Cambridge men’s victory in Varsity rugby match

Will Tilbrook 8 December 2016

Cambridge’s men’s rugby squad has beaten Oxford for the first time in seven years in today’s 135th Varsity Match held at Twickenham with the final score 23–18.

A last-minute try by Mike Phillips, which was converted by Fraser Gillies, gave the Light Blues the advantage at the halfway mark 7–3, and this was replicated in the second half with Rory Triniman’s late try which pushed Cambridge to victory.

Superb kicks from Gillies contributed to the final score, with three successful penalty kicks, and both tries converted.

Oxford scored an early penalty, courtesy of Basil Strang, which put them ahead 3–0; however, the Cambridge defence were resolute and held out until the end. Henry Hughes took advantage of a strong Oxford lineout to score a try at 62 minutes, and Ed David narrowed the gap between the two teams at the 77th minute with a try which was unconverted.

It was the first time that Cambridge had scored a try in the fixture since 2013. They had lost to Oxford 12–6 in last year’s match, and 43–6 in 2014.

There was disappointment for the women’s team however, who lost their match 3-0 to Oxford. Despite their convincing win last year (52–0), this year’s match was won by the Other team with the winning penalty taken by Captain Catherine Wilcox in the 15th minute.

Strong-willed attacks, especially from Cambridge's Alice Middleton (Captain) and Jess Charlton, made for tense watching at the stadium right until the end of the match, but there was no success for the Light Blues seeking a winning try – tackles from Oxford’s Sophie Trott continued to halt Cambridge’s progress.

Trott was awarded the inaugural Bunting-Peggers medal for player of the match.

Cambridge’s men's team has won the match 62 times to Oxford’s 59 times, and the match has been drawn 14 times since its inception in 1872.