Category: 2017

Saints Women Claim Their First Win | Sapphire Tournament Update

Saints Women Claimed their first victory in round 1 of the Sapphire Series

On Saturday 25th February, the newly formed Oxford Saints Women’s team traveled to Portsmouth for their first encounter with full contact football. .

The Saints played two games, the first being against the Iceni Spears. The Saints made big plays with quarterback Harriet Henshall and running back Josie McInerney, resulted in the Saints taking an 18-14 victory.

With this game being between two of the smaller teams at the tournament, most players on the field played on offense and defense, making it a tricky game for both teams. However, with a well drilled Saints defense and the Iceni receivers not quite getting to where they needed to be, the Saints earned their first win and were rewarded with massive confidence boost.

The Saints stayed focused in the break between games, running routes and getting feedback from their coaches for the performance against the Spears. The Saints were confident going into the second game against the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, despite their opponent having about 25 more players.

Unfortunately the Dreadnoughts came out with a bang and ended up putting some early points on the scoreboard. Despite their best efforts, the Saints were not able to recover and conceded a 43-0 loss. 

A mixed day for the Saints but an invaluable learning experience and a great achievement to get a win in their first contact game. Josie McInerney was named the Offensive MVP for her performance. The Defensive MVP award was giving to the entire defense unit and Team MVP went to Megan Brown.


The Saints have been working hard to develop their skills and prepare for the 2nd round of the tournament, which takes place on Saturday 11th March in Peterborough.

Head coach Adam Baker and Offensive Coordinator Luke Fry have studied the game film from round 1 and helped player pinpoint key areas for improvements. In the build up to round 2, work has been very playbook orientated, whilst ensuring players are capable of taking on roles on both offense and defense.

To help further, the coaches have increased the amount of time at practice given to full contact scrimmage, allowing the players to practice game scenarios. Additional sessions for the offense and lots of tackling drills were also included. 

The Saints will go into the next games optimistic and excited to display their hard work.

Set 1: Portsmouth v Iceni + Oxford v Peterborough (13:00 PM)
Set 2: Wembley v Oxford (14:00 PM)
Set 3: Peterborough v Portsmouth + Iceni v Wembley (15:00 PM)

2017 Game Dates | Read Full Details Here

The schedule for the 2017 regular season has been released

The British American Football Association (BAFA) have now confirmed all game dates for the Saints. The season will begin on 16th April with a home opener against the Sussex Thunder.

Following promotion to Division I at the end of the 2016 season, the Saints are placed in Southern Football Conference Central I (SFC1) for 2017. The conference includes the Ouse Valley Eagles, Solent Thrashers, South Wales Warriors and Sussex Thunder.

Regular Season:

16/4 – Oxford VS Sussex
23/4 – Oxford @ South Wales
7/5 – Oxford VS Ouse Valley
21/5 – Oxford @ Sussex
4/6 – Oxford @ Sussex
11/6 – Oxford VS Solent
25/6 – Oxford VS South Wales
9/7 – Oxford @ Ouse Valley
23/7 – Oxford VS Solent
30/7 – Oxford VS Ouse Valley

Each of the 5 teams will have a full 10 game season, with all games being played within the conference rather then cross-conference games.

This means the Saints will face 2 of their opponents 3 times, with Ouse Valley and Sussex being selected by BAFA.

Season Opener

The Saints will host the Sussex Thunder on 16th April to begin the regular season. The game will take place at Tilsley Park with a 14:30 kick-off.

Fans at the games can expect an exciting show, alongside covered seating, music, commentary, bar and BBQ food.

There is plenty of free parking and the venue is within short distance of a main road.

Training Update | Player Transfers | Preseason Games


The Saints were among the first of the adult teams to return to regular training in 2017. Two warm-up sessions were held in November & December at Tilsley Park before weekly training resumed on Sunday 8th January.

Every Sunday since, the Saints staff have been preparing rookies and veterans alike for the upcoming challenge in Division I.

