Brighton 0 – 74 Maroons

Tries: Milnthorpe 3, Peplinski 3, Greenan-Barrett 3, Yeomans, Smith-Dan-Smith, Grovesner, Woodcock, Lewis

Goals: Milnthorpe 8, Lewis

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, Oxford IIs were treated to a trip away to sunny Brighton for a bit of rugby league. After a comprehensive warm-up which covered all the essentials (the rules and an obligatory hammy stretch), the Maroons were fired up and ready to go. Unfortunately this resulted in an opening ten minutes in which Oxford failed to complete a set, disregarding any notion of ‘earning the right’ and instead opting to settle into the game with an 18-tackle defensive shift within 20 metres of the visitors’ try-line. Luckily, some muscular defence from Captain Peplinski, Will Osborne, and our pet Shithouse saw off Brighton’s runners, and the failure to score after three back-to-back sets really marked the high point of their afternoon.

Having learnt that a repeat set really is a repeat set, Oxford finally got into gear and began to stretch the Brighton defence with some hard lines from the middles and some lovely distribution from the pivots, finally being rewarded after Magic Peplinski went over to score Oxford’s first. Apparently in Brighton tries are a bit like buses; you wait and wait and then suddenly fourteen come along all at once. Once meat pies were scented, the Oxford boys were forming an orderly queue to have a crack at the Brighton defence, unleashing such flair that Pedro “Shithouse” Pinedong foolishly tried to limit the Oxford attack to ‘one silly pass per tackle’. Happily he was promptly ignored, much as Lewis “brick hands” Greenan-Barrett ignored a four-on-none overlap to go over for one of his hat-trick of tries. He can’t pass that lad, but he knows where the white line is.

By the time the second half came, Oxford were already building a lead of more than twenty points. On the fringes, Will Milnthorpe was like a man possessed, lapping up the space and getting so excited that he was begging to carry at the big men in the middle; his mazy running alongside sumptuous service from Alex Lowetski saw him bag three tries of his own, including an impressive solo effort from a scrum just inside the visitor’s 10 metre line. Oxford began to run riot, scoring 4 tries in only three tackles, as the kick-off returns became 70 metre tries. Dan Smith joined in by demonstrating that pivots can also be incapable of passing or changing direction as he grabbed a try of his own.

The Maroon’s nice day out only got nicer when new men Joe Grosvenor and Ben Lewis also got on the score sheet, and subsequently when Pietr Walnutshaft got written off by the smallest bloke on their team, who he outweighed by at least 30 kilos. After an unblemished defensive shift, and a show of flair and threat in attack, the match was rounded off in dramatic fashion; Oxford were three metres out from the Brighton line, the back line had more shape than a nursery playset, when Jimmy ‘I’m not a hooker’ Yeomans decided to do the dishonourable thing and jump from the play-the-ball to crash over to add his own name to the scoresheet. With Milnthorpe and Ben Lewis enjoying a good day from the kicking tee, Oxford ended 74 points to the good, and promptly decided to celebrate at the Home of the Roast, Toby Carvery. After unspeakably generous portions of wonderfully wonky yorkies, perfectly ruffled roasties, heaps of succulent meat and a quick photo shoot, Oxford hit the road back to Oxford, after a very nice day was had by all.