London Skolars 24 Oxford 31

12th August 2014

LONDON SKOLARS 24

OXFORD 31

ANDREW JACKSON at Pennine Way

 

Skolars’ defeat at the hands of Oxford, together with other results meant that already slim play-off hopes were ended after they yet again came back after letting in tries early in the game.

 

On a blustery afternoon Skolars’ third home venue of the season, it was Oxford who used the conditions more effectively. Nothing flashy or risky, just sensible kicking that didn’t allow Skolars to return the ball after a sixth tackle kick. In contrast, Skolars rarely found touch and with Oxford’s strength being their backs that was a mistake, the scrums awarded count of 9-4 in Skolars’ favour underlining the difference in approach.

 

With Oxford’s long injury list to the pack, their were considerably lighter than their opponents, but quick passing meant that Skolars had a lot of chasing to do, with Rory Sharatt and the two-half backs working hard to create opportunities. Oxford regularly exposed Skolars’ defence on the flanks in the latter stages of sets.

 

They also took advantage of a loose pass from Courtney Davies near his own line for Tommy Connick to dash to the line to open the scoring. Skolars went close when David Williams was held up over the line. But Oxford were able to attack from deep in their own half, Sam Egerton showing pace with a run to the halfway line before Jimmy Rowland brushed aside James Duckworth to score the dark blues’ second try.

 

Callum Mulkeen prevented a Skolars’ try with a knockdown 10 metres out, but the reprieve was short. Two passes from the scrum saw Davies cut through the defence to score for Skolars. But that was all Skolars could show in attack in the first half. The visitors went in at the break with a commanding lead with two further tries. Andrew Hoggins pushed his way past weak defending and then Sean Morris come into the line on the left and get to the tryline with no defender near him.

 

Oxford had controlled the Skolars’ pack in the first half, but spent a large part of the second holding them at bay, with Anthony Cox and Ryan McDonald both making regular inroads. But it took a kick to break the determined defence. Davies kicked high to the left and Mufaro Mvududu plucked the ball from the air to score.

 

Lamont Bryan lost the ball on the first tackle in one set, but soon made amends as he forced his way over. With Marcus Brooker off at half-time with a suspected broken hand, Luke Newton limped off leaving Tony Benson with few opportunities to spell his charges. Skolars forced a couple of drop goals but couldn’t turn pressure into points. With seven minutes remaining Jordan Rice put over a drop goal to increase the margin to seven points. That turned out to be vital when an Anthony Cox break down the right was continued by Iliess Macani. Davies kicked his fourth conversion to narrow the margin to a point.

 

A poor kick-off saw Skolars on the half-way line on the first tackle, but they couldn’t make possession count and lost the ball in an attempt to break the defence.

 

The first game at Iffley Road had seen Oxford a point ahead in the last minute before adding a final try and they repeated that feat in the dying seconds. Tommy Connick kicked the ball sideways to the left 20 metres out. Whether he was looking to drill the ball into touch and whether the winger knew his plans is uncertain, but Egerton picked up the ball, drew in the defence and offloaded to Sam Blaney who ran to the tryline to seal the win.

 

LONDON SKOLARS

1 John Paxton

3 Iliess Macani

32 Kazeem Fatouri-Edwards

33 Mufaro Mvududu

34 James Duckworth

7 Danny Yates

6 Courtney Davies

21 Michael Sykes

9 Martyn Smith

20 Tely Pelo

31 Lamont Bryan

12 Will Lovell

10 David Williams

 

Subs (all used)

16 Sam Druce

11 Anthony Cox

13 Louis Robinson

8 Ryan McDonald

 

Tries: Davies (21),  Mvududu (51), Bryan (69), Macani (74)

Goals: Davies 4/4

 

OXFORD

1 Sean Morris

20 Yannic Parker

5 Callum Mulkeen

3 Marcus Brooker

21 Sam Egerton

7 Jimmy Rowland

6 Tommy Connick

24 Tom Davies

17 Rory Sharratt

34 Luke Evans

9 Alex Thompson

12 Andrew Hoggins

18 Jordan Rice

 

Subs (all used)

14 Sam Blaney

34 Ed Hayles

22 Graham O’Keefe

27 Luke Newton

 

Tries:  Connick (3), Rowland (17), Hoggins (27), Morris (34), Blaney (80)

Goals: Rowland 4/4, Connick 1/1

Drop-goal: Rice

 

Penalty count: 4-3

 

Half-time: 6-24

Referee: Peter Brooke

Attendance: 186

 

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 6-18, 6-24, 12-24, 18-24, 18-25, 24-25, 24-31


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