Nick Bob-manuel – Sussex Linebacker

Follow the successful structure of recent years, preseason training began with 2 sessions primarily aimed at new recruits. These sessions allowed the coaches and some veteran players to introduce the fresh faces to the club and teach them the basics of American Football.

With lots of promising talent on show, the Saints reconvened in early January after the festive break. The first 6-7 weeks were held indoors using the 3G dome at the Oxford Academy.

Luiz De Almeida – Rookie

This has proved a vital part of the preseason strategy, allowing the team to install fundamental techniques and playbook knowledge without any concerns of rain, wind or cold weather to affect their focus.

Training sessions continue to have strong attendance with 60 participating players on average each week. As training progressed, players moved into full contact drills in mid February.

On 19th February, the team moved outdoors to their main training ground at Abingdon Rugby Club. This allows the team more space for drills and special teams preparation.


With a large number of returning veterans from 2016, the team is strengthened further with several transfers from other senior clubs.

Two experienced offensive lineman from the Cornish Sharks and a tight end from Coventry Jets will boost the Saints offense. The defense will gain a linebacker from Sussex Thunder and a defensive lineman from the Sharks.

  • Nick Bob-manuel (Sussex Thunder – Linebacker)
  • Jake Mayo (Cornish Sharks – Defensive lineman)
  • Ashley Huggins (Cornish Sharks – Offensive lineman)
  • Karl Friston (Cornish Sharks – Offensive lineman)
  • Ady Simons (Coventry Jets – Tight end)


Training in the 3G dome – Oxford Academy


The Saints have another week of training before a preseason friendly against the premiership Farnham Knights on 19th March. This will be followed by a 2nd preseason game when the Saints host the Leicester Falcons, who were the Division II North champions in 2016.

The squad currently has 82 registered players and a dedicated coach staff ready to lead them into the 2017 season.

You can view the full 2017 schedule here.

The Saints are currently looking for gameday volunteers and businesses who are interested in sponsorship. Contact us for more information.

Preseason #1: Oxford Saints @ Farnham Knights


The knights are a competitive team in the Premier division, the UK’s highest tier. It’s been a few years since the two sides met so this will prove a good opportunity for Head Coach Andrew Day to see his side in action against a top team.

Saints vs Knights in 2013

Oxford last met Farnham in 2013 when the league was split into 2 divisions, Premier and National. Competing in the National Division, the Saints took a 26-2 loss against the Knights at home but clinched a narrow 8-6 victory on the road.

In 2016, the Knights competed against the likes of the London Warriors & London Blitz, widely considered to be the top 2 teams in the UK. The Knights ended the 2016 season with a 4-6 record.

The preseason friendly will kick off at 14:00 pm on Sunday 19th March at Farnham RUFC, Monkton Lane, Surrey, GU9 9ND.

Following a championship season for Oxford in 2016, the Saints have now been promoted to Division 1 and will be facing a tough test against the premiership Knights, but it will demonstrate the level that players need to aspire to if they wish to compete in their new division.

Saints defeat Cambridge in 2016 Div 2 Final

With much of the team returning for 2017, the Saints are further strengthened with another large intake of new players. Some of them have experience at either senior or university level, along with a number of other promising rookies. Keep a look out for a progress report on preseason training soon.


After the Farnham game, the team will have 2 weeks to review and analyse the footage in preparation for the 2nd presason game. On 2nd April, the Saints will host the 2016 Division II North Champions, the Leicester Falcons.

The game will be held at Oxford’s home ground Tilsley Park with a 14:30 Kick-off. More details will be shared closer to the event.

The regular season schedule will be available here soon.

Saints vs Falcons in 2013

Fifty Shades Of Graeme – Introducing The New Chairman

New club chairman Graeme Taylor leads the Saints in 2017

With preparation for the 2017 season in full swing, we thought it was about time to formally introduce the club chairman of the Oxford Saints, Graeme Taylor.

