Image shows Tom Gaffney on his way to his sensational length-of-the-field try for the All Golds against Oxford Cavaliers. Picture courtesy of Lewis Mitchell Photography.
OXFORD CAVALIERS 16 – 50 ALL GOLDS
Chris Wilson At Oxford RFC
The All Golds made the best possible start to the Super 5s with a 50-16 win over Oxford Cavaliers at a sweltering North Hinksey.
The game was in the balance at the interval with the All Golds holding a slender 20-16 lead but three tries in ten minutes shortly after the restart eased the nerves and allowed the All Golds to manage the game in the heat.
The All Golds’ defensive effort has to be praised as they conceded just three tries to a free-scoring Oxford side that was kept scoreless for the entire second half.
They also were able to profit as the Cavaliers grew weary towards the end of the game with some sensational long-distance tries with efforts from Semeti Maratauki on his debut and Tom Gaffney, who ran the full length of the pitch, real highlights of a good performance from the men in black.
Both sides got to their kicks in the early exchanges with errors being few and far between but it was the All Golds who had the first chance, Aedan Coleman racing over but failing to ground the ball to the referee’s satisfaction.
But from the resulting goal-line dropout, Ryan Tanner forced his way over to open the scoring. However, Oxford replied immediately with Louis Richards dummying through and racing to the line, despite Coleman’s attempts to prevent him grounding the ball. Rees Goggs added the extras to level the scores.
Ash Lewis’ restart found touch and Luke Stephens somehow forced his way over through three or four tacklers to score. But Oxford were soon back on terms as smart passing down the line gave Luke Manning time and space to touch down and level the scores.
Parity lasted only a few minutes as, this time, Coleman made no mistake after he broke through inside his own half and outpaced the cover to the line before Dean Cooper went over after his kick had been spilled by the Cavaliers’ defence to open up a two score lead of 20-10.
A lack of concentration from the All Golds before the break gave Manning the chance to score straight from a scrum move, Goggs’ conversion cut the visitors’ lead at half time to four points.
The All Golds came out of the half-time huddle with a purpose and it took just three minutes for Dieter Thomas to spy a gap from dummy half and weave his way over. They extended their lead ten minutes later in stunning fashion as Maratauka was given space outside his opposite number and he scorched down the field to the line.
He was over again moments later but this score was a walk-in as the All Golds spread the ball wide and outflanked the Oxford defence.
The Cavaliers were looking out on their feet at this point as the All Golds pace cut them open first out wide and then up the middle but both sides then began to tire. Errors multiplied and the game began to lose its shape with the players naturally feeling the scorching temperatures.
There seemed little likelihood of further scores as time wound down especially when Tom Gaffney picked up a kick through on his own goalline. But he picked his way through the kick chase and set off down the field leaving defenders trailing in his wake until he crossed Oxford’s line for a spectacular length of the field effort.
From the restart, Lewis broke downfield forcing Oxford to concede a penalty and from the field position earned, Brandon Lamb forced his way over, Michael Holden converting to bring up the half century and conclude an entertaining game for which credit should go to both sets of players.
CAVALIERS: Arron Lambourne; Rees Goggs Myles Everett, Mikhail Ushakoff, Luke Manning,; Louis Richards, Stuart Waknell; Tom Davies, Bradley Cox, Waisake Roko; James Jones, Jamie Cummings; Freddie Myatt; INTERCHANGE: Sam Earle, Connor McCaffery, Jonjo McAnulty, Martin Pike.
Tries; Richards (15), Manning (24, 37)
Goals; Goggs 2 from 3
ALL GOLDS: Josh Llewelyn; Tom Gaffney, Aedan Coleman, Brandon Lamb, Michael Holden; Jack Uren, Kieran Webb; Mitchell Dent, Luke Stephens, Ash Lewis (Capt); Ryan Tanner, Dean Cooper, Marcus Brown; INTERCHANGE: Jacob Morris, Dieter Thomas, Ben Roche, Alasdair Anderson, Semeti Maratauki, Jack Petelo, Sam Hodge.
Tries; Tanner (6), Stephens (19), Coleman (29), Cooper (34), Thomas (43), Maratauki (51, 54), Gaffney (73), Lamb (77)
Goals: Lewis 2 from 3, Lamb 1 from 2, Holden 4 from 4
Scoring sequence: 0-6, 6-6, 6-10, 10-10, 10-16, 10-20, 16-20, (HT), 16-26, 16-32, 16-38, 16-44, 16-50, (FT)
Referee: Stuart Orton
All Golds remaining Super Fives Fixtures
Rd 3 – 14 July: Reading Raiders (H)
Rd 4 – 21 July: Somerset Vikings (H)
Rd 5 – 28 July: Swindon St George (A)
4 August: Semi Finals
11 August: Grand Final