After a poor start to the season Gateshead Thunder have hit their straps, yesterday’s 36-22 win at Oxford their first double of the campaign.
Not only that, but the 14-point win at Iffley Road was Gateshead’s fourth win from their last five outings.
Stanley Gene’s side remain sixth in the nine-team table but have now won half of their ten Kingstone Press Championship One games.
Just as in last week’s narrow win at Hemel Stags, Thunder were never behind as they once again resticted their hosts to four tries and 22 points.
Captain Jason Payne was unable to score for the seventh consecutive game but new signings Louis Sherrif and Lee Mapals were again on the scoresheet after try-scoring debuts last week.
Centre Joe Brown scored twice in six first-half minutes, while veteran playmaker Jamie Rooney and Paul Stamp also touched down in an impressive win. Sherrif powered over to give Gateshead a 10th minute lead. Rory Sharratt replied from close in only for Brown to race clear from distance following an Oxford knock-on.
Brown then grabbed his second of the afternoon, the try again converted to give Thunder an 18-4 lead at the break.
Oxford hit back when Callum Mulkeen crossed on the right, both sides reduced to 12 men after a fight; Sonny Esslemont for Gateshead and Blues’ Jimmy Rowland seeing red.
Rooney finished off a break to quell Oxford’s fightback but Sean Morris’s converted try cut the deficit to eight points. It was all over, however, when Stamp broke the line to score between the posts on the hour, wing man Mapals then stretching the lead.
Morris replied with his second of the afternoon late on from former Thunder prop Glenn Osborne’s offload as a feisty game ended.
Gateshead: Sherrif, Mapals, Brown, Heil, Blades, Beharrel, Rooney, Barron, Stamp, Hough, Payne, Bowering, Esslemont. Subs (all used): Stoker, Murray, Farrell, Hudson