Despite the vagaries of the English weather, the inaugural OURFC Invitational 7’s on Saturday 11th May was a tremendous success with some quality rugby on show, particularly from the six elite men’s teams. The day started in bright sunshine, appropriately enough for the opening game, an exhibition 7’s match between Oxford University Women and Norway with the visitors proving too strong for the inexperienced university women, playing their first competitive 7’s match! The final score was 33 point to 7 in favour of the international side.
Group one of the men’s competition was made up of the hosts Oxford University with Worcester Warriors Academy and the recently formed Oxford Rugby Club, adding a touch of cross-code rivalry to proceedings! Group two was headed by the Leeds Rugby Academy along with the White Hart Marauders and Bath University. All the group games were keenly contested with no real runaway victories to any side, which set up some keenly anticipated semi-finals later in the day.
Oxford University 45 Oxford Rugby League 7
Oxford Rugby League 14 Worcester Warriors 45
Oxford University 14 Worcester Warriors 29
White Hart Marauders 29 Bath University 7
Leeds Rugby 33 Bath University 21
White Hart Marauders 12 Leeds Rugby Academy 15
Oxford Rugby League and Bath University finished bottom of their respect groups and met in the 5th/6th place ply-off which saw Bath University come from behind to register a 26 points to 14 win over the local side.
Both semi-finals could have gone either way, but it was the two professional clubs who came out on the wrong end of the scores with the White Hart Marauders beating Worcester Warriors 24 to 14 and Oxford University upsetting the odds somewhat to register the same score line against Leeds Rugby.
The 3rd/4th place play off saw the slightly greater experience of the Premiership club, overcome the latent talent and enthusiasm of the Championship club with Worcester claiming the spoils by 22 points to 7.
In the Cup Final it was the greater 7’s playing experience of the White Hart Marauders that eventually saw them hang on to claim the Oxford Shard, but Oxford’s coach James Wade was pleased with the way his players had developed throughout the day and pushed the Marauders to the wire in the final. The final score line of 24 points to 10 was slightly flattering as they scored with the last play of the game to widen the margin.
It is very much hoped that the 2014 tournament will attract a larger entry and audience as all those who did attend on Saturday enjoyed a great day out.