As the dawn rose on the rolling hills of Oxfordshire, the men of Littlemore RFC prepared themselves to once again head into battle. Fully fledged rugby matches have been hard to come by over the past year or so due to the summer break and temporary rule changes designed to limit contact between players. Training has continued where possible with new players being brought into the fold and veterans passing on their skills.

And so, on to the match – away at Abingdon. We made a flying start, repelling the kick off and setting up camp in the Abingdon 22. A storming run from Tommy (fly half) brought him within 5 metres of the line, where he popped it up off the ground to Tim (inside centre), who offloaded in the tackle to Darren Massey (flanker) to go in for the score! Abingdon took their time to build into the game thanks to the heavy pressure from our defence. Some errors in positioning and discipline crept into our game, not least David Lammin (wing) who did his best to test the referee’s understanding of “friendly” with a deliberate knock-on while trying to defend an overlap. He was dismissed for 10, harshly according to witnesses.

Abingdon did make their way around the our defence successfully and were able to take the lead at half time (10-5). The second half was more of a stop-start affair, with dropped balls and infringements at ruck time from both sides. We were able to break the line on multiple occasions, including an exhilarating breakout from our own 22 which ended with Nathan (outside centre) isolated near the try line. Soon the levelling try was scored, with repeated crash balls drawing Abingon’s defence in towards the right hand side of the post, opening up the space on the left wing which was found through some slick handling for an easy run-in try.

Fatigue then found its way into the bodies of our players, allowing Abingdon to capitalise with two further tries before the end. A good, fair match leaving plenty of room for improvement improvement for both sides. The nearby airshow provided a Red Arrow flyby just after the final whistle – a fitting celebration for the first match in a long time, as well as the start of a new campaign for the Men’s team.

Final Score

Abingdon 20 – 10 Littlemore

Man of the Match

All the Abingdon players who played for Littlemore