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Oxford 21 – 21 Berkshire | Game Summary

SAINTS AND RENEGADES END in a TIE

Date: 22nd April 2018
Location: SportsPark, Reading
Statistics: Game Stats

Following a 29-17 defeat in their season opener, the Saints travelled to the nearby Berkshire Renegades for the second game of the year.

In week 1, the Renegades put the division on alert when they toppled last years undefeated Sussex Thunder, so Oxford knew this visit would be a challenge.

QB Tony Glover hands the ball off – By Gareth Brown

KICK OFF

The Renegades started with possession and opened the game with a run play, but Oxford’s defense were quick to the mark with Greg Lewis and Sam Stancombe tackling the ball carrier in the backfield. After just a 1 yard gain on the next play, quarterback Dan Storey threw a deep ball to Henry Feurtado, who hauled in the catch for a 41 yard gain before being tackled by Tom Swift.

From 1 yard out Reading’s Andrew Nielson charged up the middle for a touchdown, putting the home team on the scoreboard first with James Treherne kicking the extra point through the uprights. 7-0 Berkshire.

With the Saints offense on the field, head coach Andrew Day put running back Shaun Griffin to work with back to back carries. After a first down from Griffin, quarterback Tony Glover completed a pass to Jeremie Leonard for a 18 yard gain and another first down.

The Saints continued to feed Griffin the ball as he picked up yards on each play, including a 14 yard run. From 4 yards out, he crossed into the endzone and Sam Fielden added the extra point to equalise. 7-7 TIE.

RB Shaun Griffin – By Gareth Brown

Looking to respond, Storey mixed things up with a combination of run and pass plays, advancing his offense down field. Close to the endzone but on 4th down, the Renegades decided to go for it and looked poised to score, but Storey rolled out to the left and was hunted down by linebacker Calvin Holmes for a sack, a loss of 13 yards and a turnover to bring Oxford’s offense back out.

Both teams exchanged drives but unable to find a way through the opposing defences. With the Saints making good progress, momentum shifted when the ball was fumbled to the ground and the Berkshire defense recovered possession.

Reading’s offense quickly picked up a first down but suffered another sack when defensive ends Conor Whitehouse and Dickie Penrose chased down Storey for a loss of 15 yards.

On 3rd down, new player for the Saints Antonio Sacco intercepted the ball from Storey, forcing another change of possession. The Saints failed to capitalise and the first half concluded with a 7-7 TIE.

HALF TIME | OXFORD 7 – 7 BERKSHIRE

Saints newcomer Josh Peck put on a show for both teams at the start of the 3rd quarter, returning the kick off all the way back to the Renegade endzone, weaving through defenders for a 90 yard touchdown. Fielden added another extra point 14-7 Oxford.

A sustained drive from the Renegades saw them making steady progress across the field, despite almost losing a fumbled ball which they managed to recover before the Oxford defense could claim it.

Reaching the Saints endzone on 3rd down, Berkshire ran up the middle but the ball came loose again and tumbled into the endzone. What appeared to be a fumble recovered by Oxford was declared a touchdown to Berkshire, after the officials stated both teams had simultaneous possession as players scrambled on the floor, with Ben Raper being awarded the score. Another extra point from Treherne equalised the score. 14-14 TIE.

In the 4th quarter, another solid drive from Oxford saw them keep the ball on the ground with Griffin getting the bulk of the workload. On 2nd down, he ran in for the touchdown from 10 yards out and gave the Saints their lead again. Fielden remained on target, with another extra point. 21-14 Oxford.

Clayton Jabbi – By Gareth Brown

With the Saints needing to run down the clock to secure victory, a crushing blow was dealt when Jonny Whitehead broke free up the sideline for a 54 yard touchdown run, entering the endzone untouched for the score. Treherne also remained on target, adding the extra point to put the game back into a tie. 21-21 TIE.

Oxford were moving the ball well again, with quarterback Tony Glover taking off and running out to the sideline to keep the offense moving. Another completed pass to Leonard for 14 yards advanced the Saints further. On 3rd down Glover was tackled for a 5 yard sack, with head coach Andrew Day calling up the field goal unit to seal the win. Fielden lined up from 39 yards to make the attempt but missed to the right.

