Rugby Memorabilia Society

1903 Oxford v Cambridge

1903 Oxford v Cambridge Official Match Programme

1903 Oxford v Cambrige - official match programme - Rugby Memorabilia Society - 1

1903 Oxford v Cambridge Official Match Programme

The following is the match report from the Evening Express,16th December 1903 'Special Edition'pg 3

There was every appearance that the thirty-first Rugby fixture between the rival 'Varsities, decided on Tuesday at Queen's Club at Kensington, would prove of more than usual importance. Both fifteens were decidedly above the average. The Cantabs who held an unbeaten record, were favourites, Oxford a defence being regarded as rather a weak point. The afternoon was a fine one, with but slight sunshine, and wind from the south-east, favouring the side playing towards the pavilion. The ground, too, did not appear in at all a bad condition, though somewhat sort. Cambridge had seven old blues against Oxford's five, the teams taking the field exactly as advertised.

Oxford: H Cheyne (Edinburgh Academy and University), A.A Lawrie (Fettes and Trinity), *J.R.P Sandford (Marlborough and Exeter), *J.E Raphael (Merchant Taylors and St. John's), R.E.S Gregson (Rugby and Corpus) *A.D Stoop (Rugby and University), P. Munro (Leeds and Christ Church), *V. H. Cartwright (Rugby and Corpus) (captain), *G.V Kyrke (Marlborough and Lincoln), A.M Robertson (Rugby and University), E. Fearenside (Denstone College and Queen's), M.R Dickson (Marlborough and Merton), J.C.L Farquharson (Dulwich and University), J. G. Russell (St. Edward's, Oxford, and Brasenose), C Bourns (Merchant Taylors and St. John's).

Cambridge: *S. Horsley (Loretto and Clare) (captain), W.T Ritchie (New Zealand and St. John's), E. D. Evans (Aberystwyth and St. John's), L. M. Macleod (Fettes and Pembroke) *A.H McNeill (Loretto and Clare), *H. Mainprice (Blundell's and Jesus), H. Laxon (Coventry and Pembroke), *J.V Bedell-Sivright (Fettes and Magdalene), C.J Newbold (Uppingham and Caius), *J. B. Waters (Loretto and Pembroke), *W.T Cave (Tonbridge and Caius), R.O.C Ward (Clifton and Trinity), H.G Monteith (Fettes and Pembroke), J.Horsfall (Tonbridge and Caius), E.C Hodges (Haileybury and Trinity).

*An Old Blue
Referee: Mr. T. Williams (Llwynypia)
Touch-judges: Messrs. F. H. B. Champain (Hertford College, Oxford) and D. R. Bedell- Sivright (Trinity College, Cambridge).

1893 Newport v Cardiff programme (1)

1903 Oxford v Cambridge Official Match Programme

Both sides had a preliminary practice of brief duration. The kick-off was fixed for half-past two, at which time there were fully 6,000 persons present, with more to follow, the railway arrangements being inadequate for those desiring to patronise the District system.
Of previous games Oxford claimed twelve wins and Cambridge ten, with eight drawn. The Cantabs won the toss and three minutes later Cartwright kicked off, from the pavilion end. Horsley returned, and after a couple of minutes in mid-field, Lawrie made a useful kick. McNeill directly after had his kick charged down. Passing by Sandford and Raphael led to a good run by Gregson, but Horsley pulled him down. Oxford then made another dangerous attack, Stoop giving to Sandford, who got close to the Cambridge line. The Dark Blues continued to press, till the Cambridge forwards worked the ball over. Back, however, came Oxford, whose play was decidedly smarter and more aggressive. Once, from a rush, the ball went over the line, but the referee declared that Horsley had managed to touch it down before Raphael got it, and made it absolutely dead. Nothing daunted, however, Raphael secured from Sandford and this time there could be no doubt about the Old Merchant Taylor's try. Fearenside converted. The place was an easy one, and at the end of a dozen minutes Oxford were a goal up. Less than four minutes after McNeill scored, after a scrimmage, and with a strong run eluded all opposition. and grounded behind the goal, Macleod converting without difficulty, and equalising the score. The Cantabs after this had rather the better of the game, but without material advantage. Weak play by Cheyne led to the Light Blues penetrating the rival 25, but Cartwright came through from a scrum and gave relief. After an abortive attempt by McLeod and McNeill, an effort of the Cambridge three-quarters was spoilt by Evans allowing a pass to be intercepted. Mainprice stopped by falling on the ball close to the post, and out of loose play which shortly succeeded Raphael took a clever flying shot at goal, which missed the mark. At the end of half an hour, however, passing by the Oxford halves and Raphael gave Sandford a fine opening and he scored, Fearenside converting. In a few minute the Oxonians were again on the aggressive, and the Cantabs touched down twice, some good play by Raphael and some clever tackling characterising the second effort.

