OXFORD Harlequins completed the greatest season in their history when they beat a determined Banbury side 21-3 to win their sixth Oxfordshire Cup at Iffley Road last night.
It’s the first time that Quins, the South West 1 East champions, have completed a league and cup double in the same campaign.
But they did not have matters all their own way against a spirited Banbury side, who competed brilliantly for an hour against opponents from two divisions higher in the league pyramid.
Indeed but for a controversially disallowed try just before half-time, the north Oxfordshire side might have taken Quins to the wire.
Banbury were trailing only 7-3 in the 35th minute when winger Jed Boyle took advantage of a Quins mix-up on halfway to gather the loose ball and race clear for an apparent try.
Referee Dave Conway was just about to award it, when a touch-judge drew his attention to the fact that Boyle had been yards offside at the original breakdown – and the score was disallowed, much to dismay of Banbury’s supporters Quins had taken the lead in the 12th minute when, following intense pressure, No 8 Seisoni Toupou broke through a tackle to force his way over the line.
Full back Will Hilton , who had earlier missed a penalty from in front of the posts, landed the conversion.
Banbury gave their opponents little room and, with fly half Dan Tooth cutting through with some elusive breaks, they were able to produce some pressure of their own.
They cut the deficit in the 28th minute, following a neat piece of play by skipper and scrum half Ed Phillips, who was impeded as he chased his chip-kick over the line.
The referee sent the offender, former Banbury winger Adam Walsh, to the sin-bin and awarded a penalty, which Phillips landed to make it 7-3.
Despite the disappointment of that disallowed try, Banbury held the upper hand early in the second half.
But crucially they could not turn pressure into points, Phillips falling short with an attempted penalty goal.
Eventually, as Banbury tired, Quins began to find more space and scored their second try in the 57th minute.
After a concerted move, centre Keni Fisilau was able to send in fly half Zac Norris in under the posts. Hilton’s conversion made it 14-3.
The Quins forwards, with skipper Luke Brown prominent in the line-outs, began to get into overdrive.
The pack set up and scored the final try five minutes from time, second row Allan Purchase getting the touchdown for Hilton to convert.
There were huge cheers as Brown received the Oxfordshire Cup, while Toupou accepted the Ron Grimshaw Cup as man of the match.