OXFORD RL started off their Kingstone Press League 1 Shield campaign in disappointing fashion with a 48-6 loss to Coventry Bears at a sun-drenched Butts Park Arena.

The Blues, who went into the match having failed to beat the Bears away from home since they were accepted into League 1 in 2015, went behind after nine minutes, when Bears fullback Charlie O’Mara went over with Joel James adding the extra two points.

In hot conditions, Oxford’s defence prevented a number of try scoring chances.

However, Coventry captain Richie Hughes and Eddie Medforth touched down for tries, with James adding a second conversion to make it 16-0 after half-an-hour.

Oxford fought well and were back in the game on 32 minutes when a fantastic break from Luke Gardiner from his own half saw him run to the Coventry 20 before releasing Casey Canterbury to go under the posts.

Scott Fleming added the extras to leave the half time score at 16-6.

Coventry responded with Hughes’s second try two minutes after the break, and the Bears put the game out of sight with tries in the next 18 minutes through Matt Reid, Alex Beddows and Jack Morrison to extend their lead to 40-6.

Medforth completed a hat-trick when he touched down twice more to bring the score to 48-6 with 14 minutes to play.

The final ten minutes saw Oxford look to salvage some pride and they did not concede again.