Oaks welcomed back some old faces on Saturday for the twice postponed fixture against high flying York RI.
After a cagey opening 10, some characteristically accurate kicking from fly half Joe Henson lead to a line-out on the RI twenty two metre line. A disciplined maul was eventually thwarted a few metres short only for the ball to be recycled with some quick hands and intelligent running putting centre Callum Schofield under the posts.
Oaks then lost two players to injury in quick succession and RI struck back with a hard-fought pushover try. A Kelvin Charles penalty and some more accurate kicking from the half-backs was creating pressure and good field position, but a mix-up in the Oaks back three lead to a breakaway try to turn the game on its head. A tactical switch lead to a steadying of the ship and some superb aerial work by débutante Tim Barnes kept the scores a tense 10-14 at half time.
An error-strewn 10 minutes after the restart culminated in a yellow for a late tackle by Henson and the Oaks were suddenly under the kosh. After a series of scrums and mauls the home line was eventually breached by another, unconverted, pushover try. Back to up to fifteen the Hillsborough club dominated territory and possession for the remainder of the game and a Charles penalty set up an intriguing finale.
After some fiery exchanges, a series of drives lead to a try from the home front row and set up conversion to win with the final kick of the game. Sadly it was missed and the Oaks were left stranded on an agonising 18-19. Despite the result, a hugely positive performance should be the perfect preparation for some do-or-die fixtures in the weeks to come.