RUGBY LEAGUE VARSITY MATCH
by DAVE STOCKDALE, Cambridge, Friday 18th June 2021
The Light Blues ended a sequence of eleven successive defeats in the Varsity Match, thanks largely to strong defence throughout – and particularly in the closing nine minutes, when the Dark Blues enjoyed a one-man advantage following the sin binning of James Mahon for a high tackle.
Cambridge were ten points ahead when Mahon received his yellow card, and the pressure increased on the Light Blues when Lewis Sutton, the Dark Blues’ best player, crossed on 76 minutes for Oxford.
But the home side showed tremendous resolve to keep the visitors at bay for the remainder of the contest – motivated in part, no doubt, by the desire to end a drought that had lasted a decade and more.
Victory was thoroughly deserved in a match made even more notable for the fact that brothers Hugo Lloyd Williams and Jamie Lloyd Williams were on opposing sides, with prop Hugo picking up the man of the match award for the mighty manner in which he, together with his big pack, spearheaded Cambridge to victory.
There was another diverting cameo in that Barrow & District League club Dalton also had a player in each camp, with stand-off Elliott Stockdale shining for the Light Blues and scrum-half Jack Gordon similarly impressing for Oxford, who went in front on eleven minutes with a Logan Stewart try.
Cambridge, however, were inspired rather than inhibited by that score and responded with quick touchdowns by the 21st minute by James Laudage and Joe Thrush.
The Light Blues extended their 8-4 interval lead with a Matt West penalty on 56 minutes after Oxford had been sanctioned for a dump tackle. And a try for Will Yarwood as the game entered the final quarter proved to be enough to secure victory before a capacity crowd of, in the main, Cambridge supporters.
Oxford, meanwhile, had won the game between the clubs’ second teams 14-6.
GAMESTAR: Cambridge’s powerhouse prop Hugo Lloyd Williams, who led from the front on a historic day for the Light Blues.
GAMEBREAKER: Twelve-man Cambridge’s terrific defence in the last nine minutes limited Oxford to only one try, thereby earning a memorable victory.
CAMBRIDGE: 1 Ross McGinn, 2 Ted Chatfield, 3 Reuben Brown, 4 James Laudage, 5 Joe Thrush, 6 Elliott Stockdale, 7 James Mahon, 8 Alex Froud, 9 Richard Bowen, 10 Hugo Lloyd Williams, 11 Will Scrivens, 12 Matt West, 13 Max Holcroft; Subs: 14 Will Yarwood, 15 Rhys Mould, 16 Ben Schallamach, 17 Todd Tunley
Tries: Laudage (16), Thrush (21), Yarwood (61); Goal: West
Sin bin: Mahon (71) – high tackle
OXFORD: 1 Josh Abbas, 2 Logan Stewart, 3 Dan Cotton, 4 Hunter Heenan-Jalil, 5 Harry Folkard, 6 Charlie Hewes, 7 Jack Gordon, 8 Will Osborne, 9 Jaiden Reeder, 10 Ryan Parry, 11 Lewis Sutton, 12 Lewis Greenan-Barret, 13 Rufus Pierce-Jones; Subs: 14 Archie Baraclough, 15 Jamie Lloyd Williams, 16 Jack Wilson, 17 Leo Langridge
Tries: Stewart (11), Sutton (76)
Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
Cambridge: Hugo Lloyd Williams; Oxford: Lewis Sutton
Half-time: 8-4; Referee: Andrew Quirk
SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-4, 4-4, 8-4; 10-4, 14-4, 14-8
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