Light Blues come back with spirit and adventure

Rugby Union: Cambridge University 35 Steele-Bodger's XV 29
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The Independent Online
TIM GLOVER

Cambridge University 35 Steele-Bodger's XV 29

Mike Gibson, the legendary Ireland and Lions threequarter, returned to Grange Road yesterday to unveil an honours board of Cambridge players who have won international caps.

On the clubhouse wall are 303 names and the way things are going for the Light Blues one or two of the current squad could be added to the list.

Fresh from their notable victory over Western Samoa on Saturday, Cambridge added another feather to their cap with this impressive win.

The spies from Oxford, with the University match two weeks away, must have been heartened by events in the first quarter when Steele-Bodger's scored three tries and led 17-0. Cambridge, fielding nine of the side that beat the Samoans, were in danger of being overrun but it is a measure of their spirit, organisation and fitness that they finished the stronger.

In a cracking match both sides scored five tries, the difference being two penalties from Rob Ashforth, Cambridge's 19-year-old stand-off from Bradford Grammar School.

The game may have been played with a sense of adventure that will not be matched at Twickenham on 12 December, but there was nothing superficial about it, nor about the result.

Niall Hogan, the Irish international scrum-half, scored three tries. His first, from charging down an Ashforth kick, gave Steele-Bodger's the lead which they swiftly built upon with further tries from Matt Poole and Iain Morrison.

By half-time Cambridge were only two points behind. When Ashforth gave them the lead with a try early in the second half, Hogan responded with two quick scores to give Steele-Bodger's a nine-point cushion, 29-20. Once again Cambridge took the game to their opponents, scoring 15 points without reply in the last quarter and this despite suffering a series of injuries.

Cambridge University: Tries Maslen 2, Rutter, Ashforth, Sexton; Conversions Ashforth 2; Penalties Ashforth 2. Steele-Bodger's: Tries Hogan 3, Poole, Morrison; Conversions Burke 2.

Cambridge University: O Clayton (Magdalene); S Sexton (Hughes Hall), A Spencer (St John's), S Cottrell (St Edmund's, capt), J Rutter (St John's); R Ashforth (Peterhouse), D Maslen (St Edmund's); L Mooney (Hughes Hall), J Edwards (St Catharine's), N Holgate (Robinson), R Bramley (St Edmund's), D Ruffell (Homerton), M Hyde (St Edmund's), J Cocks (St Edmund's), S Surridge (Wolfson). Replacements: D Moore (Trinity Hall) for Clayton, 39; G Fury (Hughes Hall) for Hyde, h-t; T Whitford (Homerton) for Cottrell, 51; B Ryan (Homerton) for Whitford, 54.

Steele-Bodger's XV: I Glasgow (Heriot's FP); A Jones (Harlequins), M Denney (Bristol), N Beale (Northampton), R Davies (Harlequins); P Burke (Cork Constitution), N Hogan (Terenure College); G Halpin (London Irish), J Hay (Hawick), M Linnett (Worcester), M Haag (Bath), M Poole (Leicester), C Gibson (Gloucester), I Morrison (London Scottish), R Poole-Jones (Wasps).

Referee: D Chapman (Yorkshire).

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