OXFORDSHIRE head coach Greg Goodfellow says it is disappointing his side won’t get the chance to play at Twickenham when they look to defend a crown this weekend.

Last year, Oxfordshire edged past Berkshire 7-5 at Richmond, to claim the Division Three title at the Bill Beaumont County Championship.

Goodfellow’s side beat Notts, Lincs & Derbys 39-24 at Witney RFC to top the Pool 1 standings this year, and set up a final against Essex tomorrow.

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The clash will be played at the home of Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.

Goodfellow said: “It’s quite disappointing for it to be at Ealing, and not Twickenham or at a Premiership side.

“It’s a shame the boys won’t get the chance to play at Twickenham but all we can do is keep knocking on the door of the RFU, and try to get the players to play at the highest levels and at the best grounds.”

Goodfellow though said he and his players are still excited by the challenge that awaits and the opportunity to retain their title.

He said: “The mood in camp is positive, the boys are looking forward to it and just want to play the game.

“They’ve certainly been making it very difficult in terms of selection, they’ve shown a huge desire to play for their county.

“The boys have got where they are through a squad effort and not just those in the starting line-up.

“It’s always a challenge when you’ve got a big group and a short space of time, but we’ve been open, honest and transparent with the players, and that’s the best way to do it.

“There will be opportunities, this isn’t a one-year project and hopefully the players can take things from this into their respective clubs and into next summer as well.”

Essex sealed a hat-trick of victories by beating Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Sussex en route to topping the Pool 2 group.

Goodfellow said: “We’ve seen some footage of them, and they’re a good side and play good rugby.

“They’ll be the toughest side we’ve faced, good teams get to finals.

“If we stick to our plan and structure, and put into practice what we’ve been doing in training, then it puts us in a good position.

“We’ll pay respect to Essex, who play attractive rugby and are quite physical.”

Developing the county game has been a key target from the outset for Goodfellow.

He said: “I’ve seen signs of growth and we’ll reap the rewards of that in seasons to come.

“Off the field, we’ve been a little bit more proactive in the media and trying to raise awareness.

“The medical side of things has been great too with looking after players, and it’s made it a bit more professional.”