OXFORD CLINCH 1 POINT WIN OVER EAGLES
Date: 17th June 2018
Location: Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Final Score: Oxford 14 – 13 Ouse Valley
Statistics: PDF Download
The Saints claimed their 2nd straight win on Sunday in a closely fought battle against the Ouse Valley Eagles.
Oxford began with the ball but after a incomplete pass and two short runs, the home team were forced to punt the ball away.
The visitors kept the ball on the ground and although only gaining a few yards on each play, they were able to progress down the field into field goal range. Failing to gain another first down, Scott Gale attempted the kick from 32 yards out but missed his target.
Back on offense, the Saints struggled to get things moving with runners Shaun Griffin and Isa Mohammed being tackled in the backfield for a loss of yards. Another incomplete pass attempt saw Oxford punt the ball away again.
The Eagles meanwhile put together another drive with a series of short runs, helped along the way by multiple penalties against the Saints defense.
These penalties proved crucial as they allowed the Eagles to keep their drive alive, with Mateusz Garus running the ball in from 10 yards out for a touchdown. Gale attempted to add the extra point but his kicked missed to the left.
Oxford’s offense gained momentum when James Sharples connected with Jeremie Leonard for a 32 yard completion down the sideline. Sharples took a shot into the endzone attempting to hook up with Leonard again, but it was incomplete.
On the next play, running back Isa Mohammed ran through mutliple defenders and into the endzone for a 26 yard touchdown. Sam Fielden kicked the extra point, giving Oxford a 7-6 lead.
Towards the end of the first half, two break away runs from Ouse Valley saw them gain 39 yards and 36 yards on back to back plays. With just 1 yard to go, Jamie Smith ran the ball over the goalline for a touchdown. Gale added the extra point and the Eagles took a 13-7 lead.
Oxford attempted to answer back before the end of the half with Charlie Hill nearly hauling in a touchdown pass, but the Eagles defenders forced an incompletion.
The majority of the 3rd quarter saw both sides battling back and forth but neither able to find the endzone. Near the end of the 3rd quarter, the Saints were marching across the field with strong running from Mohammed, Griffin and Tony Glover each picking up yards.
With the goalline in sight, Sharples passed the ball into veteran receiver Sam Armstrong for the touchdown, keeping hold of it whilst being hit by the Eagles defenders. Fielden kicked the extra point and Oxford were in front again 14-13.
Following adjustments made at the half time break, the Saints defense had become a different force, preventing the Eagles from gaining a single first down in the 2nd half.
Oxford meanwhile continued to use up the game clock with run plays as they rotated through their various ball carriers. Keeping the offense on the field, Sharples connected with Leonard once again for a 24 yard gain. Although close to the endzone, the Saints were unable to put another touchdown onto the scoreboard.
With the defense shutting down a final drive from the Eagles after a incomplete pass on 4th down, Oxford’s offense assumed a ‘victory formation’, with Sharples kneeling out the remainder of the clock to secure the win.
OXFORD 14-13 OUSE VALLEY
With Sunday’s win, Oxford now have their 2nd of the season in a competitive Division 1 Central conference. After a week of training, Oxford will next be travelling to the Bristol Apache on 1st July, who they recently defeated in a 52-22 win on 10th June.