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Battle for the city. Blues vs Brookes

Blues 48 - 3 Brookes

Friday 16th February, Iffley Road played host to the Battle of the City. Two institutions lay claim to the city they call home, pink meets dark blue.


After the pre-match pleasantries had passed Archie King got the game under way, and under way it was. A handling error under the high ball afforded the Blues a series of attacking opportunities in the early minutes. A hard carry from Rozenbroek took the Blues into the opposition 22 before some slick hands allowed Skipworth to finish in the corner inside three minutes (5-0). The unnerving Brooke’s faithful, full of voice, willed the boys in pink onward. After the restart the opposition scrumhalf displayed some impressive footwork garnering much adulation from the away fans, before a midfield penalty was sent between the uprights to narrow the deficit, game on (5-3). Some ill discipline from the Blues, something of a theme throughout this fixture, meant that gameplay was well punctuated, with intermittent fast-paced rugby on display, however it wasn’t until a wayward Brookes box-kick followed by some quick hands allowed Wolfe to open up his lengthy stride and finish well in the left corner (10-3). The Blues began to build in confidence despite the best efforts of the travelling fans, when skipper Jack Glover put his money where his mouth is and carried for 30m from the base of the scrum, before a Brookes player was unlucky to be found guilty of deliberately knocking the ball on as Glover looked to find his support. With Brookes now down to 14 men, the Blues were able to capitalise on their numerical advantage and Dockery found himself crashing over the whitewash, an unfamiliar site to the Iffley Road regulars but one that was well received (15-3). The crowd could feel momentum swinging as Brookes looked to respond and minimise the damage on the scoreboard, but minutes later Ed Blake on a jaunt away from his native Forbidden Forest bulldozed his way over the line, successfully converted by King (22-3). Brookes were struggling to get a footing in the game and the Blues continued to look sharp in attack, adding two more tries before the half-time whistle blew, Glover scoring and then assisting (one for the highlight reel!), Wolfe the welcome beneficiary going over for his second of the evening (34-3). Continued ill-discipline from the Blues resulted in a one of their players seeing yellow on the cusp of half time.


Coming out of the sheds, it was unclear how the next 40 minutes would unfold, the Blues a man down, could Brookes find their groove and disrupt the home side’s rhythm? Brookes launched relentlessly, again and again and again, but could not find a way through nor around the Blues. The tempo of the match slowed significantly, the total penalty count well into double digits, the men in dark blue responsible for the vast majority of these. In stark contrast to the previous half, the game had devolved into a war of attrition, both sides struggling to get the edge on their counterparts. Fifteen minutes after the break, at last the deadlock was broken, the Blues forward pack combining nicely, sending that man Zenden over the try line (41-3). Both sides were beginning to tire, the benches were emptied going into the final 10 minutes, the coaching teams clearly trying to inject some energy into their respective teams. It proved invaluable for the dark blues as the forwards continue to do much of the heavy lifting and George Fowler crossed for the final try of the match (48-3).


Both teams fought until the end, and it was a highly entertaining fixture to spectate. The atmosphere was one of the best in recent memory at Iffley Road and we wish the best of luck to both sides with regard to their remaining fixtures.

By Tom Mewes

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