Half-time score:
Oxford 2 Goal (2 converted tries)
Cambridge 1 Goal (1 converted try)

After three minutes rest Cambridge re-started. Horsley and Ritchie in turn found touch; their efforts, however, had little advantage. Lawrie failed in a piece of combined play, but managed to recover and kicked into touch. At the end of eight minutes the Cantabs decreased the gap by Ritchie scoring after good work by Macleod and Evans, but Bedell-Sivwright found the place too difficult to convert. Still a couple points behind, Cambridge went at it, and Macleod bore away, but dwelt rather too long and Cheyne tackled him. Cambridge subsequently kicked dead, following which Oxford had rather the better of play, Standford making a good run, but being pulled down by Horsley. There was a brief stoppage through an Oxford forward being winded, and on continuing the dark blues reached their rivals' 25. Stoop working grandly. Midway through the second half, Oxford gained a third try. Stoop punting across the ground to Gregson, who took the ball cleverly on the run and got over wide. Fearenside, however, made a grand and successful shot at goal, The Oxonians now led by fifteen points to eight. Cambridge on restarting pressed a while, but Stoop broke away from his own half, and only lost the ball close to the line. Gregson dashed in. but only a touch down was registered, Mainprice Macleod, and McNeill made a good effort, and the first-named made a clever punt and run. Horsley then made a clever kick from his left wing to under the goal post, and Laxon dashed in and scored, Macleod goaled, and again only a couple of points divided the teams. The crowd, now over eight thousand, watched extremely excited. Oxford again attacked, there being about ten minutes left for play. After a rush by Fearenside down the field, Stoop made a run, but was collared by Horsley. Robertson, however, completed the score, Fearenside failing at goal. Oxford continued pressing.

Final Score:
Oxford - 3 Goals, 1 try (4 tries, 3 conversions)
Cambridge – 2 Goals 1 try (3 tries, 2 conversions)

The Dark Blues owed their success to their two halves, Stoop and Munro. Both men displayed remarkable smartness, and worked the scrum, and served their three quarters with all the ability of Welsh halves. Had the third line been equally smart, Oxford must inevitably have run up a big score against their opponents. The passing, however, of the winners was very mechanical, and it is quite apparent, that the lessons which successive Welsh teams keep inflicting upon English clubs have not yet been taken to heart. The back play of the Light Blues was almost lamentable. The forwards were very strong and excellent dribblers, but neither the halves for the three-quarters were able to take advantage of their superiority in front, and in consequence, they had to admit defeat. In both teams there was magnificent material for a good team.

One of our London representatives, writing on the match, says: - The large crowd on the Queen's Club ground included many Welsh people, a goodly proportion of whom were London residents, and there was also a fair sprinkling of Welshmen who had travelled up to witness the match. Some members of the Welsh Rugby Union were present. Among them was Mr. A. J. Davies, of Cardiff, who, in the course of a conversation about the match, said: The Oxford team played a typical Welsh game, especially the forwards. They scrimmaged well, their heeling out was excellent, and throughout the game they obtained the ball seven times out of eight. The halves fed the three-quarters splendidly. Of the three-quarters the right wing was in best form. Undoubtedly, the Oxford men played the Welsh game to perfection, and by that means defeated the favourites. At times the Cambridge three-quarters did some brilliant passing movements, and McNeil and McLeod were dangerous more than once. But I am afraid we must say that some of their forwards were wingers"

Mr. Tom Williams, the referee, added:—"It was quite a pleasure to referee in the match. The Oxford men played the Welsh game to perfection."

Peter Douglas-Davies
Evening Express Newspaper