University Sport

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Varsity T20 Liveblog

1620: Bad news everyone. The game has been called off. A real shame, this could have been a close, exciting match. Still, lets not be too downtrodden, we have seen one excellent match today, with a professional and clinical performance from the Oxford Women. We have had a great time reporting it, and I hope it hasn’t been too hard for you to put up with reading it. See you at Lords. Bye for now from Ben and Jack.

1614: Inspection soon, hold your breaths…

1610: Shout out to the guys in the Oxford Portuguese society, who have tweeted the blog. People are following all over the world. Who’s your favourite Portuguese cricketer? Tweet us @oxstusport with your opinions

1606: Rihanna now, its her classic “We Found Love”. The prospects for this match aren’t in a hopeless place though, as the covers are being removed. It hasn’t rained for a while, but it is still overcast.

1601: Holla. The ducks have gone. A sign the outfield is drying? You tell me.

1559: Cambridge on the other hand are playing football. Let’s hope they’re better at cricket… or not as the case may be. For those of you who are interested the mallards seem to have settled down in silly mid off. Two males and a female. Water is being swept off the pitch like tears off the face of John Terry after they stopped making Nuts.

1553: Waterfowl watch: They’re still there. Oxford fielders are practising with one of those nerf contraptions. California by Phantom Planet is blaring over the PA. A personal request from Athers perhaps?

1542: Fieldy here… not sure if we’re on or not for this one, it’s been raining pretty steadily for a while, but there’ll be an inspection from the umpires at quarter past four so stay tuned for that. The irony of the only ducks on the wicket literally being water fowl is not wasted on me, nor the hoards of cricket fans that have made it down.

1345: 3 required… we’re so close now. It would take a very English collapse to lose it from here… and they run three with a big cut through third man and OXFORD WIN!!! Everyone is crying, this is a time of really intense joy. Atherton must be devastated (comment pending). Let’s hope the men can follow up this with a victory of their own. A really classy batting performance from the dark blues took this out of Cambridge’s hands, just 12.1 overs needed to chase down a score that was never looking very competitive. Assured performances from Stuchfield, Bath and Gough saw us over the line and some quality spin from Kashyap lit up the first innings. Shaking with joy I turn to Ben but he is gone – no doubt streaking across the outfield in a fit of unbridled, unadulterated passion. I wish I could join him, but I’ve got to stay for the men’s. See you at three.

1343: Big dog Michael Atherton has just turned up. he’ll no doubt be distraught to see the Cambridge women on the verge of losing, as an ex-Tab himself. We have fond memories of his matchsaving century against South Africa. Meanwhile, Oxford continue to tick along, requiring only 6 now, its just a hit away!

1340: Driven through the covers, lovely languid stuff from the captain Gough, and she gets three for it. Bath then Drives one through the covers for four. The target is only 11 away now, you can almost smell it, and the crowd are cheering every run.

1335: 19 required now with eight wickets remaining. Apologies for my mistake earlier, we are in fact in the 10th over. Phew.

1330: Huge four pulled through sqaure leg and the Oxford score is ticking along quite nicley… but no sooner do my sturdy, manly fingers tap out those words she is given out LBW! A great showing there from Stuchfield, making a cool 31 off just 24. A matchwinning innings.

1328: A really short delivery there punished by the Oxford batsman, but a dive that would make Luis Suarez blush stops four. Good cricket.

1325: Some great running there from Oxford takes full advantage of the misfield. Into the eleventh over now at 49-1.

1323: This girl finds the gap at square leg and creams the ball over the boundary for a lovely four. Nine off the over brings the Oxford score to 40-1 at the start of the tenth over. 78 required. Are we camping? Because this is intense.

1318: Huge four there, but she’s dropped on the next ball. And another hook for four means this is looking to be an expensive over for the light blues. Some really good fielding though and the damage has been limited to eight off that last over.

1317: Seven off that last over then, including the four. Some really confident batting there – she’s not afraid of a bit of spin.

1315: Four more! A delicate sweep sends the ball racing to the boundary. Don’t bother running.

1313: A tidy over there, with some neat fielding from Cambridge. 15-1

1308: Dropped. No one wants to see that. Well, maybe about half and seeing as it was an Oxford batsman probably most of the people here. And dropped again! More drops than Skrillex’s first album.

1306: Wicket Big appeal… and it’s been given. Lbw and the first wicket has fallen already. 6 off the over plus one wicket and I’m going berserk. This is why I love cricket. The bowler’s style is a little unorthodox but it seems to have done the trick.

