Match Report – Buckingham RUFC V Oxford Harlequins RFC
Saturday 29th February 2020.
On a windy afternoon with ‘Storm Jorge’ making his presence felt,
it was a credit to both teams, to play so well, in such appalling
Buckingham won the toss and decided to take advantage of the wind
and from the kick- off, which was cleanly caught by an Oxford Harlequin
forward, who in the melee that followed gave his backs a chance to make ground in the Buckingham half and despite valiant tackling by the home team, the OH wing forward squeezed through to score within 5 minutes of the start with the conversion unsuccessful, putting Oxford Harlequins in the lead 5-0.
The first scrum gave an indication of the strength of the Buckingham forwards, resulting in a penalty to Buckingham and Ed Kinman having no difficulty in converting it to bring the score to 3-5 in favour of the away team.
After the restart Buckingham’s effective use of the ball allowed them to drive up field gaining a scrum some 10 metres out from the OH line. The ball was quickly fed back to half backs Joe Chalmers and Ed Kinman to find Matt London at speed taking the pass and scoring unopposed. Ed Kinman adding the conversion to see Buckingham go into the lead for the first time 10 -5 after 20 minutes.
From the restart Buckingham were on the attack again with Ed Kinman finding a fine touch well inside the OH’s half. In the maul that followed Buckingham were awarded a penalty, which Ed Kinman duly converted advancing the home team’s score to 13-5 .
Buckingham were now in the ascendency and with the backs coming into their own, saw scrum half Joe Chalmers get the ball quickly away to Ed Kinman and down the line to Stuart Craker and Jamie Lee to find Wiggy Gurney
at speed going over the white line and converted by Ed Kinman advancing the home score to 20- 5 as the referee blew his whistle for half time and a much- needed return to the changing rooms for both teams to recover from the biting easterly wind.
The second half started with Oxford Harlequins aware of the wind advantage
and attacking the Buckingham line where the home defense gave little away
to the visitors, however an infringement by the home side ensued and a penalty given to OH which they converted closing the score to 20 -8.
Immediately after the restart the Buckingham forwards reasserted pressure
resulting in Harry Scarr, breaking away and running almost the length of the
field to score a spectacular try unopposed, but with Ed Kinman off the field with an injury and replaced by Rowan Cooke, Wiggy Gurney was given the difficult task of trying to convert in the strong wind and sadly his effort failed . The score advancing to 25-8.
The game was reaching a crucial stage, where the next score would determine the outcome of the game. Buckingham made changes with Seth Williams
coming on for Matt Payne and Oli Crompton on for Oli Horton.
With the Buckingham pack winning ball almost at will, they provided the backs
with opportunities and speedy winger Nick Sumner took his chance
and scored a fine try, which was again unconverted thanks to ‘Jorge’.
In reaching the final quarter, frustration was setting in, resulting in
a yellow card breaks given an OH forward and Jim Barker.
During their absence both teams settled down and Oxford Harlequins made ground which thanks to good home defense came to nowt. Buckingham forwards again showing their mettle and determination in gaining possession and through good inter-passing found Wiggy Gurney in support, who went over for his second try and converted by Ollie Crompton taking the score to 37-8.
Oxford Harlequins with a last hoorah by their forwards took possession of the ball and allowed their threes to break the home defence and score an unconverted try advancing the score to 37 -13.
In the final 10 minutes, play became scrappy with both sides tiring, but with the crowd willing the home team on for a final score in “hell fire corner” which is situated right by the Clubhouse, they were rewarded by a spectacular drive by the forwards and a penalty awarded to Buckingham kicked by Rowan Cooke into the corner. Buckingham line out was taken by Harry Scarr allowing a final drive and splendid support play by Jim Barker allowed him to scramble over for a well -deserved, unconverted try much to the delight of the crowd.
The final score 42-13.
Once again a great team performance and with just 5 matches left, we have already succeeded in achieving our best ever season in South West 1 -East League.
Anthony J Flack.
Photo Steve Glendinning