During the 2015-2016 season, chairman Andrew Peart led the Saints committee with Graeme acting as his vice-chairman. Under Andrew’s charge, the Saints continued to strive for excellence off the field, with the key change being a relocation to Tilsley Park.

Following a move to Leeds due to work, Andrew stepped down from the position shortly after the Saints national final win in September 2016, recommending Graeme as his successor. Graeme acted as interim chair until the appointment was formalised at the club AGM in October.

The backroom staff is well placed for the 2017 Division 1 season with Ben Denton as Vice-chair, Luke Fry as Secretary, Chris Roberts as Finance Director, James Dunstan as Marketing Director and other supporting staff.

When I joined the committee I was very fortunate to work with such a pro-active Chairman who shared a similar vision for the future of the Club

I am hoping that over the next 5 years, we will be able to continue to develop the Saints Senior Team on and off the field, as well as provide more opportunities for everyone in Oxfordshire to take part in American Football.

Background in American Football

Graeme was first introduced to the sport when living in the United Arab Emirates, where he attended an American curriculum high school.

In 2004, he played for the Stirling Clansmen whilst studying at the University of Sterling. During this time, he gained experience at in both offense and defense, playing center, tight end, full back and linebacker. He also served as Club Secretary for 2 years.

After graduating in 2008, Graeme looked to expand American Football in Scotland by establishing a new adult team, based in central Scotland. The club was successful in securing venues for games, training and recruited 40+ players. However, struggling to obtain the much needed sponsorship to purchase kit and equipment, the team never became fully operational.

Edinburgh Wolves & Further studies

In 2009, Graeme joined the Edinburgh Wolves as a linebacker. In 2010, they were the Scottish champions but were knocked out in the playoffs. He continued to play with the Wolves until 2011 when he required surgery for a shoulder injury.

Whilst recovering, Graeme took a break from American Football and returned to university, gaining a masters in Sport Management, which included modules in marketing, finance and venture management.

Graeme rejoined the Edinburgh Wolves for the 2014 as a defensive tackle, which saw them gain promotion to Division 1 after finishing 2nd place in Division 2.

At the end of the season, he relocated to Oxford.

Oxford Saints

Joining the Saints in 2015, Graeme played linebacker and reached the Division 2 quarter finals before losing to the Sussex Thunder.

In 2016, he took on the committee position of vice-chairman alongside playing, with the team completing their first undefeated season in team history. The Saints claimed victory over the Cambridgeshire Cats in September 2016, to be named the Division 2 South Champions.

During the first few months as chairman, Graeme has put his education and experiences to good use as the Saints continue to go from strength to strength.

During this time, he has led a successful funding application for the Oxford Saints Women’s Team and has re-structured the committee to support future growth and work more efficiently.

I am hoping that we can continue what we started under Andrew Peart’s guidance when we welcomed the Oxford Saints Women’s Team to the ‘Saints Family’, and develop a Youth programme and Flag programme to get more people involved with the sport across every age range.

I have an excellent committee and I am confident that we have all the pieces in place both on and off the field to eventually get the Saints to where I believe we belong… in the Premiership Division.

Working Life

Professionally, Graeme works for Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity. Part of this role is to help support the development of clubs, which includes securing funding, developing governance and strategic plans, club ‘health checks’, creating development plans and marketing plans.

Alongside the Saints, he is often working with other teams and organisations, to develop opportunities for Sports across Oxfordshire.

The Saints are confident that his background in American Football and Sports Management make him well suited to be chairman for the Saints and lead the club forward.

Super Bowl: Where To Watch In Oxford


The big game is taking place on Sunday February 5th at the NRG Stadium in Texas, with a 23:30 Kick Off time (UK).

This year you can watch the Super Bowl live on both Sky Sports and BBC1, as the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots.

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy the game in Oxford, we recommend you look at one of the options below and get in touch with them directly to find out more.

The Royal Blenheim

13 St Ebbes Street

Telephone: 01865 242 355
[email protected]

The City Arms

288 Cowley Road

Telephone: 01865 725299
[email protected]