WINDSOR secured two valuable bonus points in their final match before the Christmas break in the South West One East - a 34-29 defeat at Oxford Harlequins on Saturday.

Windsor approached the game in a positive manner following previous wins against both Wimborne and Old Patesians, and despite their hosts standing in fourth position in the league table.

Head Coach, Jack Pattinson, had to make a number of changes to the side due to player unavailability but the visitors still fielded a strong team, buoyed by a vocal group of travelling supporters.

Both sides were keen to play an open brand of rugby from the start on the 4G pitch and Windsor could have opened the scoring but were prevented by some handling errors and wrong options.

Oxford broke the deadlock with a converted try inside eight minutes and they went on to increase the advantage with a penalty kick shortly after.

The home team appeared vulnerable however and, following a period of Windsor pressure, James Cullen dotted down in the 16th minute. Jack Gaylor was unable to secure the additional points when missing with the conversion.

The visitors continued to play with renewed confidence and belief from the restart but were disrupted as Matt Balmer was forced off with a head injury after a heavy collision and replaced by Luke Suares.

The replacement was soon the victim of a heavy tackle and Oxford won possession to score a breakaway try and increase their lead to 10 points. The hosts added to their advantage with a fourth try which went unconverted.

Windsor hoped to reduce the arrears before the break and put pressure on the Oxford line, eventually awarded a penalty try by the match referee for an infringement at a maul. The scores were 20-12 in favour of the hosts on the half-time whistle.

Oxford Harlequins added to their lead with a try which was converted early on in the second half, but Pattinson continued to encourage Windsor as it was clear that there was a good opportunity to secure at least one bonus point for scoring four tries.

The chance was further increased as Cullen scored his second try in the match. Gaylor was unable to secure the additional points from the conversion.

The visitors looked to attack from the restart and Oxford looked vulnerable, which was highlighted when they missed a simple penalty kick. Fortunately for Oxford, they were able to secure the next score with a try that was converted.

Windsor still went in search of their fourth and bonus point-winning try and were soon to be rewarded. The man-of-the-match, George Jupp, crashed over the line following forward pressure on the Oxford line. Gaylor was unable to secure the additional points.

The away side then went in search for another try to secure a second losing bonus point. Cullen was stopped short of the line following a scrum and resulting ruck in the final play of the game.

Allen Crawshaw however, playing in his first game since returning from injury, was able to break through the home defence and reach the line to dot down. Gaylor successfully booted the conversion attempt to add the additional two points.

The defeat means Windsor will head into the New Year in 10th position in the league table and three points ahead of the relegation zone.

The Home Park-based club begin 2020 with a visit from eighth-placed Buckingham on Saturday 4th January.