1304: Fieldy here to see you through this innings which can only be described as samba stuff as we get underway. A wide to kick off the over and some cagey batting. Who’s excited? Literally tens of people who have made it down. But where are you? Get down here.

1303: The batsmen are out and the fielding team are ready. LET’S PLAY CRICKET.

1259: The story of the innings then, is that Cambridge started brightly, but soon fell away. The openers were the only two to reach double figures, with Webster scoring 1o, and Nikhila Ravi 27. The pick of the figures was Kashyap’s 2 for 10, while Gough was the most economical, conceding only 8 in her four over spell, with two maidens.

1255: Second innings coming up here, with the players starting to re-emerge. Try and come on down if you can.

1250: Wicket This has been a tight final over, although I suppose that’s easier when bowling to the no. 11. Still she is hitting yorker length consistently. The Cambridge innings has petered out after a bright start. They try and run a bye of the last ball, and its farcical, with the batsman left stranded, as Oxford have all the time in the world to whip the bails off. An excellent effort in the field then, and Oxford have to chase 78.

1245: Wicket Great work at Third Man, a quick throw and the keeper whips the bails off. Not even a dive can save the batsman. Cambridge are now 9 down, and will just be hoping to play out the twenty overs.

1241: Wicket Same old story, another Cambridge batsman skys one, and cover settles underneath it. If Oxford can keep Cambridge under 90, that could be the game won. We think the score is 75/8, so they have a good chance of doing that.

1240: A four is edged down to third man. Cambridge will take runs any way they come at this stage. 17 overs gone.

1238: Wicket Slapped back to the bowler, simple as you like. Cambridge are seven down,for somewhere between 70 and 80.

1236: Agonisingly close to a seventh, the ball is skied up, and slips through the hands of point. Can’t be too critical, she made good ground to get there. They are ticking along here. If they get 100 it will be at least something to bowl at.

1231: “All swing, no ding” is the cry from the crowd. A leading edge drops in no-mans land, and there is some cagey running. They run one from a  tuck off the hips, but Cambridge really need boundaries. The score on the scoreboard has dropped significantly, it now says Cam are 65/6, so we are not exactly sure what the score is. More updates when we get them. The rain is picking up, but they’re staying out there for the moment.

1228: Wicket You bet they can. A feigned shy at the stumps brings “ooohs” from the crowd, and its clearly psyched out the bastman, as she spoons one to mid-off next ball. 69/6

1227: Another good over then. Can Oxford run through the tail and leave their batsman with as little work as possible?

1226: Wicket and no sooner had my delicate fingers typed those fateful words, when Wilson scoops one up to square leg, and is caught for a duck. Cambridge are now 69/5, and 110 is looking a long way away.

1225: Wicket a direct hit from cover sees Allison run out for 5. This brings the explosive Wilson to the crease, a hit-or miss batsman apparently.

1225: A word from Helen Webster, who says Cam are aiming for 110 or 120. Scores of schoolchildren have just turned up, hoping to see a close game.

1219: Pulled for four, lovely shot, although its what the ball deserved. A wide slips out, and Oxford need to keep things tight. especially as Cambridge are looking to accelerate now. A push for one behind point, and another wide. the bowler comes back well as the bastman fishes and misses. The score is 59/3 after 12.

1216: More guile from Kashyap, an uppish cut drops short of point, and a thick edge behind is dropped. there are a couple of wides in there as well, but that ends an excellent spell, 2 for not many, we’ll get the exact figures as soon as possible.

1212: At the other end, a reasonable over, with a wide and an LBW shout, costs 5. Kashyap will continue and bowl out now.

1210: It’s Ridhi Kashyap, that bowler, absolutely lovely stuff from her.

1208: Good innings that from Ravi, of 27. Cambridge will be glad to see the back of this bowler, whose name we are trying our best to find out.

1206: Wicket Big, big wicket, as Ravi departs. That was tossed up so high, would have cleared any net. It was full, and edged behind, whence the keeper hung on after a fumble. Cambridge 40/3 with two new batsmen in, and in a bit of trouble.

1205: Allison is the new batsman, but she is up against a bowler in form, mixing up the flight well and and getting some decent flight.

1204: Wicket And it is a wicket now, the pressure clearly told. Neeru Ravi, twin of the batsman at the other end, tried to clear cover, but only ended up spooning it up for an easy catch. Oxford can’t rest on their laurels though, not while Nikhila Ravi is still there. There is an LBW appeal next ball, and that ends a mixed over, but a productive one for Oxford.