The Saints defense held off a downfield passing attack from Storey and Feurtado in the final seconds as the clock ticked away, with the whistle being blown as a 21-21 TIE.

FINAL SCORE | OXFORD 21 – 21 BERKSHIRE

Oxford Defensive Coordinator Nick Wykes commented:

“Sunday was a big step forward from our slow start in week 1, it’s a tough one to take as we feel like we let the win get away with a handful of sloppy plays, but if the team can stay on this trajectory of development then we will be closing out these kinds of games.”

“Better execution on both sides of the ball and an already explosive special teams unit will bode well for the remainder of a very competitive schedule.”

NEXT GAME

Although the Saints will have felt that they had multiple chances to secure victory, they will be satisfied with a tie over a loss, especially against a formidable Berkshire side that made swift work of the early favourites Sussex Thunder in week 1.

After back to back games in weeks 1 and 2, the Saints will return to the practice field until May 20th when they travel to the Solent Thrashers.

Oxford 17 – 29 Solent | Game Summary

SOLENT THRASHERS CLAIM THE WIN IN SEASON OPENER

Conference: SFC1 (Southern Football Conference – Division 1)
Date: 15th April 2018
Location: Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Result: Solent Thrashers 29-17 Oxford Saints
Statistics: Game Stats

After earning promotion at the end of the 2016 season, the Saints made a good start back in Division 1 last year finishing 2017 with a 5-5 record.

With the club looking to improve on that result for 2018, they were met with disappointment as they opened their campaign with a 29-17 loss against a tough Solent Thrashers side.

KICK OFF

On Solent’s opening possession, they advanced the ball towards the Saints endzone but a touchdown pass from Solent Quarterback Bradley Sawyers to James Gibson was called back after a flag on the play.

Expecting to take a field goal on 4th down, a penalty by Oxford’s defense gave them a first down instead and a perfect opportunity to score. Sawyers handed the ball to Adam Bowley, who ran in from 7 yards out for the touchdown. The visitors attempted to add an extra 2 points but failed to cross the line. 6-0 Solent.

On the following kickoff Josh Peck, a new face on the Saints roster, showed his skills with a 59 yard return.

Josh Peck – By Chris Janes

With last year’s running back Tony Glover transitioning to the quarterback position, the Oxford offense struggled to find it’s rhythm against a strong Solent defense. On 4th down, Glover was tackled in the backfield for a sack and a loss of 7 yards, forcing the Saints to punt the ball away.

In the 2nd quarter, the Saints turned over possession when the ball came loose and was recovered by the Thrashers. With a short distance to the endzone, Sawyers completed a precision pass to Dayle Greenfield, bringing the ball in for a 18 yard touchdown. Another 2 point attempt failed, giving Solent a 12-0 lead.

Another outstanding performance from kick returner Josh Peck saw him return the ball for 62 yards, giving the Saints offense excellent field position.

The Saints finally got on the scoreboard with a 24 yard field goal from Sam Fielden. The Thrashers failed to gain a first down on their next drive and punted the ball back to Oxford.

Glover fired up the offense with a 29 yard pass to new receiver Daniel Britten. A short run and then a completed pass to Jason Williams gave the Saints another first down, with Glover then outpacing the defenders to run the ball in himself for a 20 yard touchdown.

Fielden kicked the extra point and Oxford narrowed the scoreline to 12-10 Solent at the half.

12-10 SOLENT – HALF TIME

The 3rd quarter was all-Solent, with the Thrashers adding on a 39 yard field goal from Matt Hewlett and another score on the ground from Tom Davies, extending their lead to 22-10.

Oxford’s offense started to move the ball well with solid running from Glover, showcasing his abilities to be a dual passing/running threat from the quarterback position. On 3rd down Glover found new receiver Jeremie Leonard in the endzone, catching the pass for a 8 yard touchdown and his first score with Oxford.

Fielden added the extra point to close the gap to 22-17 Solent.

The Saints needed to stop the Thrashers offense to have a chance to get the win, but a sustained drive from Solent saw them playing it safe and running the ball to use up the remaining clock, reducing Oxford’s chances.

The final blow was delivered when Solent’s Adam Bowley escaped up the sideline for a 52 yard touchdown run. Another extra point kick from Hewlett resulted in a final score of 29-17.

