled the Cambridge scrum again just before half time, to lead 13-10 at the break.
Oxford pulled further ahead shortly after half time, when soft hands from Will Rowlands gave Samson Egerton the space to canter over under the posts. The game was then marred by its incident of controversy when the Television Match Official deemed the Oxford scrum half to have been guilty of illegal contact with the face, worthy of a red card. Oxford however, seemed rallied by the decision, closing Cambridge down with ruthless efficiency. The experience of the Oxford side, which fielded 13 players with previous Varsity experience, was telling, and the Dark Blues retained the ball for an impressive 14 phases with Lamont at scrumhalf before Nick Gardner crashed over from close range.
As the game wore on, Cambridge’s man advantage began to tell, and Toby May took full advantage of a colossal overlap to dab down with fifteen minutes remaining, Oxford defended resolutely however, and added to further penalties to finish the 132nd Varsity Match by 33 points to 15.
More photos and reaction to follow. See minute-by-minute coverage of the game by the Oxford Student here: http://oxfordstudent.com/2013/12/12/the-varsity-match-2013-live/
16:00 So tnats it folks! A truly enthralling game, but ultimately Oxford had far too much for Cambridge, who must be wondering how they failed to capitalise on an Oxford side which played with 14 men for over half an hour. Even with only 14, the pace and sheer physicality of the Dark Blues seemed far to much for Cambridge, whose scrum was shaky without. Sam Egerton’s red card will undoubtedly be a talking point, as he goes from Hignall Medal WInner to the first red carded player, hpwever npthing should be taken away from this Oxford side, who thoroughly deserved their win. Its been a pleasure, over and out!
15:52: FT OXFORD 33-15 CAMBRIDGE
15.51: On script, John Carter wins the Hignall medal. Off script a nice scuffle breaks out as Cambridge try and salvage some pride.
15.50: PENALTY OXFORD - Oxford have been smart since the red card, and they are at their smartest now, keeping Cambridge pinned back in that 22 and winning the penalty. Hudson takes an age again but he makes no mistake, and Cambridge heads are well and truly down now. OXFORD 33-15 CAMBRIDGE
15.44: Oxford really making sure the scrum is from the exact mark, wasting precious seconds in the process. They needn’t really though, because they dismantle the Cambridge scrum again. It really has been lacklustre today
15:43: 8 minutes to go, and the Blues are still looking resolute in defence. Still time, though…
15.40: PENALTY TO OXFORD: Its that scrum again, and Jon Hudson adds makes no mistake taking his sweet time in the process! OXFORD 30-15 CAMBRIDGE
15.38: Not much objectivity in the press box now with the Oxstu, Tab and Oxford Mail all in the same row…
15.36 Almost inevitably, Cambridge have got over the line, as Toby May uses his quick feet and a colossal overlap to stroll over. Courtenay Morrison MISSES the conversion. OXFORD 27 -15 CAMBRIDGE
15.31: Here come Cambridge, hitting back with a frenetic foray into the Oxford 22 and held up oiver the line. Cries of “Oxford, Oxford” ring from the South stand though. And from those pesky kids
15.29: TRY OXFORD. Incredible bravery and spirit from the blues, and even more composure, as they retain the ball for over 14 phases befpre Nick Gardner crashes over from close range. Hudson converts and incredibly its OXFORD 27-10 CAMBRIDGE.
15.25: They nearly take a huge step closer when Cambridge spill the ball in midfield, but Cambridge have clawed it back and have a lineput on their own 22
15.23: Its going to take a huge effort from Oxford to hold on now.
15.17: RED CARD TO OXFORD – SAMSON EGERTON. Couldn’t have been more wrong, its appears to be for gouging. The first ever red card in the history of the match.
15.16: Todays attendance is 24,463 according to a note being passed around the press box! Meanwhile Cambridge are battling to regain a foothold in the game. The TMO is checking for some sort of foul play offence…looks like Scott Annett cleared out Egerton Illegally
15.09: Once again apologies for the slow updates, please direct your complaints about this website in writing to the paper’s editor at ‘Mr Miles DIlworth, Keble College, Oxford. OX1 3PG”
15.07: TRY OXFORD Delilah’s trim clearly didn’t affect that man Samson Egerton, who strolls over after sublime hands from Will Rowlands. OXFORD 20-10 CAMBRIDGE, the Tabs need a big response here.
15.04: Dangerous Dave has texted in with a few of her gripes, apperently “the beer queues are too long, the christmas music is awful, and I cant tell from the programme which players are single!”
