The Oxford Cavaliers rugby league team was one of the eight founder members of the Rugby League Conference. This league now has well over sixty teams across England and Wales, and will include Scottish teams from 2007.
The team is noteworthy as a pioneer of rugby league in the south of England. The primary reason for the expansion of RL from its northern heartlands since 1995 is due to the change in status of the regulations on amateurism in rugby union. Since rugby union declared itself an open game in 1995 amateur rugby union players are now able to play in both forms of rugby, whereas this was previously prohibited. Indeed Oxford Cavaliers are now hosted by a rugby union club, Oxford Harlequins, with whom they enjoy good relations.
The first team came together in 1995, under the Chairmanship of Lionel Hurst, for a fixture against a Bath rugby league team, and then the first competitive fixture was played in 1996 in the inaugural Summer Conference, the forerunner to the Rugby League Conference which started in 1997.
In 1998, five Oxford Cavaliers players were called up for the Rugby League Conference squad. Skipper and scrum half Simon Hill, centre Paul Daly and forwards John Williams, Darrell Griffin and Graham Crane were named in a 22-man squad for the games against the North East League at Chester on Sunday, and against the Combined Services.
In 1999 they reached the regional final of the Rugby League Conference, were awarded the title of Rugby League Conference Club of the Year and John Williams, Steve Lacey, Simon Hill and Jon Flatman all received representative honours. In 2001, Lionel Hurst left the Oxford Cavaliers in order to become Chief Executive Officer of the London Broncos, the top flight rugby league club, which went on to become part of the Harlequins in 2006.
In 2000, Oxford's second player development rugby league camp was held by coaches from Super League outfit Halifax rugby league club. Twenty nominated under 13 boys from Oxford undertook a three-day residential course at the Hill End campus to receive training in all the skills and were put through their paces by several qualified coaches. They also received expert advice on nutrition, fitness and sports psychology.
Also in 2000, Oxford Cavaliers coach Dave Doran was appointed head coach of the Rugby League Conference representative side. The Cavaliers themselves finished a credible tenth place in the RLC composite table of twenty four teams.
In their brief history Oxford Cavaliers have managed to supply players to professional clubs, such as Mike Castle and Corey Simms to the London Skolars, Darrell Griffin to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Barry Randall and Brad Smith to London Broncos via Rochdale Hornets as well as Steve Robinson to Henley Hawks rugby union club. They continue to be the only open rugby league club in the city, although there is also an Oxford University rugby league team.
Advanced Garden Services Oxfordshire Cup
Fixtures and Results 2006
TotalRugbyLeague.com Conference unless stated
Sun 23 April Away v Haringey Hornets (Friendly) Lost 26-22
Sat 29 April Away v Gosford All Blacks RFC (Winners: Advanced Garden Services Oxfordshire Cup) Won 64-14
Sat 6 May Away v Coventry Bears Won 24-0
Sat 13 May Home v Redditch Ravens Won 30-22
Sat 20 May Away v Burntwood Barbarians Lost 48-16
Sat 27 May Home v Plymouth Lost 44-22
Sat 3 June Home v Somerset Vikings Lost 51-14
Sat 10 June Home v Burntwood Barbarians Won 48-22
Sat 17 June Away v Bristol Sonics Lost 48-24
Sat 24 June Home v Gloucestershire Warriors 2 30pm
Sat 1 July Home v Coventry Bears Lost 82-0 Fixture played against Coventry First, rather than A team
Sat 8 July Away v Redditch Ravens Won 36-24
TotalRL.com Rugby League Conference: South West and Midlands 2006
|Club||Games Played||Games Won||Games Drawn||Points|
|Coventry Bears A||10||0||0||4|
|Rugby league in Britain and Ireland|