Despite the loss, the Saints showed that they have some new playmakers on across offense, defense and special teams. Daniel Britten and Jeremie Leonard proved themselves as key targets for quarterback Tony Glover.

On defense, new defensive back Simeon Stoodley stood out in his performance, with Josh Peck showing his game-changing potential as a kick-returner on special teams.

With another game coming up this Sunday, the Saints must use the time productively to review film and put together a plan to beat the Berkshire Renegades. The Renegades claimed a surprise 26-9 victory in their first game, beating the division favourites Sussex Thunder, who went undefeated in 2017.

29-17 SOLENT – Final Score

Oxford Defensive Coordinator Nick Wykes commented:

It seemed like both teams were, understandably, finding their feet a bit, some really impressive passages of play by both teams, as well as some pretty basic errors. We’ve a good group of players, a handful of guys new to the team, and while the talent is there we are still trying to find our identity a little bit, in all phases of the game.

Solent Head Coach Steve Rains added:

As we expected this was a tough game in what I am sure will be a very competitive Division again this year. We are knocking off the pre-season rust and I’m sure it’s the same for the Saints. I can’t see any “easy” games in our schedule and of course that is the way it should be, but we are very pleased to have a 1-0 start this year.

NEXT GAME

The Saints will now be looking forwards to their away game on Sunday 22nd April against the 1-0 Berkshire Renegades.

2018 Game Dates Announced

The 2018 schedule has been released

We’re pleased to confirm that BAFA (British American Football Association) have released the 2018 fixtures.

The Saints open the season with a home game at Tilsley Park on 15th April against the Solent Thrashers.

Last year Oxford defeated Solent 33-14 at home but the road trip to Hampshire saw the Saints take a 40-21 loss and a end to their playoff hopes. Head Coach Andrew Day will be looking to avenge last year’s loss with a win to begin the season.

Newcomers to the conference are Bristol Apache and the Berkshire Renegades, both promoted to Division 1 for 2018.

Games between Oxford and Bristol have always been thrilling events and both teams will be expecting to continue that trend together in the higher tier of British American Football.

The Berkshire Renegades make up the 6th team and are geographically the closest to Oxford, yet the two teams have not played each other in years.

Game Dates

15th April 2018 VS Solent Thrashers (home)
22nd April 2018 @ Berkshire Renegades
20th May 2019 @ Solent Thrashers
3rd June 2018 @ Sussex Thunder
10th June 2018 VS Bristol Apache (home)
17th June 2018 VS Ouse Valley Eagles (home)
1st July 2018 @ Bristol Apache
15th July 2018 VS Berkshire Renegades (home)
22nd July 2018 @ Ouse Valley Eagles
12th August 2018 VS Sussex Thunder (home)

The fixtures/results will be updated weekly during the season here.

Home venue

All home games take place at Tilsley Park with a 14:30 PM kick off unless stated otherwise. Entry is free and visitors can enjoy some of the best facilities for American Football in the UK, with covered seating, music, commentary, BBQ and a licensed bar.

Tilsley Park
Dunmore Road
Abingdon
OX14 1PU

 

Chairman’s Update – Preparing For The Season

Happy 2018 to all the Saints Family, and welcome to the new season!

After a strong return to Division One in 2017, the senior team got back to training in January after two successful Rookie Days.

With a lot of new faces on the Saints roster, the team also said farewell to retiring offensive lineman Rees Gidley and full back Luke Fry. Combined with the departure of tight end Richard Bloomer, defensive lineman Monica Lewinska and free safety Michael Bearman, there were various holes in the squad needing to be filled.

Fortunately, the 2018 recruitment class features lots of promising talent with many newcomers arriving at the Saints with previous experience. I’m sure that you will all get another exciting year of Saints Football.

(QB James Sharples – By Chris Janes)

Quarterbacks

With the new additions to the team, there has also been some veterans looking to try their hand at a new position, with star American running back and 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, Tony Glover, working to prepare himself for life as a quarterback.

He will face stiff competition however, with the return of former Saints and Oxford Brookes University quarterback James Sharples, and fellow veteran Sam Fielden joining him in the QB Room.

2018 Opponents

This year we’ll be renewing a long standing rivalry with the Bristol Apache, following their recent promotion to Division One.

Alongside Bristol, the Saints will be taking on the Berkshire Renegades, Solent Thrashers, Ouse Valley Eagles and the Sussex Thunder, in the SFC1 (Southern Football Conference – Division I).