15.02: Two changes for Cambridge and one for Oxford but I can’t be arsed to update you, we’re underway again!
14.55: So a strong start from Cambridge, but its Oxford who are really in the ascendancy at the break as they search for a fourth straight Varsity win. A couple of you got in touch! ‘Connolong’ says “Samson Egerton’s running is nearly as exciting as Keble’s architecture” and Mark has tweeted to say “If it stays this way, I hope Cookie has brought his sloe gin?!” Very mysterious Mark, tell us why?
14.53 Oxford have a little mix up in the back three but it doesn’t matter as Cambridge are steamrolled again at the scrum. HT OXFORD 13 -10 CAMBRIDGE
14.50: It doesn’t matter though, because Oxford decimate Cambridge again at scrum time. Hudson can’t miss that one. OXFORD 13-10 CAMBRIDGE
14.48: We’re back in play, and Oxford surge forward again but Gus Jone’s pass doesn’t quite go to hand. Another replacement for Cambridge, as Max Mather goes off.
14.44: Anyone following from an interesting location today? Anyone following at all? Tweet me @Oxstusport! Please.
14.42: Oxford finding holes everywhere now, as Sam Egerton breaks away into the 22, but Oxford squander possession and Cambridge clear. Lengthy break in play now, as the the stretcher comes on for Oxford’s James Harris. Really sad to see
14.34: TRY OXFORD: AND ITS A BANGER! Incredible feet from Henry Lamont turns an innocuous piece of possession on the 22 into a memorable try as the New College flyer wriggles and worms his way over the line from 15 metres out.OXFORD 10-10 CAMBRIDGE
14.30: And he’s off, replaced by Andy Abraham.
14.28: Huge hit from Will Rowlands in midfield. Middle class crowd baying for blood…Dpn Stevens isn’t looking well down there.
14.25: PENALTY CAMBRIDGE – Don Stevens spends a long time peacocking in his obscene boots after Oxford are penalised for not realising, but he slots it! OXFORD 5-10 CAMBRIDGE
14.22: Can John Carter find another degree to do next year? Tweet us your suggestions @oxstusport
14.20: Thanks Oxstu Website. Im now behind the Tab. TRY OXFORD – Jesus incarnate John Carter rumbles over from a powerful Oxford Scrum but Jon Hudson hits the post OXFORD 5-7 CAMBRIDGE
14.16: Big blow for Cambridge early on as Sam Farmer leaves the field. He was dubbed the press box ‘One to Watch’ over Cottage Pie earlier
14:14: A huge group of school children are chanting in the North Stand. Irritating. Oxford rumbling forward.
14:12 TRY CAMBRIDGE and it wasn’t difficult, if truth be told! Fast hands across the back-line and a great offload from Toby May puts Nick Jones over in the corner. Don Stevens adds the extras…just. OXFORD 0-7 CAMBRIDGE
14:07 Clever little box kick from Harry Peck there, whose dad skippered Cambridge back in ’79 (TRIVIA) gives Cambridge a scrum deep in the Oxford 22.
14.02: Fast start from Oxford who power into the Cambridge start from the restart, lose possession and then decimate the Cambridge scrum. A strong early statement of intent. Jon Hudson misses however…
14.01: WERE OFF! Don Stevens gets us underway
14.00: The Oxstu’s awful website doesn’t want the Oxford lineup published, but we have honoured the great Nelson Mandela, and have heard the national anthem
13.54: Team news now, CAMBRIDGE: Toby May; Nick Jones; Courtenay Morrison; Kristian Cook; Andy Murdoch; Don Stevens; Harry Peck; Will Briggs (C); Tom Pascoe; Frank Sanders; Jack Baker; Scott Annett; Max Mather; Andrew Smith; Sam Farmer.
13.50: Sorry folks lost connection there! Another stat for you: Oxford’s side boasts 13 players of Varsity experience, with only Jacob Taylor and Ian Williams from the starting side new to the fixture. Conversely Cambridge will start with 10 non-blues and have a new head coach in Andy Key, a former Leeds and Leicester Academy coach.
13.45: A few stats to whet your appetite: This is the 132nd Varsity Match, Cambridge hold a strong lead overall with 61 wins to 56, but Oxford hold more recent bragging rights having one the last three encounters. Both sides have one 5 of their regular fixtures this term, with Cambridge unbeaten in their last 4.
