Cambridge University RUFC come from behind to beat a physical and experienced Steele-Bodger XV – but Flood a serious doubt for Varsity
It was a day of mixed emotions for the men in blue following their 74th annual clash with a Micky Steele-Bodger XV.
Having gone into half time behind, CURUFC will have taken great satisfaction from their second half performance, winning the game 36-26 at the final whistle.
However, the match was marred by a serious injury to talismanic captain and former England International Toby Flood. As all eyes turn to the Varsity match in March 2023, the absence of the 60-cap test star will be a cause for concern.
As ever, this was an outstanding occasion, with a packed Grange Road enjoying food, drink and festivities. Cantab Asset Management were proud to be the Steele-Bodger Match sponsor, whilst Savills were the Steele Bodger team sponsor.
Three minutes into the game, Cambridge University’s captain was cleared out of a ruck and was in visible pain. After a lengthy stoppage, which saw Flood stretchered from the field to a standing ovation, the light blues rallied and scored first with a try from winger Tim Andrew. Andrew broke away down the left, finishing nicely in the corner and Max Loveridge, who had taken over the kicking duties, expertly converted the try from the touchline.
Much of the first forty was spent in the Cambridge half with the Steele Bodger XV controlling possession, with notable carries from hooker Miles Huppatz and number 8 Will Hodgson. Chris Bell was dictating play well and was a constant threat around the fringes, with the Bodgers breaking through on a few occasions. The select XV then began to utilise their physical advantage against a young CURUFC team and had dominance at scrum-time. Despite resilient defence from Cambridge, the Bodgers went into half time with a 12-7 lead thanks to tries from Christopher Davies and Chris Wearmouth and a conversion from Matthew Hodgson.
The second half did not begin any better for the men in light blue, as the Bodger’s extended their lead to twelve points, following a Sam Pointon try out wide which was converted by Tomos Miller.
However, the Bodger’s greatest strength began to work against them as the sizeable pack began to blow out of steam. Cambridge’s new-found discipline allowed them to score three unanswered tries and punished the tiring Bodger’s defence. Tries were score by Laurence Marwood, David Holdroyd and Andrew, who scored his second of the match.
Following some Bodger’s pressure, some quick turnover ball led to the try of the match, with Jordan Mubako latching onto a deft kick through on the breakaway. The replacement back beautifully stepped past the covering defender to gallop under the posts. Cambridge were now pulling away from the invitational side, with three of the four tries converted by Loveridge, who was having an outstanding game in the absence of his captain. The centre-turned-outhalf got a well-deserved try in the closing moments of the game, a brilliant effort which saw Cambridge break from deep, and was emblematic of the University’s ability to capitalise on the Bodger’s tiring defence in the second half.
Despite the fatigue and the clock counting down, the Steele-Bodger XV continued to fight and were rewarded with a Chris Bell try on the stroke of full time but this wasn’t enough to snatch victory from the light blues.
The final whistle closed the curtain on what was a great event for which Cantab Asset Management remain proud sponsors.
Full time score: CURUFC 36 – 26 M.S.B. XV
Cambridge University RUFC: Cameron Round (Homerton), Ben Gompels (Lucy Cavendish), Laurence Marwood (St Edmund’s), Charlie Hancock (Robinson), Matt Symonds (Queens’), Charles Kantolinna (Jesus), Shawn Ingle (Magdalene), Fergus Hughes (St Edmund’s), David Holdroyd (Jesus), Toby Flood (Queens’), Tim Andrew (Jesus), Max Loveridge (Jesus) Thomas Castle (Hughes Hall), Sam Odu (Gonville & Caius), Ty Wills (Magdalene)
Replacements: Ben Mills (Wolfson), Angus Peters (Wolfson), Connor Fairman (Homerton), Byron Hodge (Wolfson), Hugo Lloyd Williams (St John’s), Charles Favell (Homerton), Ikechi Mere (St John’s), Jordan Mubako (St John’s)
Steele-Bodger XV: Matt Meek (Bishop’s Stortford), Miles Huppatz (Shelford), Josh Scott (Heriots), Chris Wearmouth (Tynedale), Ben Hilton (Barnstaple), Stephen Clark-Leonard (Blackheath), Dan Edgar (London Scottish), Will Hodgson (North Walsham), Chris Bell (Blackheath), Matthew Hodgson (North Walsham), Sam Pointon (Birmingham Moseley), Christopher Davies (Esher), Suwi Chibale (University of Cape Town), Joe Gatus (Old Haberdashers), Etienne Dussartre (Old Haberdashers)
Replacements: Charlie MacCallum (Blackheath), Micky Hall (Tynedale), Will Kelly (Chinnor), Stefan Nixon (Darwin), Will Kennedy (Magdalene), Dan North (Lucy Cavendish), Fin Edwards (Downing), Owen Hanford (St Catherine’s), Eoin Finn (Homerton), Tomos Miller (Homerton)