The Men’s Blues opened their account with a scrappy yet deserved 31 points to 20 win over a gutsy and committeed Mystic River side at Pine Banks Park on Sunday afternoon. With clear blues skies and temperatures a pleasant 22 degrees, conditions were perfect for rugby aided by the recently installed articifical surface, and after just 4 minutes the home side put down a marker when their fly-half dummied his way over for a simple try, dotting down under the posts with the left wing adding the conversion. Just four minutes later following a penalty awarded at a 5 metre scrum, scrum-half Tom Kershaw tapped quickly and scooted through the home defence to score a try which fly-half Tom Dyer converted to level the scores. After 15 minutes Mystic River retook the lead from the boot of their winger with a well sruck penalty, however it was the Blues who went into the interval ahead, when following a period of concerted pressure in the Mystic River 22, No 8 Ollie Adams burst over from short range to score an unconverted try and make the score at the break 12 poinst to 10.
The home side came out for the second 40 pumped up and were again the first to score, when the winger added a second penalty, before the inside centre intercepted a loose Oxford pass to race away and score under the posts from 50 metres, the winger was once again succesful with the straight forward conversion to take them out to an 8 point lead. Both sides started to make changes as players started to tire and the strength of the Oxford bench started to tell in the final quarter as they scored three tries. First to cross for the Blues was second row Hugo McPherson, who powered his way over breakign a couple fo tackles on the way, Dyer again converted. Then right wing Dan Barley, who looked sharp all afternoon, dived over in the corner for an unconverted try, before the ‘coup de gras’ was provided by captain Conor Kearns who dummied his way past defenders before slamming the ball down under the posts, allowing Dyer the simplest of conversions to make the finla score 31 points to 20 in favour of the vistors.
Whilst the win was pleasing, there is still plenty to work on over the next week, as the squad prepare for their next fixture against the Collegiate All Americans at Philadelphia next Saturday afternoon.
Team Lewis Anderson, John Aaron Henry, Kieran Ball, Charlie Pozniak, Hugo McPherson, Rob Menzies-Wilson, William Thornton, Ollie Adams, Tom Kershaw, Tom Dyer, Robbie Fraser, Rob Qinlan, Alex Hogg, Daniel Barley, Thom Foster
Subs Noah Miller (on for Kieran Ball), Ben Parker (on for John Aaron Henry), Michael Gorry (on for Lewis Anderson), George Warr (on for Charlie Pozniak), Sam Edgerley (on for Tom Kershaw), Conor Kearns (on for Alex Hogg), Dan Moor (on for Robbie Fraser), Sebastian Haddock (on for Rob Qinlan)
Scores T: Hugo McPherson (1), Conor Kearns (1), Tom Kershaw (1), Daniel Barley (1), Ollie Adams (1) C: Tom Dyer (3)