WINDSOR suffered a 47-24 defeat against Oxford Harlequins in their first match at Home Park in the new South West One East season on Saturday.

The game was always going to be a challenging one for the home side as Oxford have performed well in the league for a number of seasons and had beaten Old Patesians the previous weekend.

Windsor fielded a much-changed team from the defeat at Banbury on the opening day with Chris Emmett, Mike Stanton and Matt Balmer all starting their first matches of the campaign. Billy Porter, who has been selected for the Army Under 23s, also made is first league appearance.

Oxford took the lead with a converted try inside the first 10 minutes but the deficit was reduced after a Jack Gaylor penalty kick midway through the first half.

The hosts took the advantage thanks to a solo effort from James Cullen, with Gaylor scoring with the conversion in front of the posts.

Windsor suffered a blow when Cullen left the field feeling dizzy and was replaced by Ben Anderston.

The home side were reduced to 14-men as Toby Davies was shown a yellow card for an offence in the ruck before the break. Oxford were able to capitalise on the advantage and scored a try soon after, before Adam Bailes of Windsor was also shown a yellow card.

Windsor showed great resilience despite being down to 13 players and were rewarded with a breakaway try from Ben Grant-Adamson, which was converted to give them a 17-14 lead.

Oxford however were again able to capitalise on their player advantage and scored a converted try to give them a 21-17 advantage heading into the break.

The hosts lost Chris Reynolds to a finger injury with Sam Parkinson, a hooker, coming off the bench to replace him on the wing early on in the second-half, but they were back to a full compliment of 15 players after 50 minutes.

The visitors increased their lead to 33-17 with two converted tries before Windsor were forced to make another change due to injury as Anderton was replaced by prop Ross Carne. The home side were forced to reorganise with 10 forwards on the pitch and a number of players out of their regular position.

Oxford went on to score two more converted tries although Windsor continued to play with great commitment and resolve and were rewarded in the last couple of minutes with a try from captain Emmett, which was converted by Gaylor.

It was a much-improved performance from Windsor but the sinbins before the break, which reduced them to 13 players, as well as injuries to three of the back line in the second half cost them dear and ultimately culminated in the defeat. The positive was the team did not give up with Emmett finishing off a great period of support play.

The defeat leaves Windsor bottom of the league table and still searching for their first points in the new season ahead of a trip to Buckingham, who were promoted as runners-up in the Southern Counties North last season, this Saturday (3pm).