RUGBY LEAGUE: Sound of Thunder proves too much for Oxford

Callum Mulkeen on the charge for Oxford against Gateshead

Callum Mulkeen on the charge for Oxford against Gateshead

First published in Rugby

OXFORD RL remain second from bottom in the table after going down 48-28 to Gateshead Thunder at Gateshead International Stadium on Sunday.

The win – their third over Oxford this season – moved Gateshead up to fifth.

The home faithful were given an early shock as Oxford opened the scoring in the 13th minute with an Alex Thompson try. Jimmy Rowland missed the conversion.

It took the home side 21 minutes to get on the scoreboard, Joe Brown going over for a try.

Benn Hardcastle, on loan from Championship One rivals York City Knights, slotted the first of eight conversions.

In the 25th minute, Hardcastle extended Thunder’s lead with a try of his own, which he converted. Oxford replied when Michael Crabtree took advantage of some poor Thunder defence to score on the half-hour, but again, Rowland could not add the extras.

He had better luck in the 37th minute, converting his own try to give his side a 14-12 lead.

However, it was Thunder who went into the half-time break with the advantage after Hardcastle scored his second try of the afternoon which he coolly converted, making it 18-14 at the interval.

The second half saw Thunder go up a gear and run out comfortable victors.

Captain Jason Payne bagged two tries, dual registered Sonny Esslemont crossed over and there were further tries for Josh Stoker and Joe Hodgson.

Oxford were far from disgraced as tries from Sean Morris, Yannic Parker and Marcus Brooker gave them hope.

But Thunder’s attacking threat proved too much in the end. Oxford: S Morris, Parker, Mulkeen, Brooker, Crabtree, Rowland, Connick, Davies, Sharratt, Evans, Hoggins, Thompson, Rice. Subs: Newton, Morris, Vickers, Hayles.

Attendance: 153.

* OXFORD Cavaliers’ Conference League South fixture away to Sheffield Hallam Eagles on Saturday was postponed.

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