MATT Goode said Oxfordshire were gutted to miss out on a dream Twickenham final.

A 26-10 defeat at Cumbria saw them finish second in Pool 1, with their hosts booking a Division 3 showdown at the home of English rugby with Pool 2 winners Dorset & Wiltshire.

Oxon had headed to Wigton, near Carlisle, in high spirits after taking nine points from their first two games in the Bill Beaumont County Championship.

With Goode’s side only topping their group ahead of Cumbria on points difference, it was a case of winner takes all.

And for the second time in as many years, Oxon were denied a place in the final in their last pool game.

“We’re gutted, absolutely gutted,” said head coach Goode.

“But to be fair, the better team on the day won, they were a little bit more savvy with their rugby.”

Oxon, who wore Henley Hawks jerseys due to a colour clash with Cumbria, had led 10-6, thanks to tries from George Primett and Tom Emery.

But they were pegged back and trailed 19-10 with five minutes to go.

The visitors searched for a reply, but an error led to Cumbria crossing again to put the game to bed.

Goode added: “If it had been at home it would’ve maybe been a different story.

“Their defence was ok, they rushed us and didn’t let us play the way we wanted to.

“They got us into a bit of an arm wrestle, they were bigger boys, they had a few more older heads and their fly-half managed the game well.

“On a different day, a different bounce of the ball, different rub of the green, I think we could’ve won, but it was a tough day.”

Oxon’s squad included several players under the age of 20 and Goode is enthused about the potential of his side.

He said: “We had a very young team.

“Our half-backs Leo Webb and Finn Pietersen are both under 19s and they have massive potential.

“Having another season of senior rugby under their belts, if they play for us again next year, will only benefit them.

“Will Janes at 12 and our winger Evan Davies are also under 20, which is pretty crazy.

“The future looks bright and I’m looking forward to next year.”