1204: A full toss is absolutely hammered away past fine leg, great shot. Nikhila Ravi then picks up a single to the fielder who’s dropped slightly deeper. This only brings the newer batsman to the crease and she’s looked scratchy…

1156: Absolutely lovely flight, great to see in a T20. Another misfield, and is that a drop? Hard to tell from here, may have been a thin edge behind. We’ll have to wait for the slo-mo. A shame about that misfield, spoilt what would have been a lovely maiden.

1154: Despite the misfields, Oxford won’t be too unhappy with this start. Another tight over is squeezed out, and Cambridge are 32/1 after 6.

1151: Wicket Case of the commentator’s curse, as Helen Webster misses a sweep and is castled. There was some better fielding from Oxford in that over, which perhaps increased the pressure leading to a rash shot.

1150: Its a bit overcast by the way, but do come on down.

1147: Ravi is starting to look more comfortable, with a cut through point bearing fruit. The rest of the over though is on the spot, and it only ends up costing 7.

1145: This Helen Webster though, opening for Cambridge, is a treat to watch, with some wonderful driving through cover. Even her shots for no runs look classy. “Uses her bat like a paintbrush” says Jack, and he’s not wrong. 8 off that Moore over, with a bit more sloppy Oxford fielding thrown in.

1143: Apparently a few of the Cambridge women have exams today, great tactical arrangements from Oxford

1140: An excellent second over though, from Gough to Ravi, costing only 1.

1138: Sloppy first over from Oxford, overthrows and misfields meaning it costs 9.

1136: Cambridge have won the toss and elected to bat

1133: Welcome to the OxStu’s live coverage of Varsity T20 in the Parks

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Varsity Football 2014: Live Blog

17.07 There it is then, the Tabs win three on the bounce. They were deserved winners last year after a thrilling contest but this year was slightly different. Oxford will feel they had the chances to win the game while Farmer was untested in goal. Neither side really did enough to win the game outright after 90, and from about 60 minutes onwards penalties always looked likely. Some fine penalty taking from Cambridge it must be said, hitting the corners with every effort, can’t apportion any blame on Farmer for that. A few mentions for some stand-out performances. Ben May was excellent at the back with a couple of crucial last-ditch interventions. Reminiscent of JT in his pomp. Rubenstein and Fletcher moved the ball well at times in midfield whilst Beck-Friis caused problems for the Cambridge defence with his power up front. Official Man of the Match goes to Mike Moneke for an ox-like performance at the heart of the Dark Blues’ defence. Well played sir, unlucky to be on the losing side. The stadium announcer is having a mare as Cambridge come up to collect the trophy he congratulates “the victorious Oxford side”. Alright don’t rub it in mate. It’s a clean sweep for the Tabs having won all the Varsity Football matches as ‘We Are The Champions’ rings out around Craven Cottage. Probably the only celebrations this ground has seen all season. As the fans filter out a Cambridge journo comes over to me and concedes that the best team lost. Scant consolation, but an honourable performance it was. We’ll leave you there as we make a dash for the river. Don’t forget to follow our live coverage of that event as well. I’ve heard the BBC has gone downhill a bit, so don’t bother with them.

CAMBRIDGE WIN THE 130th VARSITY FOOTBALL MATCH 4-2 ON PENALTIES. 0-0 AFTER 90 MINUTES.

MISS: Heardman pushes it wide of the left post. Oxford collapse to the floor as Cambridge celebrate.

GOAL: Gorringe goes low, Farmer guesses right but can’t get there. Heardman must score…

GOAL: Ben May sends Kent sprawling as he tucks it in low to the right, the keeper going in the opposite direction.

GOAL: Baynham-Herd for Cambridge. Farmer gets fingertips on it but not enough to push it away from goal.

MISS: Tozer blasts over. Farmer, it’s over to you.

GOAL: Hutton for Cambridge, sends Farmer the wrong way.

GOAL: Rubenstein goes the same way for Oxford. 1-1

GOAL: Excellent penalty. Low to Farmer’s left, no chance.

16.58 Cambridge Captain Anthony Childs takes responsibility for the first pen…

16.56 Such a cruel way to decide a match, penalties. A fairly even game but I give it to Oxford on points. Teams huddle up around the centre circle. I’m assuming those two late substitutes for Oxford were brought in with penalties in mind, although I do remember playing in goal in a college game when Dan Ginger hit the bar from the spot. Let’s hope he’s got that out of his system.

16.53 Swung in low to the near post by Tozer but Smith can only toe poke over the bar. That indeed was the last act of 90 minutes as Moss blows up. Penalties it is.

