Buckingham 1st XV produced a spirited performance on Saturday but ultimately came up well short against runaway South West One East leaders Oxford Harlequins.
Buckingham travelled to Oxford on Saturday to face the title-favourites and although they conceded eight tries in a 52-13 defeat, they played with an impressive intensity that at times troubled the Harlequins.
With two academy players, Euan Prime and Harry Bishop, making their first team debuts, Buckingham made a bright start and good forward pressure resulted in a penalty converted by James Hulston.
Oxford hit back with a converted try in their first meaningful attack of the match, but immediately the visitors responded when a ferocious drive by Phil Wright was carried on by the forwards and though Oxford won a scrum, the ball was knocked on for the alert Sam Clapham to gather and race in for the try.
It took less than two minutes for Oxford to regain the lead with second converted try, quickly followed by another score.
Buckingham continued to share possession but shortly before half-time the impressive Oxford threequarters put together yet another flowing move for seven points and a comfortable 26-8 interval lead.
The home side started the second half with the slope advantage and quickly worked their way to the bottom corner for the Oxford pack to rumble over eight minutes into the half.
Things then got worse for Buckingham as they were reduced to 14 men and Oxford were quick to utilise their extra man in the backs, scoring a converted try.
A try-saving tackle by Jamie Stothard and one by James Hulston failed to halt the free-scoring hosts as two more tries took them past 50 points with half an hour still remaining.
Buckingham showed plenty of spirit, though, and they had much the better of the final 10 minutes, nearly crossing the Oxford line on three occasions, before finally the ball was recycled left and Theo Mettenheimer outstripped the defence for Buckingham’s second try almost on the final whistle.
This Saturday, Buckingham travel to mid-table Grove looking to move themselves up from second bottom.