The first game of the season saw the Blues face Oxford Brookes in University Parks for the first local derby in 3 years. Having never lost to Brookes, the Blues were looking to lay down a marker to the rest of the league for the coming season.
The game kicked off at 2pm in front of 100 Brookes supporters, whose enthusiasm quickly died as Captain James Clark scored in the opening minutes. With some strong carries from the forwards, the holes soon opened up allowing Clark to dive through for the opening score. He then added to his tally with the conversion from out wide. The momentum didn’t last long, with some missed tackles and silly penalties allowing the opposition to get a score back. 6-4. An impressive Brookes side followed this up with a try in the corner to take the early lead.
After a slap on the wrists from Head Coach Dan Garbutt behind the sticks, the boys began to work themselves back into the game. Some huge hits in the middle from Bob Bainbridge and Sam King allowed Jack Holmes to run over his opposite number and score in the corner. Brookes came back firing before the half only being stopped by a brilliant try saving tackle from Club President Mark Giza. The Blues lead 12-8 at the half.
The second half started with second row, Dan Smith, flying in with the tackles and earning himself a well deserved try. A great line saw him beat the first defender and carry the second over in the corner. This was quickly followed by Mark Giza putting Clark through a gap on Brookes’ line to score the easiest of tries after a well worked attacking set. Good play from the opposition and some missed tackles from the Blues allowed the visitors to score an unconverted try in the corner. 24-16 with 20 minutes left.
The last quarter began with mouthy forward, Tom Bradley, doing his best to get a yellow. The side were settled with club veteran, James Smith, burrowing over with 10 minutes to go with the game all but won. It finished 28-16 to the Blues, starting the season as they mean to go on. A mention must go to Jack Holmes with a great man of the match performance on his debut for the club.