November 23, 2005
Australian Rules Football Varsity Match 2005-6
** Oxford Wins Australian Rules Football Varsity Match **
Oxford 14.15 (99) d. Cambridge 3.4 (22)
1st 5.4 (34) 1.0 (6)
2nd 3.5 (23) 0.1 (1)
3rd 2.2 (14) 2.3 (15)
4th 4.4 (28) 0.0 (0)
Goals: Allender 3, Alexander 2, Bowden 2, Walter 2, Callaghan 2, Knezevic 1, Hazari 1, Archibald 1.
On Saturday 19th November a horde of pretenders descended upon the oxen ford, carrying with them a chalice that was not rightfully theirs. Clad in dainty powder blue and intent on retaining the sacred silverware, they did battle with a band of brothers whose exploits make me prouder by the day. The boys in (real) blue proved their mettle, stepping up to the challenge not just with superb endeavour and skilful footy, but as a real team. The match that was…
Oxford got the early jump with Ted and Rory dominating up forward. The question that will never be answered is how many goals Ted would have kicked had he not dislocated his finger. Like any full-forward worth his white boots, Ted reckons it would have been a swagful. Actually my money is on a couple of swagfuls. He was backed up by Ross’s solid efforts in the pocket, providing the perfect second option on the full-forward line. This was one of many examples of inspired coaching this year.
As the first half went on Dave just kept racking up the marks (lost count of how many but must have been double figures by game’s end), repeatedly coming down from a packed contest holding the sherrin in his two hands. Meanwhile in defence, the Tab centre half back must have thoroughly hated being tagged by Dales, he couldn’t even get close to the ball. And when they tried to bomb it to the goal square JP made damn sure it didn’t get any further. Solid stuff, and it was looking like a blow-out at the long break.
But then Cambridge won the third quarter. This could be seen as a poor effort on our behalf, but I prefer to think of it as evidence that our opposition were not hopeless, instead they strung together some good runs of precision footy and so it is all the more satisfying that we were able to regain composure and hold them scoreless for the entire last quarter. The second half also saw club stalwart Rich Callaghan, appearing in his 13th varsity match, play his heart out on the wing (inspired coaching again) and form one of the links in the ‘play of the week’ that saw the ball go from full back to a goal in 4 straight kicks. Then there was the phenomenal display Ed put on in the final quarter.
One of the best things about a match like Saturday’s is seeing every single player going in hard and doing their job. There were some stand-out performances on the day, although above them all stands the stunning game of footy Steve Allender turned in. It is true to say that he was everywhere, somehow always at the fall of the ball and invariably making good use of it. Although it must be pretty grim being a Tab at any time, when varsity comes around Steve repeatedly makes sure it really really sucks.
Best on ground:
Allender (3 votes), Knezevic (2), Daley (1)
Bowden, Pickhaver, Clark, Walter, Hughes, Jones, Callaghan, Pratt, Rimmer
Best first year player – Bowden
Best first game player – Rendel
Moment of the day – the goal scoring debut of Nilay Hazari, player-coach and the heart of this team.