16.53 Last chance. Corner for Oxford. Everyone bar the full backs are up…

16.50 Hobkinson is looking knackered at right back as Gorringe storms past him but Moneke stretches a leg and intercepts the cross before it reaches Hutton. Oxford bring on Dan Ginger for Adriaenssens and Adam Heardman for Fletcher.

16.48 Oxford launch a free kick high into the box with Moneke running onto it but Kent catches comfortably this time. Nervous moments. Oxford line up a couple of subs. Specialist penalty takers?

16.47 Good news for Oxford as penalties loom. They have far less Englishmen in their side than Cambridge. Can only bode well. Four minutes of added time.

16.46 SUBSTITUTION John Gorringe on for Daniel Forde as Cambridge shuffle the pack. Two minutes of normal time remaining.

16.44 Game livening up and about time too. Best chance of the game so far by a distance as Oxford break with speed and substitute Smith leaps like a salmon to meet a floated cross from the left but heads agonizingly over. Should he have hit the target? Quite possibly. The Dark Blues suddenly look a bit more dynamic. A further foray down the left results in a corner which is again messily cleared by Cambridge. They haven’t looked comfortable at all when the ball has been put into the box.

16.43 Ben May has made some absolutely crucial interventions this afternoon and he does exceptionally well again to haul back Zac Baynham-Herd (must have been the substitute that I missed, mystery solved) who was clean through on goal. May puts in a good challenge and Oxford clear their lines.

16.39 As we reach 82 minutes, just to clarify, no extra-time. Straight to pens. Loving the tweets coming in, I didn’t think anyone actually followed us. Keeping myself and Alex entertained. Great stuff.

16.37 OUCH! Hobkinson is down after Hutton takes him out in his follow through. Crowd up in arms but I don’t think there was any malice in that. Looks painful though. Another banner in the crowd reads: “It’s Hobbycraft”. Let’s hope that can act as some inspiration for the full back who looks in some pain. Back on his feet but hobbling…

16.36 SUBSTITUTIONS: That was Essman’s last act as he is replaced by Matt Smith of Linacre College. Cambridge also make a change but I didn’t see who it was…sorry about that. Student journalism for you.

16.34 Essman so nearly through on goal. Good work from Fletcher winning the ball back for Oxford on the edge of the box, sliding in Essman who weaves his way around one defender before a superbly timed challenge from Michael Smith averts the danger. The resulting corner works its way to Adriaenssens on the edge of the box but his shot is blocked amidst shouts for handball. Moss is unmoved. Another corner for Oxford is headed narrowly wide by May. A bit of sustained pressure from the Dark Blues.

16.28 Alex is waxing lyrical over Oxford’s captain Jack Fletcher. A comparison to Frank Lampard is shot down given that Fletcher is stick thin. Beck-Friis is now being described as a not-shit Torres. Strong, good in the air but can run with the ball as well. Highest complements. Alex is much wittier than me, so if you’re bored of this follow him @oxstusport. Keep the tweets coming.

16.23 Some persistent work from Griffiths as he tees up Childs on the edge of the box but his low drive is comfortably gathered by Farmer. Pretty sure that’s his first save of the game. The momentum, of which there is very little in general, is starting to ebb back to the Light Blues. Both sides limited to fairly unthreatening long shots. Some substitutes warming up along the touchline. Might be time for a few changes as we approach the 70 minute mark.

16.19 Free kick here for Cambridge. Very central, about 25 yards out. Griffiths looks like he’s down with cramp after a surging run. Very tame free kick from Childs into the base of the wall and Oxford clear.

16.17 In a lame attempt to put the commentators’ curse on the scoreline, my money is on penalties after a double doughnut. Let’s hope that works. Nothing is happening really, but to be honest I could start making it up and you would be none the wiser.

16.11 Moss really must have been bored. He’s decided to get involved in the play now, blocking a pass from Elias Adriaenssens (don’t make me type that too often Elias). Oxford with all the play at the minute, a floated cross from the left causing all sorts of problems in the Cambridge defence after a skied clearance is dropped by Kent but he just gets to the loose ball ahead of Tozer. I wouldn’t normally condone Stoke circa 2011, but lamp a few high balls into Beck-Friis and Kent looks liable to gifting Oxford a goal here. The long throw nearly worked, let’s get Pulis down here to bark some instructions.

16.06 A break from Cambridge ends with a heavy touch from Griffiths and the move breaks down. Rather sums up the game so far. Second half proceeding much as the first. Pinball in midfield. Oxford’s very own Rory Delap, otherwise known as Mike Essman, launches a long throw into the box and Ben May heads over from close range unmarked. Jon Moss looks bored.

