GLOUCESTERSHIRE ALL GOLDS 38 – 10 OXFORD
Gloucestershire All Golds celebrated three personal milestones with a big win over local rivals Oxford.
James Walter and Lewis Reece both celebrated their 50th games for the club while Steve Parry crossed for his 100th career try and led the side to a win that had looked in doubt until the final quarter.
Prop forward Walter and centre Reece had contrasting fortunes in their games. While Walter could celebrate a rare try, Reece had an early spell in the sin bin but returned to play his part in the All Golds’ ninth win of the season in all competitions, which equals their best return set in 2015.
Parry’s scores came at crucial times, giving the All Golds a half-time lead and then sparking a four try blitz in little under 15 minutes to bury a tired and depleted Oxford outfit.
There were only two points between the sides after a typically tight opening 40 minutes.
The All Golds got off to the best possible start, scoring on their first set after Courtney Davies’ kick to the corner found Mo Agoro all alone and the winger made no mistake.
Oxford got back into the game thanks to an excellent pass from Scott Fleming that put former All Gold, Marcus Brooker, in at the corner for an unconverted try. Callum Windley was pulling the strings and with Fleming always looking for the gap, it seemed inevitable that they would score again with an abundance of possession they were given.
With 13 minutes gone, another returning old boy, Casey Canterbury, shot through a hole in the defensive line to score but again Harvey Burnett was unable to add the extras.
Reece was sin-binned five minutes later, and perhaps lucky not to escape further sanction for persistent offences, but the All Golds weathered the period he was off the field and Parry reached his landmark try with a typical drive over the line from close range after Harry Kidd had been stopped on the line by the Oxford defence.
Davies added the goal to give the All Golds a 10-8 lead and they had at least three gilt-edged chances to extend that lead into a comfortable advantage.
Agoro was unable to ground another Davies kick to the corner in the All Golds’ next set then Chris Barlow made a superb break down the left but lost the ball close to the line as he unwisely tried a pass with tackles in the bank.
Then on the last tackle, Agoro beat two players on a sixpence and then another to get close to the line. He had the ball knocked from his grasp and, in a comedy of errors, two home players knocked on in the in-goal as the referee ruled play on.
The big question as the players retired to the changing rooms was whether the All Golds would rue those squandered chances in the second period.
After a scrappy fifteen minutes’ play, Oxford were level thanks to a Burnett penalty but moments later, a loose pass in All Golds territory, led to a penalty and then a try by Harrison Elliott from a flat pass by Parry on the goal-line, converted by Davies to restore the home advantage.
From then on, the All Golds turned the screw and Oxford, by now down to two fit reserves, began to struggle.
A good kick chase won a goal-line dropout and Parry somehow got the ball down despite a gang of tacklers. At the end of the next set, Barlow won the contest to Davies’ kick and touched down for a 26-10 lead.
In the final ten minutes, Walter powered over for his try after Oxford had coughed up possession thanks to some crunching defence before the All Golds swept downfield with some marvellous team play and Billy Brickhill sliced through for a try. Davies added his fifth goal of the game.
There was still time for Walter to steam straight through the Oxford line but he chose to pass instead of taking on the full back and the chance to put the icing on the cake was lost.
ALL GOLDS: Phil Cowburn; Mo Agoro, Lewis Reece, Brad Kislingbury, Chris Barlow; Courtney Davies, Jack Mitchell; James Walter, Steve Parry, Harry Kidd; Chris Worrall, Joe McClean; Harrison Elliott; Subs (All used); Billy Brickhill, Brad Hargreaves, Malikhi Lloyd-Jones, Richard Jones
Tries: Agoro (1), Parry (19, 62), Elliott (57), Barlow (65), Walter (71), Brickhill (76)
Goals: Davies 5 from 7
Sin Bin: Reece (17) persistent offences
OXFORD: Kane Riley; Scott Fleming, Harvey Burnett, Marcus Brooker, Adam Dent; Bradley Moules, Callum Windley; Jake Joynt, Casey Canterbury, Dwaine McRae; Jordan Siddons, Tom Alexander; Jonathan Payne; Subs (All used); Josh Kittrick, Anthony Cox, Francis Welsh, Mark Hayes
Tries: Brooker (8), Canterbury (13)
Goals: Burnett 1 from 3
4-0, 4-4, 4-8, 10-8, 10-10, 16-10, 22-10, 26-10, 32-10, 38-10
All Golds Man of the Match: Steve Parry
Penalty count: 10-8
Referee: Michael Mannifield