Victories for Keble and All Saints in Rugby Cuppers

Fraser Macdonald-Lister and Lucy Fenwick report on a dramatic day at Iffley

Photo: Hugh Cross

Keble and All Saints emerged victorious on Rugby Cuppers Finals Day, winning the Men’s and Women’s competitions respectively.

This was the third Men’s Cuppers final between Keble and Teddy Hall in five years, and Keble entered the tie as slight favourites after an unbeaten season. Despite a strong start from The Hall, Keble appeared the more threatening side. The set-pieces saw strong attacking ball retention, with Keble’s Oxbridge U23 James Calderwood facing Teddy Hall’s Oxford Blue Ed Hart in the front row.

The home side capitalised on this first—a dominant scrum saw Keble awarded the penalty try. As the first 40 minutes drew to a close, Teddy Hall made a fierce comeback. With brutal phase play dictated by scrum-half Seb Haddock, and cutting lines from centre Dan Barley, the Hall used long stints of possession to drive lock Charlie Allen over to score. Tom Dyer failed to convert: 7-5.

The Hall were notably energised by their score. Keble rucked ferociously to provide Oxford Blue Alex Hogg with quick ball, and lightning handling through centres Tommy Siman and Cameron Sellers saw winger Jake Cunningham sprint home to his fourth score against the Hall this season.

Leading 12-5, Keble built momentum, running hard against the Hall defence. A series of pick-and-go’s drove substitute Harry Donald over in the corner.

At 17-5, pressure mounted on the Hall. Keble shortly forced a penalty, and Will Wilson’s kick for goal sailed between the uprights. Teddy Hall made a valiant effort to recover, but despite Allen’s second try, the result was never in doubt: a 20-10 win meant Scott Geelan and Tom Hamilton lifted the cup and plaque respectively to the ecastic cheers of a raucous crowd.

The women’s final was an intensely fought match between All Saints and CLOMP. The first try was scored in the first half by All Saints captain, Jenny Smith, who risked getting concussion before her finals to play one last game at Oxford. She rose to the occasion of her last match to score her first try following Katarina Martinovic’s perfectly timed offload.

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The scorer of the CLOMP try was Heather McDade who had an exceptional debut match. As neither try was converted, full-time brought a 5-5 tie and a sudden death finish.

An All Saints turnover saw their number nine, Isa Cooper, power through five CLOMP defenders to score an absolutely brilliant try: she justly won player of the match, and earned her side the trophy.