AFTER a difficult few weeks of cup action, Cirencester U16s hosted Oxford Harlequins in a club match.

Cirencester U16s 48

Oxford Harlequins U16s 14

With a number of long-term absentees returning Ciren put out a more settled and balanced side than of late and the hosts produced an impressive all-round team performance.

Right from the kick off Cirencester regained possession and after a number of phases recycled ball until Johnson was able to force over through the narrowest of gaps.

Stung into action, Oxford used their bigger forwards to pressurise the home goal line. However, determined defence not only held them at bay but twice returned turnover ball for length-of-the-field scores, firstly through Elsey and then Johnson.

Oxford's reply was again play a narrow game and they kept the ball within their bulky forwards.

This pressure eventually told and from a short penalty they barged over for a converted try. Cirencester, however, kept playing expansive rugby and after creating a number of chances Bannister touched down his side's fourth try to give the hosts a 26-7 half-time lead.

Town continued with their open game approach in the second half; good ball handling, neat passing, good support work (particularly from the forwards) and some deft offloading out of the tackle saw the hosts deservedly run in four further tries.

Three of those came from Elsey and one for Clarke.

With some impressive backs play the hosts created numerous other chances as the game became very open.

Nonetheless, the hosts did not have it their own way and had to defend stoutly when needed, Oxford were not to be denied a consolation try which came following a sustained period of forward pick-up-and-drive pressure.

The conversion took the final score to 48-14.