Women’s Team

While the senior team only began training in January, the Oxford Saints women’s team have been hard at work since October and have already competed in their first two Sapphire Series tournaments this year.

What was the senior team’s loss has been the women’s team’s gain, with Great Britain Captain Monica Lewinska joining the women’s team as part of another promising recruitment class.

Monica’s experience will be invaluable to an already impressive defensive unit, led by 2017 Defensive MVP Megan Brown. The offense led by 2017 Team MVP Josephine White and quarterback Amy Moran look to continue the form that saw them finish their inaugural 2017 season in style.

(Women’s team in Tournament 2 of the 2018 Sapphire Series – By Erin Wheeler)

All their hard work in the offseason has paid off, with the Saints moving to 3-1 following impressive displays against the Peterborough Royals and Staffordshire Saxons, and a narrow 30-26 loss to the powerful Kent Exiles.

Some sources have counted the Saints as the favourites to win their division and earn promotion for 2019. Second year Head Coach Adam Baker will be delighted with the way his team has performed so far, but he knows there is a lot of work still to be done for his young team.

Behind the scenes

Finally, our backroom team have been working tirelessly again this offseason to ensure that 2018 is another productive year for the Saints.

Following a great season in 2017, the efforts of myself, Ben Denton, James Dunstan and all the other members of the committee were recognised by BAFRA (British American Football Referee’s Association) as an example of best practice in game day management, which we can all take great pride in.

Whilst the players and coaches are hard at work practising, in the gym and studying the playbook, the committee are taking care of all the other responsibilities. These have included getting documentation squared away, booking venues, finalising our 2018 schedule, ordering new equipment, reviewing our merchandise range and many other administrative tasks.

Saints Home Venue – Photo by Tilsley Park

Through the committee’s efforts, we have also secured the outstanding Tilsley Park for another season as the home of American Football in Oxfordshire, and are delighted to continue our partnership moving forward.

Recognised as one of the best facilities for American Football clubs in the UK, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Tilsley Park and Abingdon School.

2018 GAME DATES

The 2018 schedule is due to be released shortly and we’re excited to spread the news as soon as we can! All home games for the senior team will be played at Tilsley Park and for many supporters,

All Saints Senior Team home fixtures will be held at Tilsley, and for many of you, your first opportunity to watch the Saints Women will be at the Sapphire Series Finals hosted at Tilsley Park on Saturday 17th March.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Tilsley Park for what promises to be another fantastic year for the Saints.

Graeme Taylor
Chairman

Snow Warning – Training CANCELLED

Good morning rookies!

Due to the heavy (and ongoing) snowfall in Oxfordshire, along with hazardous driving conditions, we unfortunately have to POSTPONE today’s session.

The session will instead take place on Sunday 7th January, we hope to see you all in the new year.

Apologies from the Oxford Saints staff.

Coaching Vacancies

The Oxford Saints are one of the UK longest running teams and we are looking for additional staff for our senior team in the 2018 season.

With several veteran coaches already in place, the club is looking for more positional coaches, especially for the roles below:

Quarterback Coach
Special Teams Coordinator

However we welcome applications for other positions or as general coaching assistants. If you are new to coaching, we would support your training by partnering you with an experienced coach.

Requirements:

  • Work closely with the head coach and other staff to plan/deliver effective training sessions
  • Be passionate about coaching rookies and veterans alike
  • Be available for as many training sessions (Sunday afternoons) as possible
  • Be available for as many games (home and away) as possible
  • Contribute to film analysis
  • BAFCA level 1 certified (or looking to become qualified)

Why Choose Oxford:

  • One of the longest running UK clubs
  • Promoted to Division 1 in 2017 and competed immediately with a 5-5 record.
  • Financially stable and well managed
  • Some of the best facilities in Britball
  • Great gameday atmosphere with covered seating, BBQ, music, commentary & spectators
  • Excellent public profile with high quality game highlights and promotional material
  • Effective recruitment drives with a roster of 90 players in 2017
  • High practice attendance and competitive atmosphere throughout the year
  • Free travel on all team coach journeys

Next steps:

Contact us through our website or send us a message on facebook at www.facebook.com/oxfordsaints to discuss the options.