Girvan the architect of Light Blue burst

Cambridge University 22 Oxford University 10
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The Independent Online

Cambridge broke a two-year losing streak in the Varsity Match here last night, thanks to a devastating burst of three tries early in the second half that left Oxford with a little too much to do.

Cambridge had also struck early in the first half, when their loose-forward and man of the match, Richard Girvan, found a gap with a diagonal run from dummy-half and Paul Marchand added a towering conversion from the touchline.

Oxford wasted two chances to hit back when Luke Hanson missed kickable penalties, but drew level after 16 minutes when their scrum-half and captain, John Scholes, darted over. Hanson added the goal.

Defences were on top for the rest of the first half with a surprising number of handling mistakes for a game played in unusually good conditions for this encounter.

Girvan gave Cambridge the advantage four minutes after the break, going through a series of tackles on a storming run that set off his captain, Tom Blathwaite, for a walk-in try.

Five minutes later, second-rower Phil Robinson forced his way over in the corner, despite a heavy presence of defenders. Cambridge were on the march and slick handling from Blathwaite and Simon Amor opened the way for Marchand to record their third try in eight minutes.

Hobart, playing his seventh and last Varsity game in the Oxford front row, did his utmost to revive them with a 50-yard gallop. From a penalty awarded when his support player was held back, a superb pass from Scholes put John Shaw over.

After that, Cambridge defied Oxford's best efforts and then struck the crucial blow with 12 minutes to go. Again Girvan was the architect, with Stewart Farmer – at last winning a varsity match after four defeats – giving the final pass to Phil Stephens.

Cambridge University: Farmer; Pearson, Blathwayt, Gent, Stephens; Amor, Marchand; Workman, Mangan, Forde, Robinson, Williams, Girvan. Substitutes used: Forrest, Styring, Lewis-Jones, Davis.

Oxford University: Scaife; Inett, Reeds, Kukura, Corcoran; Hanson, Scholes; Trotter, Walker, Hobart, Clark, Baylis, Hunwick. Substitutes used: Short, Boyle, Terbakoski, O'Connell.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

* The Super League matches scheduled for the weekend of 5 July will be played on the previous Wednesday or Thursday, allowing Great Britain to fly out early for the one-off Test against Australia in Sydney on 12 July.