OXFORD RL’s former coach Tim Rumford believes the club’s move out of the city played a part in their demise, writes JACK JOHNSON.

The Blues merged with University of Gloucestershire All Golds last month with the aim of forming a new team in Bristol for the 2019 season.

Oxford, who were only founded in 2012, have subsequently withdrawn from next year’s Kingstone Press League One campaign.

Rumford, who coached the Blues for three seasons, leaves his post with frustration.

He believes the club’s move from Iffley Road, home of Oxford University RFC, to Abingdon’s Tilsley Park last year contributed to their downfall.

Rumford said: “We were hindered by resources, it was an uphill battle, and the club always struggled for a base.

“We were playing at Iffley Road, a little ground, perfect for us, and we got a few decent crowds in there.

“I think the move away to Abingdon – there was nothing wrong with the ground and the facilities were great – but we lost a lot of that support base and that was probably integral to what’s happened since.

“I experienced a lack of support in trying to grow the team and build the squad due to the off-field inactivity.”

He added: “The directors went to businesses and tried to engage with the universities.

“For one reason or another it just did not come off and that for me was really frustrating.”

The Blues were never able to build a consistently competitive squad.

Rumford, who did lead Oxford to an impressive victory over York City Knights last season, said it was hard to bridge the gap to more established clubs in the north of the country.

He said: “The directors had an idea and in time it did not come off and that affects everything.

“We always had a very young group of players and we were playing against seasoned professionals from all over the country, particularly the north of England.

“Some of them are ex-Super League players, so it’s very difficult when you have a team full of 18 and 19-year-olds.

“It was not something that was lost on the directors, but they just did not have the resources to do anything about it. We were doing the best we could.”

The Oxford Mail attempted to contact the club’s former directors, but did not receive a reply.