Vikings Victorious In Midweek Clash With Oxford University
Oxford’s first fixture since their tour to the US was a hastily rearranged match with Richmond Vikings after Gloucester withdrew. It was a welcome addition to the calendar for the Vikings whose annual fixtures against the Varsity sides are some of the most competitive.
Richmond started strongly, trapping their opposition in their own 22 for 7 minutes until Callum Grant opened the score, scampering in round the ruck. Chisholm added the extras 7-0.
The home side’s indiscipline in the next 10 minutes let the students off a number of times and awarded them a penalty, which was dully converted; 7-3.
Despite Richmond maintaining the majority of the territory and Owen, Hudson Goodrick-Clarke and Harison Edwards adding some barnstorming runs, the period before half-time was somewhat scrappy from both sides and littered with forward passes and knock-ons.
The University’s scrum performed well despite the quality of the Richmond pack. However, when the referee penalised them, at a Richmond scrum, the home side kicked themselves up the pitch. Crawford took the lineout well, Hudson broke through the centre and popped to Chisholm at full pace who sprinted for the corner before converting his own try; 14-3.
The half finished with little further drama and no further scores.
The second half commenced much as the first ended with Oxford’s scrum dominant, but the Richmond lineout performing well. The first bit of excitement came on 5 minutes when some hand bags saw Oxford reduced to 14. From the resultant penalty, Richmond found touch and from the lineout mauled it over for their third, courtesy of Callum Grant. Chisholm slotted the conversion, 21-3.
As Richmond began to utilise their large bench, Oxford upped the speed of their attack, but the Londoner’s defence proved resolute. Pressure was relieved following a huge hit from Corradi, a scrum penalty and a booming clearance kick from the home side.
In the final quarter, it was Richmond who were shown a yellow as Kovacic was sent to the bin for a high tackle. None-the-less they kept up their hard hitting strong carrying and despite Oxford having the best of the possession, the Richmond wall kept the students out.
Back up to a full complement, Richmond regained the impetus and looked dangerous probing the Oxford 22 with 10 minutes to go, But it was to prove a topsy turvy end as Richmond’s lack of pragmatism, put themselves under unnecessary pressure and allowed Oxford to attack once more.
As Richmond were determined to score one more time and Oxford were desperate for a consolation try, so began the most exciting period of the match. Having conceded a free kick at the final scrum, followed by a penalty against them, Richmond stole possession following the resultant lineout and made one final attack.
A high tackle gave Richmond a penalty after 80 had gone on the clock. Platty tapped and the London side made it to the Oxford 22, before Oxford turned over and despite an excess of men lost the ball in sight of the Richmond line. The match saved a breathless period of excitement for the dying moments, but the final score line remained 21-3.
Goodrick-Clarke, J Townsend, Curran, Lee, Crawford, Dow, Sargeant, H Edwards, Grant, Swan, Rath, Owen, Hudson, Osborne, Chisholm, Corradi, R Townsend, Blows, S Edwards, Innis, Maman, Reakes, Clough, Outhwaite, Harris, O’Sullivan, Platt, Kovacic
Ball, Henry, Miller, Fifita, McPherson, Pozniak, Saull, Adams, Kershaw, Kearns, Moor, Hogg, Barley, Stileman, Edgerley, Elvin Parke, Gorry, Warr, Beaufils, David, Moorby, Moore.