13 DECEMBER 1963, Page 22

The Young Ones

Finesse may have been lacking: but fitness and determination were not, nor was a cheerful willingness, especially by Oxford, to kick the opponent's head in. Though losing for the fourth year in succession, Oxford were not disgraced in the highest-scoring Varsity match for thirty years. The Dark Blues, to all experts the underdogs, sprang into an immediate lead with a forty-five- yard penalty by Wilson : and the popularity of this winter's hoot fad was emphasised by a Cam- bridge penalty success by Harvey, at which the Oxford stand-off Lamb dropped a neat goal. At regular intervals forwards and scrum-halves slumped, hacked senseless in loose mauls. By half- time one player apiece had been heavily head- bandaged, and the ambulance brigade must have thought their free seats all too hard-earned.

Held in check throughout the first half, Cambridge broke free immediately after hail'- time. Oxford's bluest moments were the opening fifteen minutes of the second half, when their good-natured mishandling and casual tackling allowed the Light Blues to nip in for three tries one of them by stand-off Gibson, hailed before the match as another Richard Sharp, who darted past eight Oxford statues. With Cambridge scoring at the rate of a point a minute, Oxford abandoned their tight game, and produced the finest move of the match, a twinkling movement downfield with Morgan finally sprinting for the posts. Just three points down, Oxford pounded at Cambridge for ten minutes, only for the Light Blues to fight, fight and fight again. And in the final seconds yet another defensive lapse opened the way for the last Cambridge score. So, without a single bottle being thrown and no invasion of the pitch by irate rattle-waving fans, the players turned their attention to more denture types of ball-games, and the crowd ambled home with only memories until even younger Blues go into action next December.