12th December 2006
Oxford 6 Cambridge 15
Cambridge got the better of Oxford for the second successive year at Twickenham today to win the 125th Varsity match, sponsored by Lehman Brothers.
In front of a healthy crowd of 41,000 a penalty try converted by Jon Ufton, a penalty kicked by Dave Tibbott and skipper John Blaikie's last ditch touchdown sealed victory to take their number of wins to 59 over the Dark Blues of Oxford with 52.
Cambridge always had the upper hand thanks to their forwards who dominated the scrums and line-outs and were all too often quicker to the breakdown.
And the Light Blues could have won by more had fly half Ufton brought his kicking boots with him.
Two opening penalty shots missed their target before he finally converted his sides penalty try after 17 minutes when Oxford flanker Doug Abbott picked the ball out of the scrum as Cambridge drove to within a yard or so of the Oxford line.
But, while Oxford hit back with two penalties from Craig McMahon to narrow the gap to a point, 7-6, prop Oli Tomaszczyk got on the wrong side of a ruck bang on half-time for Tibbott to knock over for a 10-6 lead at the break.
Oxford's ability to create too many unforced errors continued into the second-half breaking up their rhythm and patterns and even veteran Australian centre Joe Roff could not make much of an impact on the lively Cambridge defence.
Tibbott missed a simple chance of three points early in the second-half but dominant Cambridge finally made sure of victory three minutes from time when from a penalty kick to the corner their forwards drove to the line for skipper Blaikie to get the final touchdown at the bottom of the ruck.
Blaikie commented afterwards: "To the purist maybe it wasn't much of a spectacle but these games are always quite tight.
"Obviously we recognised our strengths were in our pack but for 30 minutes there in the second half we just didn't have the ball and I think it was the way we defended and our scrambled defence that gave us the game."
And, Oxford captain Kevin Brennan commented: "We kept possession pretty well but ultimately you've got to finish the opportunities you create and unfortunately today there were a couple of opportunities that we had, the ball was spilled or the pass wasn't as precise as it needed to be and that really was the difference."
Roff said afterwards: "It was one of the most special games of my life but also one of the most disappointing, but the experience was absolutely incredible.
"I found it to be very similar to some of the big finals I've played in. There's something about that final feeling that's very different."
OXFORD: Mahony; Boto, Roff, O'Connor, Tombleson; McMahon, Brennan(c); Tomaszczyk, Cowie, Matthews; Chance, Alexander; Abbott, Palm, Jones. Reps - Rosen, McGillion, Graham, Du Toit, Jenkins, Bucknall, Catling.
CAMBRIDGE: Murray; Stewart, Ansbro, Thomas, Tibbott; Ufton, Blake; Schwikkard, Clark, Dawson; Blaikie, Harfoot; Johnson, O'Brien, Andrews. Reps - Woolsey, Fitzpatrick, Boynton, Bartholomew, Malaney, Evans, Lewis, Bartholomew.
Ref: David Rose