OXFORD RL held off a late Coventry Bears fightback to make it through to the quarter-finals of the Kingstone Press League 1 Cup for the second successive year.

The Blues, who led for almost the entire game, hung on for a 30-28 victory at Tilsley Park, Abingdon, to secure their place in the last eight

Oxford coach Tim Rumford included eight debutants for their first competitive match of the campaign.

And they made a perfect start with a try in the corner from Josh Atkinson after just four minutes.

The move began with a drive by Stuart Biscomb, followed by good work from Jack Pickles and Jake Joynt before the ball was worked to the left for centre Curtis Macdonald to feed the winger.

Will Cooke kicked the conversion from the touchline.

Oxford extended the lead through Callum Windley, who dived through a gap on the line, after a good line break by Harvey Burnett.

But by half-time the score had closed to 10-6 after Jack Morrison found a large hole in the Oxford defence to score under the posts.

The hosts started the second half with a try after four minutes.

Andy Hoggins threw an inside ball to the supporting Kane Riley, who scored under the posts. Will Cooke hit the right-hand post with his conversion attempt.

The Blues took charge with two quick tries.

First a grubber from Atkinson on the sixth tackle went into touch off a Coventry defender. Jake Joynt made the most of the bonus set, going in to the left of the posts.

Then, Scott Fleming scored while the touch judge was on the field trying to signal a penalty to Oxford for a high tackle. The referee awarded the try instead.

Fleming added both conversions.

Coventry replied with an unconverted score from full back Will Roper.

After lengthy stoppages for injuries, Atkinson scored his second try with a 20-metre run down the line.

With seven minutes left and a 20-point lead, Oxford seemed home and hosed.

But Coventry second- rower Matt Reid had other ideas, scoring a hat-trick of tries, all converted by Roper.

The three tries all involved Reid crashing over the line from close range.

The hooter went immediately after Roper’s final conversion to give Oxford the win.

Oxford: Riley, Hoggins, Burnett, Macdonald, Atkinson, Windley, Fleming, Biscomb, Canterbury, Joynt, Cooke, Brooker, Pickles. Sub used: Moules, Hayes, O’Callaghan, Cox.