OXFORD Harlequins will be trying to cap a memorable season in perfect style when they face Banbury Bulls in the Oxfordshire Cup final at Iffley Road tonight (7.45).
Having easily won the South West I East title to make an immediate return to National 3 South West, head coach Steve Chadbone’s team want more success.
“It would be the best way to end a perfect season, but it won’t be easy,” warned Chadbone.
Banbury, themselves, finished second in Midlands 2 West South and were only pipped by Crewe & Nantwich in their promotion play-off.
Both teams deserve to be there, Quins having seen off holders Chinnor, and Banbury having accounted for Grove and Henley.
“It’s a game between the two most successful teams in the county this season,” said Chadbone, who names a near full- strength side. Flanker Will Clayton is ruled out with a rib injury, his place being taken by Charlie Ward.
It will be full back and Oxford Brookes student Will Hilton’s last game for Quins before he returns to his home club Canterbury.
The last time these clubs met in the final was in 2009, when Quins secured the last of their five cup triumphs, and their current winger Adam Walsh was playing for the Bulls.
The team faced each other in pre-season, with Quins prevailing, and Banbury’s head coach James Kerr is quite happy his side start as underdogs.
He names a full-strength squad, which he feels will be suited by the conditions.
“It’s a nice wide pitch which I remember from my Swansea University days,” said Kerr.
“We like to play with the ball in hand and have trained hard for the game, but we know we are up against a very good side.”
Banbury: Mills, Deegan, Manley, Haywood, Boyle, Tooth, E Phillips (capt), Fox, Richmond, Dymond, Pratt, Brock, C Phillips, O’Dwyer, Brand. Reps: Page, J Mills, S Mills, Daniels, Jackson.
Oxford Harlequins: Hilton, Walsh, Lee, Fisilau, Robinson, Norris, Goggins, Marshall, Chadbone, Boulton, Brown (capt), Purchase, Battson, Ward, Tupou. Reps: Edney, Jones, Tickle, Farahani, Johnstone.