Oxford fight back to defeat Cambridge

06th Dec 2012, 16:10

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First try: Andy Murdoch

First try: Andy Murdoch

Oxford made it a hat-trick of Varsity Match wins over rivals Cambridge thanks to three second-half tries to win 26-19 at Twickenham.

Oxford made it a hat-trick of Varsity Match wins over rivals Cambridge thanks to second-half tries from Sam Egerton, James Harris and Charlie Marr to win 26-19.

Cambridge opened up an early lead thanks to two penalties from fly-half Rob Stephen in the opening ten minutes, with Oxford fly-half Cassian Bramham Law missing his first shot at goal wide of the posts.

The Light Blues dominated the opening quarter through the power of their pack, Stephen adding another penalty to stretch the lead to nine.

Oxford then lost influential captain John Carter to injury as Bramham Law converted his first penalty of the afternoon.

A break from winger Oscar Vallance then swung momentum back in Oxford's favour, finding their way to the Cambridge line and forcing Cambridge offside, Bramham Law closing the gap to just three points.

Both sides struggled to create any try-scoring opportunities until sharp hands from Hugo Kelly and Stephen released Andy Murdoch down the right win for the game's first try just before half-time, Stephen converting to leave the score at 6-16 going into half-time.

Stephen continued his good form with the boot with another penalty after the break, but it was Oxford who grabbed the opening try of the half after good work from their forward pack. The ball went wide to full-back Samson Egerton, who span out of tackle and raced over the try line.

The momentum tipped back towards the Dark Blues after stand-in captain James Harris went over in the left-hand corner following a wide pass from replacement Charlie Marr, closing the gap to just three points.

A fine break from Oxford full-back Egerton through a half-gap drew the Cambridge full-back, with Marr running a support line to put Oxford ahead for the first time, Marr then converting to leave the scores at 23-19.

Cambridge though refused to lie down, a driving maul from a lineout taking the inches away from the Oxford try-line, but a breakdown in possession led to Bramham Law racing down the pitch for what looked like the winning score, only to be denied by a desperate tackle from winger Will Smith.

Marr then converted a penalty kick to stretch the lead to seven points with time ticking away. Cambridge attempted to respond but were beaten by the clock, with Oxford winning the Varsity Match for the third years in a row.

The scorers:

For Oxford:
Tries: Egerton, Harris, Marr
Con: Marr
Pen: Bramham Law 2, Marr

For Cambridge:
Try: Murdoch
Con: Stephen
Pen: Stephen 4

The teams:

Oxford: 15 Samson Egerton, 14 Henry Lamont, 13 Cassian Bramham Law, 12 Gav Turner, 11 Oscar Vallance, 10 Jonathan Hudson, 9 Stuart Commins, 8 John Carter (c), 7 James Harris, 6 Alex Waddingham, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Jason Law, 3 Bob Baker, 2 Nick Gardner, 1 Lewis Anderson.
Replacements: 16 James Wisson, 17 Jon Direen, 18 Michael Rickner, 19 Gus Jones, 20 Charlie Marr, 21 Heewon Cho, 22 Henry Hughes, 23 Dugald Macdonald.

Cambridge: 15 Rob Stephen, 14 Andy Murdoch, 13 Danny Holmes, 12 Dugal Bain, 11 Will Smith, 10 Andrew Abraham, 9 Seb Tullie, 8 Matt Steele, 7 Hugo Kelly, 6 Rob Malaney (c), 5 Scott Annett, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Stu Brown, 2 Paul Mallaband,1 Will Briggs.
Replacements: 16 Rupert Cowan, 17 Nick Marshall, 18 Frank Sanders, 19 Max Mather, 20 Ollie Wolfe, 21 Kristian Cook, 22 Ilia Cherezov, 23 Kieran Hegarty.

Referee: Tim WigglesworthWigglesworth