Essex given a big scare after the interval
ESSEX moved top of the Pool One table in Division Three as they held off a late
Oxfordshire comeback to make it two wins from two from the competition.
Essex appeared to be in cruise control as they raced into a 30-7 lead at Henley RFC, only for the hosts to come roaring back – and onyl a missed conversion at the death stopped them snatching an unlikely win, as they went down 30-29.
Oxfordshire missed two early penalties, but the visitors made no such mistake to move 3-0 ahead through Henry Bird before a Tom Simpson try and another for the impressive Bami Coker made the score 17-0.
Oxford Harlequins fullback Ed Yeates got his side on the board with a neat score, converted by Ed Phillips, but that was only a brief respite as a Bird penalty, and tries from Lewis Pratley and hooker Marcus Bloomberg moved Essex 23 points ahead.
But George Primmett and George Lane dotted down and Roddy Giles slotted a penalty to get Oxfordshire within six.
When winger Harry Burn then crossed at the death, the hosts had a chance to snatch the win but Phillips couldn’t slot the conversion. Elsewhere,
fell to their second defeat in as many weeks as
cruised to a 30-10 victory.
Bucks had suffered a heartbreaking 32-25 defeat to Oxfordshire in their opener a week ago but bounced back in style to put the Midlands outfit to the sword.
Pat Ockendon was the star of the show as he ran in two tries for the hosts to keep them within striking distance of top spot.
And in Division Three’s other game, edged their way past 19-13 thanks to an impressive second-half showing.
Jamie Diggle grabbed the game’s opening score for Sussex, but two Nick Wackwitz penalties put Berkshire ahead, and he then converted Omar Ellaboudy’s try.
But two Carles Casanova penalties and a late try handed the visitors the win.