Oxford Harlequins director of rugby Matt Maudsley was in a far better mood after the final whistle than 12 months previously.

Maudsley slated his players after their 19-12 victory in 2006, but stressed: "I'm much happier than last year.

"Witney are a really good team. I'm really surprised that they have not got promotion already.

"They were very physical and committed and quicker to the breakdowns.

"This sort of match is a real leveller because they were really, really up for it.

"I always knew it was a case of building up the scores. In the second half, they struggled to get out of their 22.

"We then showed our skills to finish them off.

"If we win the two games and finish fifth in the league, that will be a successful first step. It will give us something to build on for next year."

Witney captain Jez Hicks said: "The effort from all the boys was excellent. I'm really, really proud of them.

"I did think it was going to be a lot closer than that.

"I thought we had a good opportunity to go in with the lead at half-time, but we didn't take it.

"They came out strong as we found last year, while we had our best spell at the beginning of the second half.

"We kept hold of the ball well at that stage.

"They came on strong and we spent a good 25 minutes just defending and taking pressure.

"In the end they showed the difference in class between our leagues. I think our set-pieces went well.

"We were strong in the scrum and the line-out."