WINDSOR got the new season in the South West One East under way with a 60-15 defeat at Banbury on Saturday, writes Rob Stevens.

The trip to the DCS Stadium was always going to be a tough opening fixture as Banbury have been a leading side in the division for the past three seasons.

The visitors fielded a young and inexperienced but still exciting side mainly due to other players being unavailable or injured during pre-season.

Despite making the worst possible start with Banbury scoring an unconverted try, Windsor competed well in the scrums and lineouts, where they had expected to struggle, during the first half.

The away side looked threatening and were rewarded with a try from Adam Bailes, but the score went unconverted followed a missed kick from Jack Gaylor.

The first period continued to be a competitive contest with Banbury scoring two more unconverted tries.

Windsor got on the scoreboard with a Gaylor penalty at the end of the half but trailed 15-8 at the break.

The second-half optimism was quickly dampened as the visitors went on to concede 19 points within 10 minutes of the restart. Banbury scored three tries but only two were converted.

The home team continued to build on their advantage, but Greg Drew managed to score a consolation try for Windsor after a good forwards move.

It was a disappointing start to the new league campaign but there were still positives to be taken from the performance and plenty to work on ahead of a visit to Home Park from Oxford Harlequins this Saturday (3pm).

  • THE Windsor Dames began the new season in the North Counties One South East with a 24-7 defeat at Berkshire rivals Reading on Sunday.

The Dames side is much-changed from last season following the departure of a number of players.

Windsor put up a spirited performance against a much more experienced Reading side, with Jess O'Sullivan scoring a try that was converted by Cherelle Jameson.

Windsor Chairman of Rugby, Mike Crawshaw, told the Observer: "There has been a number of changes to the Dames due to players leaving for a variety of reasons. It's a new squad and a new coaching team.

"Reading are an experienced ladies side that have been going for a lot longer than us and been in the league for a number of years now.

"The performance was good and encouraging, plus the spirit was good.

"It's a transition stage as we start to re-build the Dames into a much stronger section. It's about consolidation and maintaining the status in the league because the ladies' game is still developing and we need to capitalise on that."

The Dames travel to Millwall Venus Ladies this Sunday.