16.02 KICK-OFF. No changes for the second half, hopefully we will see some changes in the scoreline.

15.50 What to make of all that then? A fairly tame first-half it must be said, there’s been a few half-openings but accuracy and precision have let both sides down at the crucial moments. Overhit and underhit passes makings things awkward for the front men. It’s an overused word but composure was always going to be a critical factor in today’s tense environment, but both sides seem to be lacking it at the moment. Speaking to the fans over the interval, they seem rather despondent. A calming word from the coaches during the break might be in order. If that doesn’t work, we might have to get the tinnies in for the penalty shoot-out.

15.45 HALF-TIME. Oxford manage one final foray before the break, Beck-Friis demonstrating he has skill and pace to complement his power in the air, running rings around Cambridge’s left-back to get to the byline and flashing a dangerous ball across the face of goal but unfortunately for Oxford there is no one there to meet it.

15.38 My colleague Mr Fox thinks Cambridge have had the better of this half. I’m not so sure. They’ve certainly got in behind the defence more frequently than Oxford but without ever threatening Farmer in goal. Oxford have been more intelligent when they’ve had the ball and for my money look more likely to make the breakthrough. Fletcher testing out Kent with a curling effort but it’s straight into the goalkeeper’s bread basket. The way this game is going though, a goal from either side is looking like a fairly unlikely scenario as we approach half time.

15.36 Temperatures rising, but the scoreline unfortunately isn’t. Claims for a free kick on the edge of the Dark Blue penalty area turned down by Moss. The Tabs unwisely give him a bit of backchat. He’s a Premiership referee, not some unused substitute in a college seconds’ match. Respect, please.

15.33 This game really needs a goal and Oxford have decided the best way to do that is to test out Kent with some more balls into the box. He does look suspect under the high ball I must say, flapping unconvincingly and needing to be bailed out by his defence. At the other end Cambridge try to get in behind the Oxford defensive line but May and Moneke have looked assured at the back after a shaky start.

15.31 Slight opening for Cambridge, Moneke is dispossessed by Sherif who is then briefly through on goal but is stopped in his tracks by an excellent covering tackle from Ben May. Exeter’s centre-back clearly has some supporters in today, a banner over in the corner reads: “May – True or False?” I’ll let you decide.

15.26 Rubenstein showing his experience here, directing play from midfield and marshaling his team-mates as he does so. Meanwhile, over in the animalistic world of Alex’s Twitter feed, Oxford have been transformed from sleeping kittens at the start of this game to a more assertive breed of cougar. Few chances still and neither keeper has been tested as of yet so the crowd decide to ramp up the volume of very loudly telling everyone which University they attend. The game is simmering…

15.23 The ground really is packed now, both sides of the terraces are close to capacity and there is a very contained, Oxbridge inflected mumble going around the Cottage. Always slightly disappointed by the fans at these games. Britain’s finest minds have had 130 years to come up with some witty and incisive chants and the best they can come up with is a sheepish “Ooooxfooord”. Do better Oxbridge.

15.20  I tell you what, although Oxford were probably the underdogs going into today’s game, indeed Rubenstein conceded as much in our exclusive squad profiles, they are really beginning to assert themselves now. Cambridge’s early fizz has gone out of the game and the Dark Blues are looking by far the calmer side in possession. Captain Jack Fletcher embarassing Solomon Elliott with a delightful little flip-flap down the right. Straight out of FIFA 14 that was.

15.16 OXFORD HIT THE POST. Lovely ball drifted in from the left from Aidan Barry, Fergus Kent comes flapping and misses and from a tight angle Brook Tozer hits the frame of the goal. Much better from the Dark Blues. What a chance that was for Oxford. Over on the Twitter feed Alex has compared Tozer to a small, blonde fish just to give you a visual image of proceedings.

15.15 First 15 have been a bit scrappy to say the least. Nerves are evident but the game is becoming stretched. Oxford are beginning to claw their way back into the contest, the big no.9 Beck-Friis bossing things in the air.

15.09 First bit of niggle so far today. Beck-Friis is scythed down and our referee today, the Premier League’s Jon Moss, has a word or two with the dirty Tab tackler.

15.05 Some hairy defending from Oxford there. Haitham Sherif this time down the right for Cambridge, his low cross is poorly cleared by Ben May straight to Chris Hutton, but he gets the block in to redeem himself. Someone needs to get a grip of this ball for Oxford in midfield and calm some nerves.

