Cambridge draw thrilling Varsity American Football

Ollie Guest 8 May 2012

Crushing tackling and fantastic running from both sides resulted in a 14-14 tie during this weekend’s Varsity American Football. With the teams inseparable for much of the match it appeared that the result would swing depending on the influence of either side’s star player.

As it was neither the rapid footwork of Cambridge’s Nick Roope nor the menacing aggression of Oxford’s ferocious Chase Campbell were able to inspire their side to earn a last gasp win. In truth, a draw was a fair reflection on a tightly contested affair.

Neither team were able to make the breakthrough in the battle opening quarter. As each side sought to earn territory in midfield a particularly powerful Cambridge defence move resulted in what at first appeared a broken leg for Oxford’s Pease. AS it turned out it was only a severely sprained ankle but he was unable to take part in any of the remainder of the match.

Eventually the Dark Blues found a way through the Cambridge tackling as Chase Campbell powered to a touchdown. When two points were added from the field goal they sought to expand on their 7-0 lead.

However the Light Blues struck back after some dazzling footwork from Nick Roope enabled him to skip through a series of challenges and burst away to a glorious touchdown. Cambridge were awarded for their adventurous attitude when they chose the riskier option of going for another touchdown rather that the field goal attempt. Jack Travener managed to get over the line to edge the home side into a narrow 8-7 lead.

Despite some tremendous tackling from Guy Peters and Tom Piachaud, the Pythons found themselves behind at the interval when Oxford’s man mountain, Campbell, once more showed his brutal ability with another touchdown. Oxford again chose to kick, securing a 14-8 lead at the break.

Cambridge were energised after the lengthy break and thought they had equalised when Roope wowed the crowd with his footwork. Yet the umpires ruled out the touchdown for an illegal block; as with many of the calls through the day the Pythons were unimpressed with the officials’ view of events.

However, the Pythons refused to be denied and it was to be Sebastian Funk who was their saviour as he scored the team’s second touchdown. This levelled the scores to 14-14. Once more Cambridge chose not to kick but this time their effort at another touchdown was thwarted; given the final result the team may perhaps wonder whether it would have been better to take the easier field goal opportunity.

With both sides level pegging entering the final quarter the rivals strove to find a winning moment. Oxford’s Campbell and Cambridge’s Roope were closely watched by the opposition defences having demonstrated their ability to wreak havoc when given the chance.

But as it was neither side was to be able to find a winner and, without any extra time being played, the game ended in an honourable draw. Both outfits may feel they had chances to win it yet neither could be disappointed with the eventual outcome after a fiercely competitive dual.

Ollie Guest