RUGBY LEAGUE: Oxford sting Scorpions with last-minute winner

Matty Hadden forces his way over for Oxford’s third try

Matty Hadden forces his way over for Oxford’s third try

First published in Sport

KINGSTONE PRESS CHAMPIONSHIP ONE

OXFORD edged out basement boys South Wales Scorpions at the death to record a 29-22 victory at Iffley Road.

The sides were level at 22-22 with a minute to go when Jimmy Rowland slotted over a drop goal.

Then, from the final set of the game, Sam Blaney chased a hopeful kick and outran his markers to get the final try, which Rowland converted to the joy of the home fans.

Scorpions had been three minutes away from securing their third win of the season in a see-saw clash.

Oxford took the lead after winning a penalty on Scorpions’ 20-metre line, with Rory Sharratt going over from dummy half and Rowland converting.

However, Scorpions were soon level. After winning repeat sets, Harrison Elliott stormed over and Paul Emanuelli added the goal.

The normally reliable Sean Morris almost gave away a try at one end, then fumbled the ball as he was going to score at the other.

It couldn’t have been travel that affected his concentration as his house not only looks out, but is inside the Iffley Road ground.

But his teammate Andrew Hoggins who commutes a little bit further, coming from Southampton, made up for that with a stunning try.

He picked up the ball near to the half-way line and weaved through the visitors’ defence to score, Rowland converting for 12-6. Again Scorpions hit back, with Lloyd O’Connor scoring a classic hooker’s try, diving over from the dummy-half position.

Emanuelli converted and it was 12-12 at half-time after the referee controversially blew up, despite Oxford having played the ball before the hooter sounded and 20 metres from goal.

Early in the second half, a fine run and try from Ian Newbury, converted by Emanuelli, put Scorpions ahead for the first time.

This time it was Oxford who drew level as Matty Hadden ran through with Rowland again good with the boot.

Back to the other other end, and youngster Paul Edwards ran through to score with seven minutes left on the clock, making it 22-18 to the visitors.

Oxford rallied and after a useful kick, Marcus Brooker scored in the corner.

Rowland missed the conversion, but his drop goal was enough to win the match before Blaney’s try proved to be the icing on the cake.

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