15.02 Cambridge with the early pressure, Daniel Forde with some direct running down the right-hand side but so far Barry has been equal to it. Ezra Rubenstein, returning Blue and OUAFC stalwart is already cajoling his troops, but Oxford can’t seem to get a hold of the ball at the moment.

15.01 Will run you through the Cambridge line-up as soon as we can. OxStu website playing up as expected. Shambles, the previous editors of this paper are chumps.

15.00 And we’re underway, Cambridge kicking off from left to right

14.52 Let’s run you through the starting line-ups, beginning with Oxford. * denotes returning Blue

  1. Jamie Farmer – Balliol
  2. Tom Hobkinson – St Edmund’s Hall
  3. Aidan Barry – St John’s
  4. Alias Adrianessens – Wolfson
  5. Mike Moneke * – Trinity
  6. Ben May – Exeter
  7. Brook Tozer – Wolfson
  8. Jack Fletcher – Exeter (captain)
  9. Peder Beck-Friis * – Christchurch
  10. Ezra Rubenstein * – Trinity
  11. Mike Essman * – Exeter

and on the bench:

12. Alex Tsaptinos -Pembroke; 14 Dan Ginger – Keble; 15 Adam Heardman; 16 Matt Smith – St John’s; 17 Ben Szreter – Wadham

Cambridge University AFC:

  1. Fergus Kent * – Pembroke
  2. Simon Court * – Fitzwilliam
  3. Solomon Elliott * – Homerton
  4. James May * – Christ’s
  5. Michael Smith – Trinity
  6. James Day * – Jesus
  7. Daniel Forde * – St John’s
  8. Anthony Childs * – Homerton (captain)
  9. Haitham Sherif * – Girton
  10. Chris Hutton – Selwyn
  11. Rory Griffiths * – Trinity Hall

And warming the bench for the Light Blues: 7. Zac Baynham-Herd – Queen’s; 12. John Gorringe – Queen’s; 13. Henry Warne – Fitzwilliam; 14. Rich Wolstenhulme – Darwin; 16. Chris Fountain – King’s

14.47 Varsity matches are always difficult to predict given that the two sides play in different area leagues and the squads are almost entirely overhauled year to year, so last year’s result probably has little bearing on this afternoon. Rick Totten, the stand out performer for Cambridge last year, has moved on and Oxford are without their long-term goal machine Julian Austin. Varsity pedigree remains however, particularly in the form of Ezra Rubenstein who scored for the Dark Blues in last year’s fixture. Cambridge probably start as slight favourites, given that they have won back-to-back promotions and now play in the highest tier of UK University football: the Premier South, although they struggled this year and only avoided relegation because Gloucestershire were unable to field a side in their relegation six-pointer. Oxford on the other hand finished the season strongly to take third place in BUCS Midlands 1A. OUAFC skipper Jack Fletcher nailed it when he told OxStu Sport, “It’s going to come down to who takes their chances on the day, who shows more composure and who comes out of the blocks fastest.”

14.41 A potted history of this fixture for you. This is the 130th Varsity meeting and after all those years it could not be closer. Oxford have 50 wins to Cambridge’s 49, with 30 ending in draws. Fortunately there is no chance of the dreaded deadlock today as penalties will decide the match if the scores are level after 90 minutes. A draw in Varsity? What an anti-climax. More incredibly the goal difference stands at just +1 to Oxford, with 205 goals to the Tabs’ 204. Cambridge have won the last two fixtures, prevailing 3-2 in 2013 thanks to a quite brilliant hat-trick from Rick Totten. In truth, that scoreline flattered Oxford slightly, who were well outplayed on the day. Here’s hoping for a reversal of fortunes this afternoon.

14.30 So, it’s only taken 130 years, but Oxbridge has finally cottoned onto the fact that hosting the Varsity Football match at a Thames Riverside Stadium on the same day as the Boat Race is actually a bloody good idea. We’ve got a double-header of sporting action today and you can follow it all here. What else could you possibly ask for? I’m here to talk you through the footballing action live from the gantry of Craven Cottage and my dear friend and colleague Alexander Fox is manning the @oxstusport Twitter feed; keep those tweets coming in. The teams are already out warming up on the pitch, the stands are…umm…totally empty, but I’m sure they will fill up soon enough, we’re expecting a crowd of around 3,000 today. Strap yourselves in and get ready for a day of drama, tension, typos and thrills and spills galore.