13.38: If you were hoping to catch live updates of the U21s game, please direct your vitriolic complaints to the folks over at National Rail, apparently they’ve been having signaling problems. Bastards. I can tell you however that Cambridge were victorious, by 30 points to 19.
13.36: Good Afternoon Rugby Fans! Welcome to the OxStu’s budget coverage of the 2013 Nomura Varsity Match. It’s a cold but sunny day ‘ere in Twickenham and I’ve smashed the free buffet the press box. We’re not the BBC, although we’d love to be…so you’ll have to refresh this page manually. Tweet me @oxstusport or @mattgompels with your thoughts, as I’m likely to run out of those within ten minutes.
Oxford enjoyed a full two days of polo last weekend, taking on Cambridge, Nottingham and Birmingham among others for the annual University Challenge Polo Tournament. Despite the disadvantage of a late start to our term and early training hindered by poor weather, our new beginners made a valiant effort against the other more experienced teams.
Oxford Beginners 1 had a tough start facing infamous rivals Birmingham, but under the guidance of Captain Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod, Kathleen Lemmon and Sydony Johnson managed to hold their own for a 2-2 draw. With star scorer Jan Calliess on board, and not allowing a defeat by Warwick to dampen their spirits, Beginners 1 finished on a high with a 3-1 victory over Nottingham on Sunday, helped by an impressive goal from Kate Robinson and some determined play by Noel Newman.
Our second Beginners team, Captained by Christiaan de Koning, were also thrown in at the deep end to take on a formidable Warwick side. With some powerful shots from Ferdinand Berthold, the threesome went from strength to strength. Sunday ended in a classic blues skirmish, with the draw bringing them up against Cambridge not once but twice. With one draw and one win for Koning and new teammates Lizzy Hamilton and Lucy Gregory, it was an overall victorious and well-deserved 4-2 to the Dark Blues.
The Novice division as always saw some fast-paced and thrilling action. Led by Captain Olivia Cords, Oxford fought fiercely against a strong Nottingham side. Elly Offutt pulled out all the stops in her first match, finishing the first goal to bring the teams 1-a-piece and neck-and-neck to the end. It was a skilful penalty by Cords that finally sealed the deal taking Oxford to victory once more.
Despite some strong tactical play by Ben Politowski, Oxford fell victim to Birmingham’s superior experience, and on day 2 strong attack from Lillian Jewell von Seggern and penalty defence from Offutt were not enough to overcome some aggressive opposition and keep Oxford in the game.
Though a mixed bag of a weekend, there was no lack of memorable moments, including an impressive breakaway run to goal by Cords, and a skilful neck shot from 20 yards by Jan Calliess – rightfully earning him the title of Best Goal. Most Valued Player was awarded to Christiaan de Koning for his natural talent and tenacity with only a small amount of training under his belt.
As always OUPC extends its gratitude to Coach David Ashby and groom Danielle Howland at The Oxford Polo School, who have ensured a fun and action-packed term. The club looks forward to the rest of the season, including upcoming Christmas Chukkas and Winter Cuppers, as well as the SUPA National Championships.
Aston University 1
Oxford Centaurs 1
The Centaurs travelled to a wet and windy sports ground in Walsall on Wednesday, to entertain Aston University 1sts. Having been unfortunate the week before against Birmingham City University, the squad had a point to prove and looked determined during the week’s training. With the conditions – the grass possibly not having been cut this season (or ever?) – being far from ideal, the game started in a scrappy manner. Due to forgetting their own, The Centaurs sported a retro Aston away strip that was small and tight enough to have conceivably been borrowed from an under-14 side. Oxford looked the more comfortable on the ball in the early stages, though long balls forward from Aston (think Pulis’ Stoke and we’re not far off) tested The Centaurs’ defence.
With half-chances and little to report, the game settled until near the half hour mark, when the Aston striker beat the offside trap to run through and square for his strike-partner, who had a simple finish.
A reaction followed from Oxford, with strong work down the right flank from Roly Carter and Hayden Cooke leading to a good save by the Aston keeper from a Fred Howell header. The Centaurs were restricted to snap-shots for the remainder of the half, as the wind saw many attempted through-balls skip through to the opposition goalkeeper. 1-0 to Aston 1sts at half-time.
