57 was top-score) kept up the hitting, but the total of 244 was not considered good enough. However, Oxford scored 42 less, having started so badly in a bad light that 6 wickets were down for 68. However, G. O. Smith (51) and H. D. Leveson-Gower (73) played an uphill game in fine style, and to them mainly was the Oxford total of 202 due. Again Grace and Mitchell made a good start for Cambridge; indeed their scores were, Grace 40 and 28, Mitchell 28 and 43. C. E. M. Wilson scored 36, and W. G. Druce, the captain, once more showed excellent nerve and excellent cricket at a critical moment: his 66 was as good and valuable an innings as has ever been played in this match. The grand total of 288 left Oxford with a "set" of 331. The final innings of the match was most remarkable. Ten of the Oxford men found the Cambridge bowling apparently unplayable; the eleventh man, H. K. Foster, found it the easiest stuff in the world. He cut, drove, pulled, and hit to leg, without giving a fair chance, till he had scored 121 out of 159 for 7 wickets, a piece of batting that took just two hours; and no one who saw that innings will ever forget its brilliance. No one admired it more than the Cambridge partisans, who could afford to view it with some complacency, because other wickets were falling fast: they could enjoy the treat of some grand hitting without the mortification of seeing their side beaten.
Oxford won in 1896, but next year Cambridge, certainly the stronger side in the opinion of most good judges, turned the tables. The game was more remarkable for steadiness than brilliance, G. L. Jessop's 42, scored in 15 minutes, being the one exciting piece of cricket. Cambridge won by 179 runs, but their second innings of 336 would, if it had come first, have given the Light-blues a single innings victory. The Oxford batting, except that of G. R. Bardswell, cut up badly, and it was owing to this failure that they lost the match. C. J. Burnup, H. H. Marriott, N. F. Druce, G. L. Jessop, C. E. M. Wilson, and E. B. Shine, all batted well for Cambridge, and the bowling honours were fairly divided between G. L. Jessop, E. B. Shine, and H. W. De Zoete for Cambridge, and C. E. Cunliffe for Oxford.