Marlow Let 14 Point Lead Slip Against Oxford Harlequins
Marlow led at half time and extended their lead early in the 2nd half, only to see even a draw slip through their fingers with an Oxford drop kick with only 4 minutes remaining.
This season is proving tough for the lads, and this match was no different. Going into the second half it finally looked like we were going to break our duck, but it was not to be and the devastation on all the players faces after the match was plain to see.
Within 3 minutes of the kick off Oxford were penalised for kicking the ball out of the ruck and Conor Fulton made no mistake with the kick. 3-0. Oxford had a chance to reply almost immediately when we failed to gather the kick off and were then adjudged to be offside at the resulting ruck. However, the kick went wide of the posts.
Then we entered a period of play in which Oxford gave away countless penalties, which eventually led to the first yellow card on 12 minutes.
Shortly afterwards Oxford were very lucky not to have had another player yellow carded, or even worse, given a red card, for what was a 'very' late tackle on Cameron Denton, which looked like a high arm being swung above neck height from where I was standing. It was so late the Referee's sight line was already elsewhere, so unfortunately he didn't see it.
Eventually, on 22 minutes, Oxford infringed within range of their posts and Conor added another 3 points to our tally.
The first Try was the result of a charge down by Stuart Jordan just inside the Oxford half. He managed to keep the ball alive under pressure from the Oxford Full Back and was the first to dive on it once it reached the in goal area. Conor Fulton added the conversion. 13-0
On 34 minutes Oxford, despite giving away so many penalties, kept probing our defense and eventually broke through to score their first Try. However, the Conversion was missed. 13-5
In the closing minutes of the half we nearly scored a 2nd Try with Conor kicking into space on the right wing, but we were only thwarted by illegal play by Oxford, which earned them a 2nd Yellow card.
Although we tried to take advantage of our numerical superiority before the break, Oxford defended well and Stuart sensibly decided to take a certain 3 points when they infringed in front of the posts.
Half Time 16-5
The second half started well for us with Oxford continuing to gift us penalties, especially at the ruck. 19-5
However, this proved to be the turning point in the match. with Oxford getting the first of their 2 Tries on 11 minutes and the second on 25 minutes after we suffered the loss of a player through a Yellow card, for what reason I'm not sure.
The successful Conversion of the second Try bought Oxford level with us on points. 19-19.
Surely we could hold out for the last 10 minutes to at least earn a draw. However, this was not to be. On 36 minutes whilst repelling another Oxford onslaught the Referee's arm went up and Oxford were playing advantage. The place kick was unnecessary, as the Oxford Fly Half brke Marlow hearts with a drop kick in front of the posts. 19-22
Final whistle - Marlow 19 - Oxford Harlequins 22
Tries: Stuart Jordan
Conversion: Conor Fulton
Penalties: Conor Fulton (4)
1. Chris Clarke 2. Silvester Stuart 3. Eddy Smyth 4. Ben Smith 5. Max Burbridge 6. Jack Henderson 7. Max Roberts 8. Ian Thomson 9. Phillip Hellmuth 10. Conor Fulton 11. Howard Mears 12. Stuart Jordan 13. Bai Vanavasa 14. Nick Gorham 15. Cameron Denton