On a dry Sunday afternoon at Iffley Road, the Whippets playing in the competition for the first time, lifted the Oxfordshire County Shield after a comprehensive 34 points to 10 win over three times winners the Blue Boar RFC. The Whippets had already beaten Didcot, Harwell and Alchester en route to the final and fully justified being crowned Champions to round off a highly successful season which saw them win 8 of their 11 fixtures, including an ‘Oxford Derby’ win against local rivals Oxford Brookes University. The first half was a very evenly contested affair, with Blues Boar’s large pack attempting to dominate up front and the smaller, faster Oxford forward’s looking to play the game with with pace and tempo. It was the Whippets who scored first after 7 minutes, when centre Kyle Grant spotted a gap in the Blue Boar’s defence and scored out wide, fly-half Tom Humberstone was off target with his conversion attempt. Just three minutes later the Blues Boar responded with a try of their own form right winger Seb Perry who finished off a well-constructed back line move, fly-half Giles Blanchard was off-target with the conversion. It looked as though the teams would be level at half-time as the clock ticked past 40 minutes, however with the last play of the half, Hugo ‘Big Cat’ Batten having come on as an early injury replacement for full-back Scott Geelan, burst through the narrowest of gaps and just beat the last defender to dot down for an excellent try, Humberstone this time adding the difficult conversion to make the score at the interval 12 points to 5 in favour of the Whippets.
The second half saw the Whippets burst in to life almost immediately from the restart as they added four further tries with none in return until the 79th minute when the Blue Boar added their second try. The Whippets played this second 40 minutes with a pace and tempo that the Blue Boar were not able to contend with, and assisted by the opposition getting on the wrong side of the referee and receiving three yellow cards put the game out of reach by the 70 minute mark as they were by then 34 points to 5 ahead. Tries came out regular intervals from fly-half Tom Humberstone, No 8 Sasha Agureev, scrum-half Rob Balfour and second row Robbie Oliver with Humberstone adding one more conversion. On the stroke of full-time the Blue Boar added their second try when replacement winger Harry Hitchings dived over in the corner to complete the scoring.
The Whippets ‘big brothers’ the Greyhounds will be looking for an OURFC double when they play Banbury in the Oxfordshire County Cup final at Iffley Road on Thursday 13th April, kick-off 7.45pm.
Team James Calderwood, Ryan Power, Ben Parker, Joe Murphy, Robert Oliver, Ross Toward, Tristan Louveaux, Alexander Agureev, Rob Balfour, Tom Humberstone, William Harris, James Povey, Kyle Grant, Rory Trevalyn-Thomas, Scott Geelan
Subs Joshua Navarajasegaran (on for Ryan Power), Isaac Uwins (on for James Calderwood), James Somerville (on for Ben Parker), Charlie Wells (on for Tom Humberstone), Hugo Batten (on for Scott Geelan), Dom Alonzi, Matthew Shorthose, Tim Stevens
Scores T: Rob Balfour (1), Tom Humberstone (1), Kyle Grant (1), Hugo Batten (1), Robert Oliver (1), Alexander Agureev (1) D: Tom Humberstone (2)