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Varsity football squad profiles

It is just over a year ago now that Oxford succumbed to an agonizing 3-2 loss at the hands of Cambridge at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park. Following months of hard training and a promising end to the season which saw the Dark Blues eventually steer well clear of relegation, the side are ready to go again at Fulham’s Craven Cottage. The Oxford Student runs you through the men who have been chosen to stop the rot of successive Varsity defeats. * denotes returning Blue

You can follow live text of the game from the Oxford Student from 14.30 onwards on Sunday.

adriaenssensElias Adriaenssens

15 Appearances & 1 Assist – 2013/2014

College: Wolfson
Course:
MSc Pharmacology
Position:
Defensive Midfielder
Team Supported:
Anderlecht (Belgium)
Style of play in 5 words:
Left foot, 50-50s, headers, much talking
Career highlight to date:
Winning the league in the Belgian 3rd (2008-2009) and 5th Division (2012-2013)
Views on Varsity:
I expect it to be a close game with few chances for either side. One goal might be enough in this game and we should therefore make sure that our organization is perfect for the full 90 minutes. We are peaking at the right moment, we are ready and hopefully the Oxford fans are as well because we will need their support to win the Varsity trophy

 

Beck-FriisPeder Beck-Friis *

19 Appearances, 4 Goals & 2 Assists – 2013/2014

College: Christ Church
Course: M.Phil. Economics
Position: Striker
Team Supported: Djurgarden (Sweden)
Style of play in 5 words: Physical target man. Good awareness.
Career highlight to date: BUCS Final, Bramall Lane 2011 (with Edinburgh University)

 

Jamie Farmer

9 Appearances – 2013/14

College: Balliol
Course: Law
Position: Goalkeeper
Team Supported: Portsmouth
Style of play in 5 words: Confident, organised, communicative, shot-stopper
Career highlight to date: Playing for Millwall Reserves

 

FletcherJack Fletcher

13 Appearances – 2013/14

College: Exeter
Course: Classics
Position: Centre Midfield
Team Supported: Newcastle
Style of play in more than 5 words: high intensity, short-passing and ball winning
Career highlight to date: Playing in Stade Oceane [Le Havre] in front of 12,000 people as a warm-up act to Zidane.
Views on varsity: Varsity games are always very tight. It’s going to come down to who takes their chances on the day, who shows more composure and who comes out of the blocks fastest.

 

GingerDan Ginger

13 Appearances & 1 Goal – 2013/14

College: Keble
Course: Geography
Position: Centre Midfield
Team Supported: Blackpool
Style of play in 5 words: Lanky, play-making from deep midfield
Career highlight to date: Playing Real Madrid Youth in Madrid, but a win in Varsity will top that!
Views on varsity: The team has come into real form at the end of the season, and plenty of competition for places has led to a massive step-up by all. We’ll win by staying calm and trusting each other 100%.

 

Adam Heardman

19 Appearances, 1 Goal & 2 Assists – 2013/14

College: St John’s
Course: English
Position: Right/Left Wing Forward
Team Supported: Newcastle United
Style of play in 5 words: Almost entirely unlike Hughie Gallacher.
Career highlight to date: Matty Smith’s free-kick in training this one time. It was really good. Or scoring twice in Centaurs Varsity.
Views on Varsity: Howay the lads!

 

hobbyTom Hobkinson

17 Appearances & 1 Assist – 2013/14

College: St Edmund Hall
Course: Engineering
Position: Right Back
Team Supported: Arsenal
Style of play in 5 words: Wannabe Sagna without the hair
Career highlight to date: Winning the Premier League with Teddy Hall
Views on Varsity: Feeling confident and hoping that half a year of hard work pays off!

 

MayBen May

22 Appearances, 1 Goal & 1 Assist – 2013/14

College: Exeter
Course: Engineering Science
Position: Centre Back
Team Supported: Chelsea
Style of play in 5 words: one step ahead of opposition
Career highlight to date: Scoring a last minute equaliser against Atletico Madrid U18s last year on tour
Views on Varsity:  After a slightly slow start to the season which is expected due to the large influx of players into the squad, we have grown as a team and have been looking really good recently both in our defensive shape and in building our attacks and it is safe to say that the talent of players we have is the best I’ve been involved with in my time at Oxford. Cambridge have had a hold of the Varsity trophy for the last few years so it’s time it fell back into dark blue hands and with the quality of our squad I am feeling confident about producing the right result on Sunday.

