Five tries from powerful forward Dave Edwards gave the Somerset Vikings a shock win against Oxford Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon.
Cavaliers looked to have their first home game of the season in the bag when they led by ten points at the interval but lost their way in the second period and the Vikings’ second half blitz saw them home in a match where both sides scored seven tries.
Oxford, missing several first team players including the in-form Chris Fehr and Ruairi Lynch, gave debuts to wing Anthony Maka and prop forward Ben Louison, the latter ending the day with 10 stitches in a nasty head wound. And they started promisingly, opening the scoring before Edwards and Dan Hinton, who finished with two tries and five goals, edged the visitors 10-6 in front. Then, midway through the half, the Cavaliers hit a purple patch with the ever improving Matt Fiander scoring two of their four tries in a 15-minute spell that put them 26-10 up. However, Hinton’s second try, which he converted himself and Edwards’ own second immediately after the break put the game back in the balance.
Joe McEarney’s excellent try converted by Turner seemed to have the Cavaliers back in control, but some poor defence saw Edwards rampage over three times in quick succession to wrest control back for the visitors. Chris Richards’ angled drop goal put two scores between the sides in the closing moments and though McEarney crossed for an unconverted try, time ran out for the Cavaliers in what was a breathtaking game of rugby league.
Oxford now face arch-rivals Swindon St George away from home on Saturday, 16 June. And Swindon will be in confident mood after last week’s 52-22 rout against much-fancied Gloucestershire, thanks to a hat-trick of tries from Mike Thompson and a try and six goals from James Slatter.
Cavaliers Squad: Mario Da Silva, Anthony Maka, Matt Fiander, Jack Briggs, Craig Plant, Matt Stoddart, Shane Turner, Ben Louisson, Stewart Hannah, Ryan Hodnett, Ben Lee, Matt Beckley, Joe McEneney, Connor McCuffrey, Nathan Humphries, Tony Smallman
Tries: Matt Fiander (2), Joe McEarney (2) +3
Goals: Shane Turner 4 from 7.
Tries: Dave Edwards (5), Dan Hinton (2)
Goals: Dan Hinton 5 from 7, Drop Goal; Chris Richards.