AFL : There is an Australian Rules Football club in Oxford. The Oxford-Cambridge varsity game is held each year, alternating venues between Oxford and Cambridge. We also play Varsity Netball matches on the same day.

Varisty Netball Match Report 2012

We couldn't even keep the sun away as the two OUANZ netball teams took on CUANZ in Oxford this Saturday the 11th of March. Anticipation had been building through the four weeks of training after a not so successful year before. 2012 was clearly a new story - this year being the first time both mixed and women's teams played and OUANZ stole victory in both 22-0 (Mixed), 26-1 (Women's).

The OUANZ squad included: Elise Klein (Captain), Rhea Longley (Vice Captain), Anthea Lindquist, Claire Palmer, Liz Murray, Hannah Wills, Laura Hilly, Nina Hood, Nicola Leslie, Nicole Urban, Alisa Selimovic, Hugo Batten, Brett Tully, Dave Llewellyn, Grey Johnson Christian Thompson and Ash Mangano.

A huge thank you to the CUANZ teams and all who turned up to support us!

92nd Varsity AFL: Oxford completes another tab thumping

Trav McLeod has shrugged off a back injury and a Congo line of Tab taggers to lead his side to a 29 point victory in the 92nd varsity match. Playing in his fifth and final varsity game, the former captain started in a forward pocket, but then drifted into his customary midfield role and was often seen dropping back in defence to take relieve pressure with crucial marks. He was ably assisted by Buckets Wolgomot, who had 30 hitouts and 12 contested marks, and Tim Cole, who picked up a lazy 30 possessions to be one of Oxford’s best.

Prior to the match, Nik Kirby's coaching panel had put the Oxford lads through a grueling pre-season, including the extraordinary policy of doubling the one-lap warm-up. "Your body is a temple", Kirby would tell his men over a few beers at the KA, "worship it".

After a thorough pre-match briefing from the umpires, complete with PowerPoint slides and revision notes, Phil Clark started in the ruck and, for the eleventh year in succession, won the first hitout. But while Clark got the first tap, it was Grey Johnston who got the first Tab, crunching him in a bone-jarring tackle. With the match less than one minute old, Lyle Murray was called into the game, not for his football skills, but his medical training. The South African doctor gave the Tab the all clear to continue, but his opinion was ignored by his opposite number, who considered the John Radcliffe a more appropriate venue for a man with broken ribs.

With the majority of the quarter spent providing medical attention to Johnston's victims, little time was left on the clock for the Dark Blues to smash the Tabs on the scoreboard. Sam Power put his head over the footy to win a free kick before kicking truly from 35 metres out, then Oxford won it straight out of the centre down to Will Osborn at full forward, who kicked a superb snap on his right to give Oxford a 14-point lead at quarter time.

At the break, Coach Stranks looked relaxed, though nobody was sure whether this was because of the scoreboard, his pre-game massage, or the fact that Lionel Nichols was now on the bench.

Oxford continued to dominate in the early part of the second term. Clark was shifted to full-forward, and Wolgomot into the ruck, where he consistently provided first use of the Sherrin to Cole, Dru Horsewood and Trav McLeod in the centre square. Dan Norman ran his guts out on the half forward flank to always provide options for his teammates and set up many of Oxford's goals. Ed Batrouney took a terrific contested mark and duly converted, and when Aiden Doherty and Sam Power split the big sticks, Oxford had kicked the first five goals and established a match-winning lead.

Oxford's momentum was halted in the third quarter, however, as a result of kicking into a stiff breeze. The Oxford defence was tested but never really threatened, thanks largely to full-back Genie Duff, who was one of Oxford's best on the day. Terrific rebound was provided by Sebastian Hartford-Davis and Hugh Atkin, while Johnston provided a solid target when he wasn't thumping Tabs. Meanwhile, centre-half-back Matt McGilvray had his hands full with Cambridge's giant forward and only avenue to goal. This one-on-one battle became a war of attrition and was ultimately won by the player with the superior fitness, as a third goal was kicked by the 42-year-old.

With Oxford holding a commanding 32-point lead at three-quarter time and kicking with the wind, it was time for some party tricks in the final quarter. McGilvray took a couple of customary hangers in defence, while Alex Shabala stood tall on the wing to take what he later claimed to be the first contested mark ever taken by a Tasmanian in a varsity game. Hartford-Davis kicked the goal of the day, running into the forward pocket on the wrong side for a left footer, before side-stepping his opponent with class and slotting it straight through the middle from the boundary. In what can only be described as charitable, the Cambridge defence hit Kirby lace-out on the chest from the kick-out, gifting Oxford's grunt midfielder a much-deserved captain's goal. Osborn then kicked his third to become the leading goalkicker on the day and cap off a courageous comeback, having earlier in the season been prevented from training as a result of injuring himself on a desk.

It was in the twilight of the afternoon that the crowd got a glimpse of a champion entering who is perhaps entering his twilight. While Clark continued to win more than his fair share of marks, kicks and hitouts, he was often seen engaging in what appeared to be friendly conversation with his Cambridge opponent, at times even breaking into a laugh. Of greatest concern, however, was that at the conclusion of the match he complimented the umpires on their fine performance. Assistant Coach Charlie Foster was quick to talk sense into his mate after the game, but he knew better than anyone that after more than a decade of delivering tirades of abuse sprinkled with expletives, Oxford's giant might finally have given all that he can verbally give.

As the beer flowed long into the night in the post-match celebrations, Oxford again took the opportunity to kick the Tabs while they were down, winning the boat race for the fifth successive year, thanks to more heroics from McLeod. Just as Dermot Brereton's name will forever be accompanied by the phrase "five day premierships, five night premierships", so too will McLeod forever have the honour of being "five-time varsity champion, five-time boat race champion". And as far as honours go, they do not come any bigger.

Oxford 9 11 (65)

Cambridge 4 12 (36)

Goals - Osborn 3, Power 2, Doherty, Batrouney, Hartford-Davis, Kirby

Best - Wolgomot, Cole, McLeod, Norman, Duff, Batrouney, Hartford-Davis

Cherwell Article from the Match

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