On the 25th of November 2015, 13 Mighty Maroons travelled up the M40 to face an also-undefeated Warwick 1st team side in a highly anticipated top of the table clash. Despite the bare 13 because of a mounting club injury list, the squad was full of rugby league talent and the lads were confident of getting a result. Spirits were boosted before kick-off even further through the unexpected yet welcome arrival of Henry ‘the woodsman’ Woods, giving Oxford a substitute. What a luxury!
Held up en route and after a brief 10-minute warm up, the game kicked off and Oxford immediately started to show their class despite hurried preparations. After some bruising work from middles Joe ‘Mash like mash potato’ Mash, Lawrence ‘LOL’ Middleton, and Josh ‘bigger twin’ Blackaby to put Oxford on the front foot, pivot – and captain for the day – Alex ‘porridge’ Babb took to the ball to the line and put Tolly ‘try-machine’ Rose through a gap for him to run 50 metres and score. The extras were converted and Oxford returned to their half set up to receive the coming kick. The boys in blue today (not their usual mighty maroon because of a clash with the Warwick kit) were just getting started.
Two further first half tries followed from the mighty Maroons off the back of more bruising work from the middles and the rest of the forward pack, setting the platform for some outrageously jazzy shift. Zac ‘calm it lads it’s only second tackle’ Keane crossed in the corner whilst riding tackles like a cowboy does a bull in a rodeo (to the dismay of his brother playing for the other team), and the try machine produced once again with a great solo effort from deep in Oxford territory.
Come half time the mighty Maroons were 18-0 up against a well-structured Warwick team with some size in the middle. Good shape, even better intensity and desire in the contact from everyone, and some truly valiant goal line defence were all key in the score being as it was after the first stanza.
The second half started cagily, the two sides feeling each other out and errors ruining the flow of the game somewhat. Oxford made their lives particularly hard for themselves with a string of high shots which the referee didn’t think twice about pinging us for. Despite some superb endeavour and organisation from the maroons on their own goal line, after defending what must have been the straight fifth set the pressure told as their dummy half managed to squeeze through and get the ball over the whitewash.
If Warwick had thought that this was their way into the game though, they were mistaken. Oxford rallied and came back at the hosts. Some barnstorming runs from Luke ‘better rig’ Blackaby and Phil ‘I like making my opposite number feel bad about his life sometimes’ Tucciarone, as well as some stone hard defence from the Acreman again laid the platform for the Oxford back 3 to run riot. After some expert steering to a mark by Cameron ‘Monty’ Montgomery, Oxford looked to play and some great shape and ‘utilisation of the dummy runner’ (cheers Steve-O), the maroons went out the back to Paul ‘omelette du fromage’ Blanchard who went wide to Keane who stormed into the corner.
A couple of close calls from Andras ‘the Hungarian hit man’ Sandor and 2 further tries from the try machine to bring his day’s total to 4 and his season total to 4,626,373 put Oxford well in the driving seat and the maroons saw the game out from there, careful to keep Warwick to only 6 despite a yellow card to Mash for persistent team high shots. I suppose if you’re gonna get a yellow card, smashing your opposite number is as good a reason as any.
The referee blew his whistle to cap a seriously hard 80 minutes of rugby league for the 14 brave warriors in blue, the game ending 30-6.
A special mention must go out to Rory ‘head conkers’ Farquarson for the biggest collision of the season to date. See (https://youtu.be/YGa3_EvIShA) for a rough idea.
Upon the game’s close, we caught up with captain Porridge for his thoughts. “At the end of the day, despite our numerical disadvantage, we just rugby’d them a bit better than they rugby’d us and ultimately spent more time in their magic points rectangle than they did in ours. Big effort from all the lads today, especially the forwards who all did 80 minutes – except Mash, what a prick. Top stuff. We’re gonna enjoy a well-earned chandy or two in Park End tonight.”
We also caught up with our American bosh-machine Tucciarone, who had this to say: “After about 15 minutes they stopped running right.” Cheers Phil, very insightful.
The Maroons remain undefeated and have built some serious momentum for the upcoming game against the tabs. A great day all round for OURLFC all round considering the Blues’ thrashing of Birmingham.