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Greyhounds Varsity vs Cambridge LX Club

Oxford Greyhounds 18 - 26 Cambridge LX Club

Saturday saw the culmination of the two terms of grind for the Greyhounds XV: travelling away to Grange Road in Cambridge for our Varsity match. After an early start and team photos, the boys arrived in that hovel and promptly went for some flat whites, trying to relax while the Whips warmed up. After clapping them out and watching the first half, we dialled in. Harry Pratt and Zenden Rozenbroek each gave a rousing speech before shirt presentation, and then we warmed up and kicked off.

From the off, it was clear this would be a hard-fought battle. We carried hard, had quick ball and were dominating at the breakdown, but neither team could get any fluidity; penalty after penalty was conceded and won, pinged by a referee who was trying to stamp his authority on the game from the start. The Dogs won a penalty within kicking distance and Ben Scher stepped up and slotted it. 3-0. The Tabs struck back with a penalty to level it to 3-3.

The animosity between the two sides was tangible. Team yellows started flying for both teams due to the string of penalties. Both sides kicked another penalty to make it 6-6. Then, in a series of a bizarre events, the Hounds, expecting a penalty try and for the Tabs to get a yellow after collapsing a maul five metres out, got a red card on the verge of half-time, leaving a 14-men side to attack the second half.

The Hounds battled on into the second half, but the Tabs capitalised on their extra man, scoring two tried and converting one of them. However, the Hounds have that dawg in them – despite more stop/start plays and aggressive attritional rugby, Matt Wall eventually managed to crashed over the line after some awesome work from both the forwards and the backs to make it 11-18.

The intensity increased; the lineout was flying up, the back line blitzed ferociously in defence, but unfortunately, the Tabs used their overlap to strike again, making it 11-23. But Doggie heads never drop and after some lovely territorial rugby, Paddy Mayhew went over for the Hounds’ second try to bring the lads within a score at 18-23. Unfortunately, the clock was nearing red at this point, and despite valiant efforts by every man on the side, the match ended after a Cambridge penalty, with the score being 18-26.

Devastated yet proud of the performance we put on, the Hounds can hold their heads high – it was one of those games that, on another day could have gone either way. In classic Dogs fashion, festivities commenced on the bus, continued in the pav and concluded in Park End. Despite not getting the result we were looking for, this has been an immense season for the Hounds – bring on Saturday at StoneX and bring on next year!

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