Tue 4 Dec 2018 | 09:59

The Varsity Match Beckons

The Varsity Match Beckons
Tue 4 Dec 2018 | 09:59
The Varsity Match Beckons
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One of the oldest rugby matches takes place on Thursday, 6 December 2018, the first Thursday of December. That is the day that Oxford and Cambridge meet on the rugby field as they did for the first time on 10 February 1872 when Oxford won by a goal to nil.

That was 11 months after the very first Test match was played, England vs Scotland at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh when Scotland won by a goal and a try to a goal.

This match will be played at Twickenham, as it has been since 1921. The first match was played at The Park in Oxford, 28 years before Twickenham came into use and in this years played at several places.

Being an ancient and traditional fixture between two ancient and traditional universities, changes have been few.

The first change, in 1875, was to the number of players in each team. When Scotland played England in 1871, there were 20 players in each side, as they were when Oxford and Cambridge met in 1872. In 1875 the match became 15-a-side, though with the squads and substitutions of today that means 15-a-side on the field though a team is made up of 23 players.

It’s the happy time of Advent and Christendom prepares for the joy of Christmas. In Advent, too, as if a part of Christmas festivities, Oxford plays Cambridge, a happy time when students of all ages frock to Twickenham, for on this day old men become students again as old friends gather in the West Stand car park where there are hampers with champers from Fortnum & Mason.

For years it was played on the second Tuesday of the month, but since 2013 it has been on the first Thursday.

It is a game which seems to made light of the burden of professionalism. Not even sponsorship and a trophy are obtrusive.

Officiating has changed. Once upon a time there was a referee, there by invitation, and a touch judge provided by each side, usually the previous year’s captain. Now there are assistant referees and a TMO, two referees to check things like replacements and time for sin bin, blood and head injury assessment, plus an official timekeeper.

The referee this year is Welshman Nigel Owens who has refereed more Test matches than anybody else in the history of the game.

And there are two matches at Twickenham itself – a match for men and a match for women.

It is a day to enjoy, perhaps rugby football’s biggest social occasion.

Teams

Oxford: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Dan Barley, 13 Conor Kearns, 12 Dom Waldouck (captain), 11 Tom Stileman, 10 Tom Humberstone, 9 George Tresidder, 8 Sven Kerneis, 7 Sam Miller, 6 Charlie Pozniak, 5 George Robson, 4 Jasper Dix, 3 Joe Morris, 2 John Aaron Henry, 1 Ben Parker
Replacements: 16 Josh Navarajasegaran, 17 Conor Hennessy, 18 Alasdair King, 19 George Warr, 20 Ryan Jones, 21 Dylan McGagh, 22 Louis Jackson, 23 Henry Martin.

Cambridge: 15 Joey Gatus, 14 Elliott Baines, 13 Henry King, 12 Jake Hennessey,11 Joe Story, 10 Mike Phillips, 9 Chris Bell, 8 Nick Koster (captain), 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Stephen Leonard, 5 Andrew Hunter, 4 Jordan Eriksen, 3 William John Dean, 2 Miles Huppatz, 1 Charlie MacCallum
Replacements: 16 Sam Schusman, 17 Henry Somers, 18 Jonathan Dixon, 19 Rowan Beckett, 20 Olly Smart, 21 Charlie Saunders, 22 Oliver Gnodde

Referee: Nigel Owens [Wales]
Assistant referees: Clare Daniels, Gregory Garner
Television match official: Keith Mark Lewis
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw

Winners Down the Years

1872: Oxford
1873: Cambridge
1873: Draw
1874: Draw
1875: Oxford
1876: Cambridge
1877: Oxford
1879: Draw
1880: Cambridge
1880: Draw
1881: Oxford
1882: Oxford
1883: Oxford
1884: Oxford
1885: Cambridge
1886: Cambridge
1887: Cambridge
1888: Cambridge
1889: Oxford
1890: Draw
1891: Cambridge
1892: Draw
1893: Oxford
1894: Draw
1895: Cambridge
1896: Oxford
1897: Oxford
1898: Cambridge
1899: Cambridge
1900: Oxford
1901: Oxford
1902: Draw
1903: Oxford
1904: Cambridge
1905: Cambridge
1906: Oxford
1907: Oxford
1908: Draw
1909: Oxford
1910: Oxford
1911: Oxford
1912: Cambridge
1913: Cambridge
1914-18: No matches
1919: Cambridge
1920: Oxford
1921: Oxford
1922: Cambridge
1923: Oxford
1924: Oxford
1925: Cambridge
1926: Cambridge
1927: Cambridge
1928: Cambridge
1929: Oxford
1930: Draw
1931: Oxford
1932: Oxford
1933: Oxford
1934: Cambridge
1935: Draw
1936: Cambridge
1937: Oxford
1938: Cambridge
1939-45: No matches
1946: Oxford
1947: Cambridge
1948: Oxford
1949: Oxford
1950: Oxford
1951: Oxford
1952: Cambridge
1953: Draw
1954: Cambridge
1955: Oxford
1956: Cambridge
1957: Oxford
1958: Cambridge
1959: Oxford
1960: Cambridge
1961: Cambridge
1962: Cambridge
1963: Cambridge
1964: Oxford
1965: Draw
1966: Oxford
1967: Cambridge
1968: Cambridge
1969: Oxford
1970: Oxford
1971: Oxford
1972: Cambridge
1973: Cambridge
1974: Cambridge
1975: Cambridge
1976: Cambridge
1977: Oxford
1978: Cambridge
1979: Oxford
1980: Cambridge
1981: Cambridge
1982: Cambridge
1983: Cambridge
1984: Cambridge
1985: Oxford
1986: Oxford
1987: Cambridge
1988: Oxford
1989: Cambridge
1990: Oxford
1991: Cambridge
1992: Cambridge
1993: Oxford
1994: Cambridge
1995: Cambridge
1996: Cambridge
1997: Cambridge
1998: Cambridge
1999: Oxford
2000: Oxford
2001: Oxford
2002: Cambridge
2003: Draw
2004: Oxford
2005: Cambridge
2006: Cambridge
2007: Cambridge
2008: Oxford
2009: Cambridge
2010: Oxford
2011: Oxford
2012: Oxford
2013: Oxford
2014: Oxford
2015: Oxford
2016: Cambridge
2017: Cambridge

So far 136 matches have been played
Cambridge has won 63
Oxford has won 59
14 matches have been drawn
Cambridge have scored 1247 points
Oxford have scored 1212 points.

Oxford’s six successive wins is a record.
Oxford’s 43-6 win in 2015 is the biggest ever.

PV: 247


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