Hawks – up for the challenge ahead
National One appears to be two leagues within a league. The top ten and bottom six playing in a competition of their own. Major surprises with both Rosslyn Park and Esher losing to Blaydon. Coventry having recruited well continue to struggle to match their expectations, Ampthill & District continue to set the pace.
The league title is still up for grabs alongside the three relegation places to be worked out between Cinderford, Wharfedale, Loughborough Students, Blaydon, Hull Ionians and Henley Hawks.
In February we have the visits to Plymouth Albion and Blaydon within 8 days a total of 1,026 miles and a cost in the region of £3,250 without overnight accommodation – a tough life in National One!
The Hawks are finding it difficult to maintain depth in their squad because of repeated injuries which have taken time to clear despite careful management involving six players. The talent pool has also been affected by the calls from England representative sides on Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, Jack Willis and Tom West, Some mid-season recruitment has bolstered the squad in the shape of Tom Bliss, Basil Strang and James Davies and can improve the strength of the squad when they have settled in. The acquisition of Rob Bell who is now the leading try scorer with six tries in seven appearances has been invaluable,
Arrangements with London Irish re dual registered players has not resulted in strengthening the squad consistently as they have been in demand to bolster their Premiership league matches to a degree not anticipated pre-season
The squad has a good morale and are up for the fight throughout the next 13 league matches which I am sure we will be good to watch. You never know it may come to that match with Rosslyn Park on 30 April before a very large crowd!
Bulls start the Oxfordshire Cup campaign and look to secure Zoo Sports Premier Division position
The Bulls continue the campaign to secure their place in the Zoo Sports Premier League with 8 further matches remaining with four wins required from these.
On Saturday 6 February Grove RFC is the destination for the opening round in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup with a 2.00pm start.
Luke Harding has left to join Reading Abbey RFC to coach the Colts as part of his RFU Coaching qualification. Adam Lubbock has accepted the role as assistant to Andy Jones.
Vikings – seeking survival in BBO 1
The Vikings have eight tough matches to come to secure their place in Berks, Bucks and Oxon Division One. The key is player availability when attempting to field potentially five teams on a Saturday. Seb Wylder and Sean Fleming have done a great job in sourcing players from far a wide to keep the Vikings going.
Bears top the Thames Valley Invitation League (TVIL) with a 100% record
The Bears move to the top of table with an 80 – 0 win over the Beaconsfield Bandits and it looks very likely that old rivalries will be renewed with Chinnor Vets with two matches to come before the end of the season.
Women secure RFU Championship South status
The Women have secured there place in the RFU Championship South after a 17 – 17 Draw with Wasps Ladies II. This result was followed up with a solid performance and win, 15 – 3 at home to Cheltenham Ladies. The final league fixture is at Hove Ladies on Sunday 31 January with a 2.00pm kick off.
The RFU National Women’s Senior Cup will commence shortly. Visit the website for further information
Colts off to Devon
The Colts are participating in the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Colts League and the RFU National U17 Cup where they face the long trip to Ivybridge in Devon on Sunday 31 January for a 2.00pm kick off.
The RFU National U17s Semi-Finals (South West/London & South East) will be staged at Dry Leas on Sunday 17 April with four matches in the Cup, Plate, Shield and Bowl.
Vultures’ commence Oxfordshire Vets Cup
The Vultures will start their campaign in the Oxfordshire Vets Cup shortly with the final to be played at Dry Leas towards the end of April.
The Vultures have a numbers of interesting fixtures coming up with matches against Coventry Very Occasionals, Barnes Gentlemen and Esher Expendables.