Combined Services Men’s U23s ran out 17-14 winners over the Oxbridge Men’s U23’s side at Twickenham Stadium for their annual fixture as the curtain raiser to the Army vs Navy fixture on Saturday 5th May.
Both teams started strong in defence but errors in attack from both sides gifted possession back and forth. On the 20 min mark Oxbridge looked like they would put the first points on the board with some good handling skills ending in a break down the wing, only to be stopped in their tracks by a supreme individual effort from the CS full-back.
Finally a penalty against Oxbridge gave the services U23s the opportunity to kick and put the first points on the board in 27th minute. The game continued to swing back and forth until the 34th minute when Oxbridge put on a well worked backs move to go in for the first try from Cambridge wing Elliott Baines; the conversion attempt was good from Oxford fly-half Louis Pincott, making the score Services 3 Oxbridge 7 at the interval.
The second half kicked off and it looked to be Oxbridge’s day with some good work from the forwards ending in their second try from Oxford’s Tom Stileman playing in the centre with Pincott again converting putting Oxbridge 14 – 3 ahead. Oxbridge then started bringing on replacements to keep their momentum with the Services following suit. Oxbridge had some sustained pressure but aggressive defence from the Services team forced Oxbridge to make some silly mistakes.
In the 56th minute more changes for both teams happened, but as Oxbridge’s discipline seemed to drop the opposition forwards seemed to start clicking. Oxbridge struggled to contain the scrum forcing a poor kick from their scrum half which didn’t find touch but was gathered up by Services and put them straight on the attack. The forwards laid a good platform which allowed the backs to start working, putting the Combined Services in for their first try of the game in the 62nd minute; the conversion was also good narrowing the gap to just 4 points.
Starting to dominate the game at this point the Services fitness kicking in, allowing them to keep applying the pressure in the Oxbridge half. Oxbridge tried to get back into the game but pressure caused another poor kick to be put in which was easily gathered by the Services whose forwards began to get on a roll and easily powered out of their own half.
Finally the Oxbridge defence cracked and the Combined Services went in under the posts on the 71st minute. The conversion no problem pushing the into the lad by 3 points. Despite their best efforts Oxbridge did not have enough left in the tank leaving the finals score 17 points to 14 in favour of the Combined Services side.
Ben Parker (Ox), Abi Oswal (Ox), John Aaron Henry * (Ox), Ollie Adams * (Ox), Charlie Pozniak * (Ox), Sam Miller (Ox), Miles Huppatz * (Cam), Will Dean * (Cam), Tom Wilson (Cam), Jordan Ericksen (Cam), Oliver Smart (Cam), Stephen Leonard * (Cam), Buchan Richardson * (Cam)
Ed David * (Ox), Tom Stileman * (Ox), Seb Haddock (Ox), Henry Martin (Ox), Tom Kershaw * (Ox), Louis Pincott (Ox), Elliot Baines (Cam), Owen Perks (Cam), Dan Blick (Cam), Joe Story (Cam), Thomas Bewes (Cam) (travelling reserve)
The Varsity Match 2018 is set for Thursday 6 December with discounted Early Bird tickets from £20 adults and £10 students and juniors on sale now. Great value hospitality packages are also available from £170+VAT per person.