Mixed fortunes for Oxford in rugby varsity

The women's team won their match early in the day while the men's team suffered an agonising defeat

Photo: @VarsityMatch on Twitter

Oxford University Rugby Football Club’s Women’s team triumphed over Cambridge, while the men were defeated by the light blues.

The day at Twickenham Stadium, London, began with Oxford edging out Cambridge 3-0 in the 30th Women’s Varsity Match.

The result marks a turnaround from last year, when Cambridge resoundingly beat Oxford 52-0.

The only points on the board came at the fifteen-minute mark, with Blues captain and Wadham historian Catherine Wilcock notching three points from a penalty.

During the remainder of the first half, Oxford briefly went down to 13 players. The second half of the match saw Cambridge consistently unable to break down the Oxford defence despite seeing more of the ball.

Wadham Chemistry student Sophie Trott was named BBC’s player of the match in a win which totals Oxford Women’s nineteenth Varsity victory.

Nicole Lester, MSc student in Applied Statistics at Brasenose who was in attendance at Twickenham, commented, “The women’s match was great fun—pity that the support for them wasn’t as good as for the men’s side. Both teams were really good—I would say Cambridge were the better attacking side, but Oxford’s strong defence pulled through! The woman of the match was really well deserved, and congrats to her and the Oxford team!”

However, the men’s team were on the end of a 23-18 defeat to Cambridge in front of a crowd of 23,087 at the 135th Men’s Varsity Match.

After missing his first penalty of the day, Oxford fly-half Basil Strang opened the scoring by sending home his second, giving Oxford, the defending champions, the lead.

The dark blues dominated the game immediately following Strang’s penalty, but two minutes before the end of the first half, Cambridge scored and converted the first try of the match to lead 7-3 at half time.

Oxford’s Strang notched some more points from another penalty just after the break, followed up five minutes later by a Cambridge penalty to make it 10-6 to the light blues. Oxford then conceded a penalty by Fraser Gillies.

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18 minutes before the end of the match, Henry Hughes won a try for Oxford. Cambridge reasserted their lead and Gillies at first misfired a penalty attempt, before later scoring to make it 16-13.

With eight minutes left to play, Oxford missed a kick for goal. Cambridge’s Rory Triniman turned home a try which Gillies skilfully converted to make it 23-13.

Oxford tried to fight back in the last moments of the match through Ed Davies’ try. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 23-18 to Cambridge as the final whistle blew.

Second-year English student Ewan Davis described the late fightback as “heartbreaking”. He added, “Although close at points with a few strong performances, it was, ultimately, a disappointing game.”

Oscar Davies, an Earth Sciences student at St Anne’s, also in his second year, described Twickenham as having “an air of disappointment in the stadium, but a good game nonetheless.”

The result marks the women’s team’s first victory in this fixture since 2014, while the Cambridge men’s team celebrate breaking their drought of being without a win since 2010.