In the second period the game opened up, as the boggy pitch took its toll upon tiring legs. However it was Oxford who started the stronger, looking composed on the ball and starting to play the attractive passing brand of football that new coaches Jon Collins and Jed Davies encourage. Crosses from either flank caused trouble in the Aston box – Oxford pressing and getting closer to the equaliser. A period of 20 minutes saw Aston reciprocate this pressure; however solid defending from centre-backs Hugo Sever and Fred Ellis ensured that little threatened the Oxford goal. The Aston side began to get frustrated with their search for a second goal and tackles started to fly in. Their centre-midfielder, who didn’t crack a single smile all game, picked up a yellow card for one of many fouls on The Centaurs’ midfield trio. Oxford once again began to press and with 15 minutes remaining found a break-through. A long throw from Nathan Riddell wasn’t dealt with by the Aston defence, and Fred Howell helped himself to a second goal in two games – passing in from close range.
This goal gave The Centaurs a new drive, and with three points in their sights, chances came thick and fast. A scrap in the box led to Oxford’s best chance, but was narrowly missed as both teams searched for the elusive winner. In the final minutes, with The Centaurs pushing high up the field, an Aston attacker went through one-on-one with Oxford keeper Jeremy Ogunleye – who responded with a fantastic save that meant that The Centaurs left with a 1-1 draw and a hard-earned point.
In a game in which Oxford were unlucky not to pick up all three points, there was plenty to be positive about as the squad continues to develop and progress through the season. Post-match, the team were treated to cold showers to wash off the mud that their under-14s shorts didn’t quite protect from, before heading back to Oxford ready to build upon what was an encouraging performance and a solid point.
Most people know of the Le Mans 24 hour race, and what Oxford University Motor Drivers’ Club did last weekend was in much the same vein, even if the speeds were a little tamer. The venue for the event was Buckmore Park, in Kent, which was running it as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The race was something of an unknown entity to OUMDC, who had never competed in anything like it before, but having lost last year’s Varsity match, they set themselves the simple target of beating the Tabs.
Somewhat surprisingly for such a long race, the team of six drivers got just half an hour of practice time, followed by 10 minutes of qualifying, which equated to only a handful of laps each to learn the ins and outs of the kart they were driving. The team judged it best to leave club president Sam Rebbettes out for as long as possible to put in a quick time, and he did exactly that, being the first driver to break the 51- second barrier, and ultimately placing us 5th on the starting grid out of 34 teams. Cambridge qualified in 17th.
At 2pm on Saturday 12th October, the lights turned green and the longest race OUMDC had ever participated in began. After the first few stints, they dropped to 10th place and resolved to hold it no matter what. Up front there was a fierce battle going on for the lead, and behind a number of quick drivers who had simply failed to put in a good lap in qualifying. The hours slowly ticked down, and the tiredness began to take its toll on drivers of all teams, with accidents and spins becoming frequent for some. At 3am the rain that was forecast arrived in force and if it weren’t for the floodlights on the circuit, it would have been pitch black.
In Formula 1, and indeed most other forms of racing, rain would call for a change of tyres to deal with the slippery surface. No such luxuries at university level motorsport. Buckmore is renowned for being difficult in the wet, with many of its corners providing no grip whatsoever regardless of the line you take. This meant that the track was heavily facouring the more technically astute teams, and punishing aggressive drivers harshly.
The rain only got heavier, meaning that the main straight was soon covered with almost an inch of water. These treacherous conditions seemed to suit the dynamic driving style of OUMDC who rose to a 9th position before the puddles of standing water forced the officials to bring out the red flags and call the race to a temporary halt. The racing was suspended until the track dried which would take a good few hours, a respite which was a godsend for several teams whose karts had broken down due to being flooded with water.
With just two hours left on the clock, the race resumed. Shortly back to 10th place, OUMDC had a large gap between them and the kart behind, but were three laps behind 9th place with little chance of closing the gap.
The chequered flag fell and not only were the Oxford team placed inside the top ten, they had also come home well ahead of Cambridge, who were 16th. At the top of the leader board were Chaos, O J Racing and Dogz who completed 1323, 1321, and 1318 laps respectively.
In total the OUMDC team drove 1289 laps, 34 laps behind the leaders, but 13 laps ahead of the Tabs. In the 24 hour period the team covered over 960 miles.
OUMDC are hoping that their dominance over Cambridge in the 24 hour race translates into dominating the varsity match as well. Varsity is due to take place in Hilary, and Oxford will be seeking to take back the crown which was stolen of them for the first time last year.
After a dismal season without a win, which former captain Kim Kilmartin described as a “rebuilding” year for OUWAFC, the Blues really needed to win their first match of the season against Derby last Wednesday. However, with only two preseason training sessions under their belts and a squad that was half made up of brand new players, the odds were very much against them.
