3 July 2013
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Gloucestershire Warriors 42 vs Oxford Cavaliers 8

Oxford Cavaliers left Gloucester in second place with an end to their unbeaten run of 3 matches from a 7 try to 2 thumping to a well drilled warriors side.

The 'cavs' travelled well with a squad of 17, and in the first 10 minutes things couldn't have looked more promising, after a 30 minute delay due to an accident on the A40 causing a late arrival from the visitors. The cavaliers initially stood up well to the bigger warriors side and the first few sets worked as planned with solid play from forwards Matt Beckley, Fotu and debutant Hugo Van Dorssen, each putting top effort to make good ground from each carry, bossed well from Hooker Stewart Hannah and second distributer around the ruck from Marc McKenzie. Completing sets as desired, from the inability too from previous encounters in the league.

Gloucester looked well drilled with strong powerful ball carriers well directed from both halves, and after a fumbled catch from the warriors kick play on the 5th from cavs winger Plant at the 10th minute, they had a perfect opportunity to take the lead from a scrum 10 metres out. This they did when their loose forward picked from the scrum and barged his way though the Oxfords back line to make it 6-0 after the conversion.

Things stayed as they were for 15 minutes with both teams completing sets well and putting the graft in in defence in what was again this week very trying temperatures. Coming up to the 25th minute an exact replay occured that again would cost the Oxford side, Plant dropping a deep kick from the 5th giving the Warriors a scrum merely 10 metres out, this time the ball came out the scrum and it would be a centre who managed to touch down, again converted to make it 12-0 to the home side.

Heads seemed to had started to drop and the Warriors replied with another try straight from the restart making good ground till the 3rd before a break away try beating two players over the course of a 30 metre run, again converted. The Cavaliers got a break this time though from the restart, which was knocked on allowing the Oxford side to make the most of the little opportunities they had been given, after a good hit up from both Beckley and Van Dorssen, McKenzie received a flat ball off the ruck from Hannah to force his way over the line from 10 metres out, not converted by centre Chris Fehr who had again a solid match in defence.

This well worked try didnt turn the tide mind and it was 24-4 at half time, after another converted try from the warriors broken out wide and run in under the posts.

The cavs grouped at halftime and released some home truths in areas which should have been better, mainly defensive duties in certain areas of the side. The Cavaliers also struggling with the ball through the backs with Wes Newton struggling for options in a rejigged back line from previous weeks, though mention to player Jack Briggs due to his impressive ball carries in at centre and excellent duties from winger George Timms under the high ball would have been deserved mentions in the Oxford back line.

The Warriors took ten minutes to work on the Cavaliers defence who were put through their paces, before breaking the deadlock in the second half, scoring a try and one other in close succession both from clean breaks through the cavaliers line to put the match out of sight from the reigning champions. Oxford managed to get some continuity for a small period in the second half which allowed Fotu to get his 5th try in 2 games, which again was a top performance even given the circumstances, he receiving a ball off the shoulder of half back Wes Newton to punch through a gap to the right hand side of the posts.

The last 20 minutes only saw one try scored, replied from the warriors working an overlap, but the cavaliers did buck themselves up in defence in this last quarter to regain some pride in defeat, the team regrouping on the final whistle disappointed in how the game turned early on. The squad will regroup both Tuesday and Thursday to work on the poor areas of play before they welcome Somerset Vikings to their home ground who they lost to both home and away last year but managed to beat in the final to take the 2012 crown.

Team List

1. Stuart Waknell
2. George Timms
3. Chris Fehr
4. Jack Briggs
5. Craig Plant
6. Adam White
7. Wes Newton
8. Fotu
9. Stewart Hannah
10. Ollie Darvall
11. Matt Beckley
12. Hugo Van Dorsson
13. Marc MacKenzie

14. Dan Suggit
15. Mike Bowerman
16. Tom Miles
17. Shane Turner

Tries - MacKenzie, Fotu

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