U14s win first match of season
Comfortable bonus point win in Oxfordshire county cup
Our first competitive match of the season was never going to be easy. Full size pitches, new rules (line outs, kicking and flankers) and proper referees. As if that weren’t enough we were going to play against one of last seasons best teams in the county.
Having lost narrowly to Oxford last year in the U13s county cup (which they went on to win) Banbury were always going to think this match would have a particular extra importance. We went into the game with a larger set of subs (Oxford only had 16 players in total but to their credit still chose to play with a starting 15) and home advantage.
Over time you would think that both factors would impact the result but to our opponents credit the game was very balanced in the first half. There was a good ebb and flow and the ball probably spent as long in the Banbury 22 as it did in the Oxford 22.
Both teams defended resolutely and Oxford could have scored first but our forward line dug in hard. The goal line was threatened but a last minute infraction relieved the pressure and Banbury were able to clear.
Having learnt from last year our squad had invested a lot in fitness. Attendance at the O2 Touch in the summer had been good (sometimes 20 players) and the majority of our pre-season work was designed to help with the larger pitches.
Over time our numbers started to tell and we were just quicker to every contest. The pace of the Banbury forwards did not give time for Oxford to settle and whenever an Oxford breakthrough occurred our backs were there to hunt the interloper down.
I had expected to see more scores from our wings given the larger pitch but Oxford were equally resolute which kept the overall score down. Our opponents deserve a lot of credit, up against it they stuck to their task well and made it a great morning of rugby.
The 27-5 scoreline today did reflect the strength of the respective squads and it would have been greater if the ref (who had an excellent game) had been in a position to see Hamish put the ball down on the line.
We also left 8 points on the table by not converting the kicks after scoring. None of these was easy though and in future we will need to work on where we put the ball down (when we have a choice).
The try scorers were Seb (2), Dan N, Edward, Dan K. Callum D made out only conversion from right in front of the posts.