As with the last fixture between Oxford and Trinity in Dublin in March, the weather conditions transpired against the players to produce an open attacking match – the strong wind and rain unfortunately influenced how the teams could play at Iffley Road on Friday night. Oxford had first use of the wind and used it to go effect to keep Trinity pinned in their own half for much of the first 20 minutes and Jonathan Hudson (Lincoln) playing in the unaccustomed position of wing was successful with two out of three penalty attempts, neither easy despite having the wind at his back. It looked as though Oxford would extend their lead when centre Marcus-Alexander Neil (St Hilda’s) burst clear only to have the ball knocked from his grasp by a desperate Trinity defender with the line at his mercy! With the clock ticking down to half-time, Trinity almost crossed the Oxford line, but a strong defensive stint form teh whole team saw their repeated goal line attacks repelled. Half-time score 6 nil in favour of the home team.
Trinity did not take long after the interval to reduce the deficit when full-back Conor Kearns stoked over a penalty; however this was to be his only success of the day as he missed a further three kicks which could have seen the Irish side take victory. The Oxford team spent long periods of play defending deep in their own 22, but as at Richmond last week they showed not only strong individual tackling technique but good defensive organisation too. The Oxford scrum dominated for most of the match which frequently allowed fly-half Jacob Taylor (Keble) making his debut for the Blues, to clear the ball up field from penalties or free-kicks. With time almost up, Oxford’s replacement scrum-half Chris Williams (University) intercepted deep in his own half and for a moment looked as though he would go all the way to the try line, but realising he didn’t have the speed he off-loaded to centre Ed Doe (Kellogg) who was hauled down by the Trinity full-back just yards short of the line. Moments later the referee blew for full-time and Oxford had managed to hold on for the narrowest of wins to reverse their loss from March.
A quick turn around sees the Blues back in action again at Iffley Road on Tuesday night when they entertain the Newport Gwent Dragons, kick off 7.15pm.
Team Lewis Anderson, James Wisson, Ian Williams, Steven Patch, Michael Rickner, Gus Jones, James Harris, Fraser Heathcote, Matthew Shorthose, Jacob Taylor, Marcus-Alexander Neil, Gav Turner, Matt Janney, Henry Lamont, Pietie Olivier
Subs Nick Gardner (on for James Wisson), Stuart Greeff (on for Steven Patch), Tom Reeson-Price (on for Fraser Heathcote), Chris Williams (on for Matthew Shorthose), Edward Doe (on for Gav Turner), Jonathan Hudson (on for Henry Lamont), Dean Irvine, Ben Symington
Scores P: Jonathan Hudson (2)