Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Missed conversion proves decisive

OXFORDSHIRE went down to a narrow defeat against Essex at Dry Leas last Saturday in the Bill Beaumont Cup.

After defeating local rivals Buckinghamshire in the first round of the competition last week Oxfordshire faced an Essex team which had had a resounding victory 37-8 at Mansfield over Notts, Lincs and Derby the previous week.

The first half of this game was witness to this victory with Essex, courtesy of two tries a penalty and a conversion building a 15-7 lead with the home side only getting on board in the closing stages thanks to a fine individual try from Henley’s Harry Burn running through from near half way from the right wing. This was converted by Eddie Phillips. The visitors put Oxfordshire on the rack at the start of the second half with a penalty and a try which left them trailing 23-15.

It was then that the hosts came strongly back into the game, firstly when fullback Ed Yates latched on to a loose ball to run through a statuesque defence to touch down under the posts for Phillips to convert to be followed by a well executed driving maul which enabled Henley’s George Primett to secure a touchdown. With a conversion from the touch line by Chinnor’s Roddy Giles Oxfordshire had closed the deficit to 21-23. This revival was set back when Essex recovered their composure to stretch their lead with a converted try.

Oxfordshire were now dominating possession and hammering away at the Essex line. With less than five minutes remaining they started their best handling movement of the game moving the ball across the Essex 22 from left to right for Joe Mills to squeeze over to touch down close to the corner flag to make the score 29-30 in favour of Essex.

Giles’s attempted conversion was to be the last kick of the game and the match but unfortunately his kick wavered at the last minute to graze the near upright pushing a valiant attempt wide.

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