CURUFC led by a score of 60-0 going into the closing minutes of the game before RUFC’s Corey Lewis scored his tryKatie E. Kasperson

Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club (CURUFC) came out on top against Cambridge Rugby Union Football Club (RUFC) in the ‘Town’ vs. ‘Gown’ local derby, storming to a 65-7 victory at Grange Road on Wednesday evening (02/02).

Going into the fixture, captain Charlie Watson announced his intention to rotate the Cambridge squad, with Adam Wylie, Dan Montesino Jones, Sam Odu, and Ben Jackson being granted opportunities to impress in the starting XV. Meanwhile, RUFC fielded a mix of first- and second-team players in their visiting team.

Last time out, Watson’s side fell to a 14-5 defeat at the hands of Bishop Stortford Blues, meaning that CURUFC were in search of their first win of the new year.

Turning to the action under the Grange Road lights, opening signs of promise from both outfits prevailed, most notably a booming handoff from Town winger Owain Collard on Adam Wylie, were ultimately punctuated by several sloppy handling errors.

The Light Blues seemed almost taken aback by the heavy impacts of the Town’s tackles, with Suwi Chibale sent flying backwards early on by a monstrous hit, something he will not have experienced often in his rugby career.

Despite Town’s hard-hitting defence, Gown had the better of the first ten minutes, with Montesino Jones piling over in the corner. Alex King missed the extras, thus making the score 5-0 to the home side.

Scrum-half Charles Favell (pictured left) played a key role in setting up Stephen Leonard’s try in the 32nd minuteKatie E. Kasperson

It was only a matter of minutes before the Gown would extend their lead, as several phases of free-flowing rugby culminated in Scotland under-20 international Archie Smeaton beat four men to score before King added the extras this time around from the tee.

Town almost hit back instantly, but Collard was denied by a brilliant tackle from King before stern defence stemmed the away side’s tide. Max Loveridge, deputising at 10 in the absence of Jamie Benson, marshalled the back line well both in defence and attack, keeping Town penned in their own half for much of the opening half an hour.

Gown’s reward came in the 32nd minute, with scrum-half Charles Favell spotting an overlap on the blindside before captain and flanker Stephen Leonard showcased a display of footwork normally reserved for the flashiest of backs, dotting down under the posts to give King an easy conversion.

The hosts’ fourth score of the evening came shortly afterwards, as Sam Odu was given a clear path to the tryline from the breakdown by the Town defence. King again slotted the conversion to make it 26-0.

The score remained unchanged until the referee’s whistle blew, sending both sides in with the Light Blues firmly in the driving seat.

Gown came out after the break with no signs of letting up, with King bursting through a tackle and sprinting fifty yards to the tryline, agonisingly close to a superb solo effort before spilling the ball inches from the line.

Town failed to clear their lines convincingly, and sustained pressure from the Light Blues allowed Leonard to add his second try of the evening. King’s kick went narrowly wide from a tight angle to leave things at 31-0.

Less than a minute after the restart, Loveridge got the try his performance deserved, shrugging off the visibly fatigued Town defence to score under the posts and King subsequently making no mistake this time.

The Light Blues dominated their opponents in the scrumKatie E. Kasperson

After several injuries to RUFC’s players, the game moved to uncontested scrums, much to the Light Blues' chagrin after a dominant fifty minutes of scrummaging prior to that. 

Undeterred by the disruption, Zac Bischoff broke through again before prop Max Pettit almost ran it on from the forty-yard line to the delight of the Grange Road crowd. A shrewd cross-kick, though, allowed replacement Ikechi Mere, on the pitch for a matter of minutes, to finish well in the corner.

Town’s best chance of the half was squandered by a loose pass, with the ever-impressive Chibale picking off the pass and making it to halfway before offloading to Odu, who was tackled well by Town full-back Joey Patrick. Once again though, Town were unable to cope with sustained Gown pressure, as Angus Peters drove over from close range after several phases. King’s kick rebounded off the post to delay the half-century of points, leaving the score at 48-0.

The Light Blues continued their free-scoring form soon after, Smeaton doubling his tally to add the Gown’s ninth try of the night. A clever kick from replacement fly-half Cam Millen was latched onto by substitute Demi Obembe to score under the posts, King slotting his fifth conversion of the night to extend the home side’s lead to 60 points.

The cheery atmosphere at Grange Road, however, was broken briefly as Loveridge was knocked clean out by a hit, lying motionless on the turf for several minutes. Thankfully, he was able to walk off the pitch himself, allaying the fears of the home crowd.


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The break in play looked to have buoyed the previously flat Town side, allowing for what seemed like their first foray of the half into Light Blue territory. Disappointingly for the Gown, hooker Corey Lewis capitalised on a lapse in concentration to ruin any chance of a clean sheet, with Scott Lloyd adding the extras to give Town some form of consolation late on. Their new-found confidence was soon knocked back, however, by yet another Cambridge score, as another close-range try extended the score to 65-7.

The final whistle blew with the score still at 65-7, with Gown hailed the deserved runaway winners in a tie many may have expected to be a far more evenly matched affair. Town, who showed sparks of life in the first half, were lacklustre in the second, and were blown away by the attacking brand of rugby put on display by the Light Blues.

Varsity Player of the Match: Zac Bischoff (CURUFC)


CURUFC Starting XV: Ben Jackon (Sidney Sussex)*, James Wright (Jesus), Matt Pettit (Clare)*, Matt West (St John’s)*, Zac Bischoff (St John’s)*, Daniel Montesino Jones (St John’s)*, Stephen Leonard (Emmanuel, Captain)*, Archie Smeaton (Queens’)*, Charles Favell (Homerton)*, Max Loveridge (Jesus)*, Adam Wylie (Girton), Sam Odu (Gonville & Caius), Suwi Chibale (Queens’)*, Dougal Russell (St John’s)*, Alex King (St Catharine’s)

CURUFC Replacements: Luke Parry (Downing)*, Danny Collins (Fitzwilliam)*, Angus Peters (Wolfson), Jason Kururangi (St Edmund’s)*, Demi Obembe (Churchill)*, Tom Walton (St John’s, Captain)*, David Holdroyd (Jesus), Ikechi Mere (St John’s), Cam Millen (Gonville & Caius)

*Denotes Blue

Cambridge RUFC Starting XV: Stan Meadhurst, Corey Lewis, Jos Herbert, Jake Prier, Will Ramply, Alex Chabala, Noah Sloot (Captain), Kieran Shave, Scott Lloyd, Owen Collard, Will Wand, Matt Williams, Louis Beer, Joey Patrick

Cambridge RUFC Replacements: Willie Priestley, Isa Sloot, Ryan Curtis, Harry Jones, Joe Green, Cesar Belloso, 

CURUFC Men will next be in action on Wednesday 16th February, when they take on the Royal Navy at Grange Road.