Women's Blues v UWE:
Very well done to a victorious women's Blues squad, on the road against UWE. The match started very tight, with the Blues scoring 3 tries to UWE's 2 in the first half, which, thanks to the strength, fitness, and handling skills of the Blues led to a very dominant 50-24 victory by the end. The Blues scored 8 tries, including a penalty try by captain Sophie Shams at 57 minutes, with 4 conversions by fly-half Stella Farmer. Standouts included the front row, in particular coaches' player of the match Zed Nott who played the full 80 minutes and scored a runaway try off a line break by dominant prop Tolu Duckworth at 41 minutes. Continuing their outstanding Blues careers to date, Sophie Shams, Alex Wilkinson, and Lauren Webb also had a great match, creating a unified and technically impressive base off which the team built. We also saw a notable contribution from new Blue, Olivia Brown, making her mark at prop, and from new-ish Blues Polly Brown and Beth Thomas, all of whom have a promising season ahead of them. Congratulations also to Lilla Berry, for whom this was her first match back after a long break due to injury, which was well celebrated by a try from her at 63 minutes.
The women's team sped back to Iffley Road, just in time for kickoff at the men's game.
Men’s Blues vs Harlequins
The University of Oxford Men’s Blues took on the Premiership Champions, Harlequins this past Wednesday. A physical match through-and-through, the Harlequins emerged victorious with a score of 43-7 led by former Blues Captain, Tom Osborne. The conditions at Iffley Road were perfect for winter rugby: a weekly low of six degrees, artic showers of rain, a slip’n’slide of a mud-bath pitch, and 1,500 spectators in attendance. Every aspect of the game was a dog fight for the boys in blue, who were competing with a fully professional side in their first game of the season. After an early Quins try, Oxford found itself eight meters away from the line in a maul, though the ball was lost due to a cheeky jackal. As the score line began to tip in favour of Quins, frustration mounted in the Oxford team, which soon led to a penalty try along with 10 minutes in the sin bin for winger, Tom Mewes after a slap down. Otherwise, Luke Wyllie won two turnovers with his aggressive jackaling, and Sam Reynolds, formerly a fullback but now playing in the outside center, made quite a few friends in the breakdown as well, collecting a jackal for himself. The Blues entered the changing rooms at halftime down 26-0.
The second half witnessed some scathing hits right off the bat from the Blues, particularly from the St Hildas’ 6 and 7 combo of George Fowler and Zenden Rozenbroek looking to set the tone right away. The Quins scored a pair of tries: a crisp chip’n’chase off a five-meter scrums and the Quins’ 13’s corner touch down after a long break, bringing the score to 43 to nil at 54 minutes. At around 60 minutes, Oxford brought in some substitutes with Vasco Faria, who had been playing wing, coming into his familiar scrumhalf position, and Paddy Mayhew slotting in at fullback for his debut. Elated by more of his friends entering the pitch, Archie King decided to impress everyone with a beautiful 50-22 just three meters from the Quins goal line. With everyone in the crowd biting their nails, Oxford wanted to play some rugby and threw in eight men at the lineout. The Oxford forwards formed into a maul with Harry Scoble at the back, rousing his soldiers forward. Wyllie and Reynolds soon hopped in and fulfilling everyone’s dreams (but the Harlequins’ bench), Harry Scoble touched down for the first Oxford try at 69 minutes. Archie King then slotted the conversion to make the score 43-7. The score would remain the same throughout the final ten minutes with many of the boys off the bench, keen in on the action.
A tough first encounter for the Dark Blue against a strong Harlequins team but with a lot learnt they now look forward to their clash against Crayshaw’s on 1st November back at Iffley Road.
By Griffin Gudaitis
Ticket link for Crawshays: https://www.tixtu.com/t/event/ourfc/mens-blues-v-crawshays-011123