Monday, 16 December 2019

Waghorn wraps up comfortable home victory for Vikings

A MUCH-CHANGED Vikings side ran out comfortable winners in their home clash with Oxford 2nds last Saturday.

The Vikings made a solid start uphill with the sloped pitch favouring Oxford. Chris Darke opened the scoring for Henley with an incisive drive through the opposition, swiftly followed by Toby Stephens breaking three tackles to go through and score under the posts, to allow Henley to convert and go 12-0 ahead with Ollie Portch sealing the conversion

Oxford rallied and dominated the next period with a sustained attack on Henley’s line to eventually score an unconverted try. An early retirement was enforced for Henley’s Nick Smith through injury.

At the kick-off following Oxford’s try, a catch by Henley’s Chris Fisher saw a re-galvanised Vikings proceed to punish Oxford with a host of tries by Tom Durrant flying over the line to score the first of what would be a hat-trick of tries, followed by the ebullient Micky Molloy forging through the Oxford pack to the try-line. With a sterling performance by John Clarke with three assists overall, he enabled number eight Richard Webb to storm through for the fourth try and Durrant stepped up again to convert his own final try before half time.

With a half-time score of 36-5 in the Vikings favour, Oxford came out strongly in the second half and were quick to score a converted try and given the reversal of incline did well but were eventually overwhelmed by some fine passing play by Henley and a good run down the wing by Portch to score, followed by Durrant for his third of the day.

Joining Henley in the second half, Charlie Chavasse provided some solid and impressive work along with Tony Attfield and Rowan Fuller mauling well which kept the Henley pack steady and in control. A charge through the middle by the Henley captain Craig Johnson brought yet another try to clearly subdue a beaten Oxford, who despite an increasing injury count, mustered what they could to fight back.

With a final try by Henley’s Waghorn, the game was brought to an early end by the referee as injuries on both sides had taken their toll and Oxford were finally reduced to just 12 players.

The Vikings will now be aiming to win both their December games to move into the top half of the table, despite having an effective 20 points deduction for missing two games at the start of the season.

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