 

monekeMichael Moneke *

16 Appearances & 1 Goal, 2013/2014

College: Trinity
Course: Medicine
Position: CB/RB
Team Supported: Chelsea FC
Style of play in 5 words: I eat strikers for breakfast
Career highlight to date: Almost being sent off by Lee Probert in Varsity 2013 (said it was ‘a good yellow’. I disagree)
Views on Varsity: Pretty unlucky to lose last year after going ahead twice. It’ll be a tight match, but there’s only one winner here.

 

RubensteinEzra Rubenstein *

26 Appearances, 14 Goals & 6 Assists – 2013/14

College: Trinity
Course: BPhil (Philosophy)
Position: Winger
Team Supported: Manchester United
Style of play in 5 words: Drift infield, find holes, dribble
Career highlight to date: Winning Varsity at the Kassam in 2011
Views on Varsity: Most people would have us as underdogs going into the game, but I’m quietly confident we can pull off a Dark Blue win.

 

Matt Smith

26 Appearances, 7 Goals & 7 Assists – 2013/14

College: Linacre
Course: DPhil Chemical Biology
Position: Striker
Team Supported: Manchester United
Style of play in 5 words: Quick movement and throw balls
Career highlight to date: University of Bristol Varsity at Bristol Rovers ground.
Views on Varsity: The build up has been super exciting. We are going to score more than them. It really doesn’t matter who the opposition are, we are going to win.

 

Ben Szreter

10 Appearances – 2013/14

College: Wadham
Course:
History
Position:
Goalkeeper 
Team Supported:
West Brom
Style of play in 5 words:
Agile and intimidating shot stopper
Career highlight to date:
Playing for the Blues vs. Atletico Madrid U18’s
Views on Varsity:
I’m confident in our ability to handle the occasion better and play our style of football confidently and get a result!

 

Alex Tsaptsinos

16 Appearances & 2 Assists – 2013/14

College: Pembroke
Course: Mathematics
Position: Centre Midfield
Team Supported: Reading/AEK Athens
Style of play in 5 words: Small but battling, nippy and dedicated
Career highlight to date: Nutmegging Ezra
Views on Varsity: We won’t give them any ground, they won’t have the levels of commitment and teamwork we have.

BarryAidan Barry

26 Appearances & 1 Assist, 2013/14

College: St John’s
Course: Law
Position: Left Back

 

Brook Tozer

18 Appearances & 1 Goal – 2013/14

College: Wolfson
Course: PhD in Geophysics
Position: Centre Midfield

Mike Essman

24 Appearances, 8 Goals & 3 Assists – 2013/14

College: Pembroke
Course: Masters’ in Public Health
Position: Attacking Midfield Midfield

blues matt henderson (1)
0

RAF Defeated By Blues In Full Flight

Oxford 36 – 16 RAF
OURFC recording a convincing victory over the RAF at Iffley Road this week. For some time the RAF looked set to capitalise on a sluggish Oxford, quickly picking up a penalty three points from Andy Byrne. However, Oxford counterattacked with an impressive run from Matt Janney (Oriel) followed by an offload to Jacob Taylor (Keble) to finish between the posts, and summarily converting his own try. The Airmen followed close on the heels of the score with a penalty of their own from Bryne, which was left unanswered until near on half-time when OURFC demonstrated some classic close play from the forwards, with St. Peter’s Zandy Macdonald taking the ball at 8 from a well driven scrum and scoring, with Taylor again in good form for the conversion.
At the outset of the second half, the RAF were struggling under the weight of two yellow cards, and Oxford began to press the advantage. Scoring opened with Henry Hughes (Magdalen) at outside centre finishing up a good run of offloads through a disorganised defense, Taylor converting. Shortly thereafter Janney went over again through an increasingly haggard back line, Taylor continuing to keep the points topped up. Fresher Chris Williams (University) scored again for OURFC, followed by Taylor’s first failure to convert of the evening. As the binned men returned, the Servicemen rallied, with hooker St Philpott going over for a driven try at close range which remained unconverted. Both sides took this time to make some reshuffles, with OURFC bringing on hooker Alex Koo (St John’s), flanker Anthony Kalindjian (St Peter’s), flanker Harry Beale (Magdalen), winger Sam Dumigan (Pembroke) and flanker Jack Calvert (St Edmund Hall). With play drawing to a close, Dumigan, who made all told an excellent debut, threw a looping pass to Pietie Olivier (Keble) to finish in the corner. However, it would be the visiting side who would have the last laugh, with winger Toby Mann rounding off a solid run of phases with a try out wide.  
OURFC
0

4 in a row for brilliant Blues

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/

OURFC
0

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.

 

The Oxford Student

Oxford's Newspaper since 1991