With the first month out of the way, it’s clear that changes are afoot at OURLFC this season. A massive recruitment effort at the end of trinity has lead to unprecedented interest in the club. Record numbers at early season training have meant that the dream of becoming a two team club has been realised for the first time in OURLFC’s history.
Although there have been challenges that go along with running an extra team, the benefits make it clear that “The Maroons” are here to stay. On the pitch they won their first two games against Warwick University 2nds and Brunel University. The Maroons came down to earth with a bump in week 3 however, losing 60-30 at home to local rivals Oxford Brookes, who are now runaway league leaders. Despite this, a number of players have performed excellently for the Maroons with Jacob Turner’s exceptional defence being a highlight.
The Blues, having stepped up to the BUCS Premier South division, have competed well. Pre-season friendlies against Oxford Brookes and Oxford Cavaliers were keenly contested, with the Blues beating their university rivals before falling to the Cavaliers in the annual Jacques Scott Memorial Match. In BUCS, a challenging first game, against an experienced Nottingham University side, proved too much for many of the club’s new players as the Blues went down 52 points to 12. Although clearly beaten, it has to be said that the game was more competitive than the score line suggested. The team bounced back in week 2 with a strong 42-24 win against Northampton University and, although at times disjointed, it was clear that the side were starting to come together.
Week 3 saw the Blues travelling away to UWIC for the first time since the club’s last stint in the Premier division back in 2003. Despite losing in the last minute, the Blues were the better side for large sections of the game, and were unlucky with a few refereeing decisions. The club will now be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing performance against Loughborough last week when they play Exeter this Wednesday.
Throughout the month some very strong individual performances, particularly from Pete Forster and Phil Satterthwaite, and with a number of key personnel, particularly Blues captain George Smibert, set to return the club’s strength can only improve. With tough fixtures ahead it’s clear that this will continue to be a challenging term for OURLFC.