The unfortunate Blues were 1-0 down within the first ten minutes due to a messy slip up in the penalty area. However they went on to redeem themselves in the first half thanks to start-of-the-season resilience and the unmistakeable enthusiasm of fresh players. Shiny new centre-midfielder Vail Miller furthered the Blues’ cause with some well-placed corners, one of which ended in a header from skipper Anna Green which bounced tantalising off the post. The Blues were setting up some promising chances and playing great football on the ground. In fact, throughout the first half they looked like scoring, especially Becca May on the right wing who made several great runs and was Derby’s biggest threat of the match.
A drop in pace at the start of the second half meant that Oxford’s defensive line was caught on its back foot and Derby managed to slip another, somewhat slicker, goal past keeper Alana Pain. Help was at hand in the form of Worcester College’s Sam More whose strike went soaring over Derby’s keeper from 25 yards to put the Blues back in the game. Frustratingly, just minutes later Derby extended their lead yet again leaving the Blues with only twenty minutes left to find the goals they needed in order to win their
Subs were made, Mandy Rojek came on for Oxford and soon enough the home side was awarded a penalty. Rojek stood up to take it and skilfully placed it bottom left corner to hit the back of the net. In the dying minutes Tina Gough came agonisingly close to equalising but in the end the Blues had to settle for a disappointing, but by no means tragic, 3-2 defeat.
The Furies had a similarly tough time of it last year and also ended the season without a single win. However, their first match of the new season, against Warwick seconds, had much to recommend it.
The weekend trials had uncovered some new talent in the form of Alice Hunnings, whose impressive performance at right back showed off some confident slide tackles and strong clearances, and Claudia Comberti, who was assertive up front for the Furies.
The inexperienced home side, who had never played together before, were first to score and went 1-0 up in the first half to the delight of the new Furies captain, Amy Trenter.
Disappointingly, some minor errors allowed Warwick to score a couple of sloppy goals which meant the Furies were chasing their opponents for the rest of the match. Even so, they never let Warwick relax and the real brilliance of the Furies’ game came from their former goalkeeper, Chloe Coates, who kept the home side in contention by scoring all three of their goals, including a magnificent long range shot that looped over Warwick’s keeper.
If we compare this showing to the Furies’ disastrous 21-0 defeat against Wolverhampton at the start of last season, it’s clear that this year’s squad is stronger, better organised and more determined than they once were.
Overall, despite the fact that neither OUWAFC side secured a victory in their opening matches, there are promising signs of growth already beginning to emerge in their camp. New talent coming in appears to have given veteran players a new lease of life and the future looks bright for Oxford Women’s Football.
The Oxford University Women’s Rugby Club is gearing up for a big year ahead, following on from their two Varsity victories in last season’s matches against Cambridge.
For the first time in 10 years, both the Blues and seconds team defeated their Tab nemeses. It would be a challenge in itself to defend both titles in the same year. However, the departure of a number of key players over the summer has meant that OUWRFC will have to work even harder to make sure the mint-coloured Cantabrigians keep their hands off the silverware.
The girls are looking forward to this challenge. When asked about the upcoming season, fly half Esther ‘Not Ryan’ Gosling said that she was “looking forward to a big year of kicking drop goals and breaking defensive holes.”
A successful pre-season was run over the vac, including skills sessions and a game of mixed touch with OURFC. Regular training commences this week, however Club Captain Tatiana Cutts said that anyone still interested in playing with OUWRFC were more than welcome to join regardless of how much experience they had.
With a new coach in place, the team is planning to bring an exciting brand of 7s style rugby to the 2013/14 season. This follows on from a summer that featured a string of successful OUWRFC 7s performances, including an entertaining match against the Norway national team. A key challenge for the next few months is translating this freewheeling style of play into the 15-woman game.
The girls are now preparing for their first match against UWIC in Wales in 1st Week. Although commentators are suggesting it will be a challenging game for OUWRFC given the Welsh team’s traditionally sizeable forward pack, the girls are looking forward to the task.
When asked for comment about the upcoming fixture, centre Libby Knowles simply responded to the reporter with “do you even lift bro?”
If you’re interested in joining OUWRFC – regardless of whether your first words were “dummy switch” or you’ve never picked up a rugby ball in your life – email Club Captain Tatiana Cutts at firstname.lastname@example.org.