Penguins Run Out Winners In 75 Point Thriller

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Hooker Nick Gardner leaves a Penguin floundering in his wake

Wednesday night was blessed with some good weather for a change and the Blues and Penguins provided a feast of running rugby for the enthusiastic crowd who headed down to Iffley Road. The Blues came out of the blocks at break neck speed and were 21 points ahead in the same number of minutes with three converted trys. First to cross was second row James Bloxham, making a guest appearance for the Blues when he burst clear following a break from hooker Nick Gardner (St Anne’s), Captain Jacob Taylor (Keble) adding the conversion. Next to go over was scrum-half Matt Shorthose (University) who rounded off a flowing move to dive under the posts, again Taylor was successful with the extras. To finish off a fine quarter for the Blues, the referee awarded a penalty try to Oxford, much to the delight of the front row trio of Lewis Anderson (Trinity), Nick Gardner (St Anne’s) and Ian Williams (Kellogg), Taylor once again kicked the straight forward conversion. The Penguins were looking a little shell-shocked at this stage but the next quarter belonged to them as the levelled the scores at the interval with three converted trys of their own in reply. Wing Rhys Crane was first to go over following a quick tap penalty, then flanker Mike Denbee who enjoyed an industrious first half for the visitors scored two fines trys, all three converted by the impressive Penguins fly-half Andy Hall.

The second half promised much of the same, both coaches made numerous changes to their starting XV’s at the break, but it was the visitors bench that proved to have more depth as they scored four more trys in the second half, the pick being a brace from wing Joe Ajuwa who showed impressive pace and power to leave defenders clutching at thin air or lying in his wake. Andy Hall who kicked well off the tee all night converted three of the four to end with a personal haul of 12 points and make the Penguins final tally 47. The Blues young bench players will have learnt a valuable lesson form this second half and were rewarded when the referee once again headed under the posts to award the home side a second penalty try, duly converted by Taylor. This made the final score 47 points to 28 in favour of the Invitational side and saw their Captain Doug Abbott lift the Alan Wright Trophy for the third year in succession for the Penguins.

The Blues now have just one fixture remaining in the 2013/14 season at home to Bristol on Friday 14th March, kick off 7.30pm.

Team Lewis Anderson, Nick Gardner, Ian Williams, Steven Patch, Fraser Heathcote, Alexander Macdonald, Gus Jones, Matthew Shorthose, Jacob Taylor, George Postlethwaite, Henry Hughes, Sebastian Williams, Sam Dumigan, Will Boardman

Subs Ben Symington (on for Nick Gardner), Dean Irvine (on for Lewis Anderson), Guy Western (on for Gus Jones), Henry de Berker (on for Matthew Shorthose), Sam Arras (on for Sebastian Williams), Julien Morlet (on for Alexander Macdonald), Harry Beale (on for Fraser Heathcote), James Bennington (on for George Postlethwaite), James Scaiffe (on for Ian Williams), Michael Hannah

Scores T: Matthew Shorthose (1) C: Jacob Taylor (4)

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