CRAIG Burrows admits his Oxfordshire side are rueing a missed opportunity after they failed to defend their Bill Beaumont County Championship title.

The Division 3 champions finished second in Pool 1, two points behind Essex, who will face Dorset & Wiltshire in Sunday’s final.

Oxfordshire made an impressive start to this year’s campaign, beating Buckinghamshire 76-27.

But an 18-17 defeat against Essex, left the side, for a second successive year, hoping for a favour from Bucks.

It did not materialise and the county’s campaign ended early.

Burrows said: “We’re really frustrated. I truly believe we had a stronger squad (than last year). but you have to perform over two games.

“We certainly did in one game and the next match we were thrown a curve ball with really poor conditions and we just didn’t react.

“All the best to Essex, they deserved to top the group.

“But it’s definitely a missed opportunity for us.”

Bucks beat Essex last year to help Oxon top the group, however Burrows was not expecting a repeat result.

He said: “We were looking for lightning to strike twice.

“I didn’t really have any hope it would happen.

“Bucks didn’t have anything to play for, they would have just wanted to put a performance in to improve on the first game which they did, it was a close game.”

Despite not reaching the final, Oxfordshire could be promoted to Division 2.

The RFU reassess the three-tier structure every two years and the county could be in line for a switch after winning at Twickenham last year.

Chinnor’s Matt Williams has been named director of rugby of the year in National League 2 South.

He was honoured in the NCA awards after guiding the Thame-based club to the third tier for the first time.

Oxford Harlequins have broken the £20,000 mark to help fund their new home at Horspath Sports Ground.

Work started on the £800,000 artificial pitch, which is paid for by the Rugby Football Union, last week.

Quins also need to redevelop the existing clubhouse and changing rooms.

They have raised £22,865 so far on their GoFundMe page.