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Oxford Saints 14 – 13 Ouse Valley Eagles | Game Summary

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.

KICK OFF

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.

Ouse Valley Eagles running back Kalaba Chibwe – By Gareth Brown

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.

RB Isa Mohammed – By Gareth Brown

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.

RB Shaun Griffin – By Gareth Brown

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.

Oxford Saints 52 – 22 Bristol Apache | Game Summary

OXFORD CLAIM FIRST WIN OF 2018

Date: 10th June 2018
Location: Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Final Score: Oxford 52 – 22 Bristol
Statistics: PDF Download

Following last week’s heavy defeat, the Oxford Saints bounced back in style with a dominating 52-22 victory over the Bristol Apache.

With both teams hunting for their first win of the season, the Saints had numerical advantage with a larger squad and were playing at their home ground Tilsley Park in Abingdon.

KICK OFF

Bristol started on offense with Oxford’s defense forcing a fumble on the opening play. The visiting team maintained possession but suffered a 3 yard loss after the tackle by Jonny Little.

On the next play, the Apache runner broke free for a substantial 46 yard run. To cap off their opening drive, quarterback Andy Watts kept the ball himself and ran into the endzone for a 8 yard touchdown. Adding an extra 2 points, Watts passed the ball into the hands of Freddy Marshall for the conversion. 8-0 Bristol.

Despite strong running on Oxford’s opening drive by Shaun Griffin, the Saints were unable to keep it going when a bad snap saw quarterback James Sharples having to react quick, running into the backfield to recover the loose ball but for a loss of 14 yards.

On their next drive, the Saints marched the length of the field in just five plays. Keeping the ball on the ground, big runs came from Tony Glover who picked up 28 yards and rookie Isa Mohammed storming through for a touchdown on a 31 yard run. Sam Fielden’s extra point kick missed it’s target to the left. 8-7 Bristol.

During the 2nd quarter, the Saints offense with a number of dangerous running backs proved too much for Bristol’s defense to handle. Griffin entered the endzone and the extra kick was good, giving Oxford a 13-8 lead. Another scoring drive would soon follow with Glover picking up multiple first downs, along with a 16 yard pass from Sharples to Sam Armstrong. Claiming his 2nd touchdown of the day, Mohammed ran through for a 27 yard score. Another kick from Fielden pushed the Saints ahead 20-8.

RB Shaun Griffen – By Gareth Brown

HALF TIME

Beginning the 2nd half with the lead and possession of the ball, the Saints quickly put together another scoring drive. Connor Day and Griffin picked up first downs on back to back runs. Glover finished the drive punching the ball in from 1 yard out, with another accurate kick from Fielden. 27-8 Oxford.

The Saints continued to dominate the game throughout the 3rd quarter with their defense holding Bristol to minimal gains. Meanwhile Oxford moved the ball with ease on the ground from a variety of running backs, with Mohammed, Griffin, Glover and Matthew Powell all making yards.

RB Isa Mohammed – By Gareth Brown

Saints veteran Michael Oluwole claimed the next score, running straight up the middle from 3 yards out. Fielden added the extra point.  34-8

Another sustained drive saw the Saints reach Bristol’s 2 yard line, with Armstrong crossing over for the next touchdown and Fielden remaining consistent. 41-8.

In the 4th quarter, a chance for Bristol to find the endzone was abruptly stopped when Oxford’s Simeon Stoodley intercepted the pass in the endzone, forcing a change of possession. Capitalising on the switch, the Saints marched down the field but only came away with a field goal as Fielden put it through the uprights from 30 yards out. 44-8

Late in the 4th quarter, Bristol’s offense picked up a 50 yard gain on a pass play, followed by Andy Watts throwing the ball into the corner of the endzone with Jim Powell-Cullingford catching the touchdown pass. The 2 point conversion is good, with Sam Leale-Green catching the pass for the additional score. 44-16

On the following kick off, Bristol managed to force a change of possession when they recovered a live ball, bringing their offense back out onto the field on Oxford’s 19 yard line. In just one play, Watts connected with Powell-Cullingford again for 19 yard touchdown pass. Attempting to pass the ball in for a 2 point conversion, it fell incomplete. 44-22.

QB James Sharples – By Gareth Brown

Frustrated that Bristol were able to score twice in quick succession, the Saints would have the final say of the game with Sharples spreading the ball around well to multiple receivers. Jason Williams caught a first down pass for a 11 yard gain and Sharples connected with Jeremie Leonard on a 14 yard touchdown.

To wrap things up, Oxford used the opportunity to practice a trick play on the extra point kick, with Fielden faking his kick as Ian Hiscock passed the ball to Armstrong instead, securing 2 further points.

Final score 52-22

Oxford have no time off as they are back in action again this Sunday at home against the Ouse Valley Eagles.

2018 BAFA Diamond Series Recap

Players from Oxford Saints Women’s team represent at 2018 BAFA Diamond Series

The 2018 BAFA Diamond Series saw the UK divided into three teams who battled it out in a round robin tournament to claim the title. Previous tournaments saw just a North and South team compete against each other, but strong growth in Women’s football has allowed for a 3rd team to be introduced. The newly founded Heartlands Shock featured several Saints, fighting against the Southern Blaze and Northern Blizzard. The competition was expected to be fierce.

Three full day practice sessions gave players the opportunity to work as a team and for many of our Saints, this was their first taste of 11 a side football. Eight players took up the opportunity, Megan Brown (LB), Sophie Marshall (LB), Heather Bignell (RB), Josie White (RB/WR), Aislinn Baird (QB), Annie Moreby (WR), Natt Webb (OL) and the experienced GB lineman Monica Lewinska who swapped over to OL to shake things up! Coaches Adam Baker and Luke Fry also took up the reigns of positional coaching for the Heartlands Shock, leading the Linebackers and Running backs respectively.

After some gruelling practice sessions in the UK heatwave, Josie White was named as a Captain for the Heartland Shock, which was testament to how far the Saints Women’s programme has come in the last 2 years.

 

Gameday 1

The first gameday was full of individual achievement and team disappointment as the Shock struggled to hold up against the physical Blaze and Blizzard teams. With the final game called early due to injury, the Shock were left with a frustrating loss against both teams. However, the big step up to 11 a side was taken on by the Saints Women with determination and guts. As expected, Monica Lewinska dominated on the line, leaving huge gaps in the Blizzard’s defense to allow Luke Fry’s running backs to chew up some yards. Aislinn Baird also made huge ground with her powerful arm gaining valuable yardage, which was impressive for a first year rookie.

Megan Brown continued to show bravery beyond her size at Linebacker and seemed to take to the 11 a side game with ease until an unfortunate concussion took her out of the series in the second game. Josie White started in her familiar position of tail back with fellow team mate Heather Bignell at full back but the Blaze’s sneaky addition to the Diamond playbook left them stranded in the backfield and struggling to get into space. As the starting Kicker, Bignell made better use of her foot in the first round of games whereas White stepped in at slot, found space and scored the first touchdown for the Heartlands Shock.

Final scores for day 1:
Heartlands Shock 8 – 15 Southern Blaze
Northern Blizzard 14 – 12 Heartlands Shock

Gameday 2

After two weeks off, the Heartlands Shock were back with a point to prove. It was clear that without the experienced players evident in Blaze and Blizzard, it was going to be a day of learning and determination. In the first game against Blaze, the Shock brought a new energy and shut down their D line. The most notable change to the Shock’s O Line was the improvement seen in Saints Centre Natt Webb who stepped up her game at left tackle and held off players twice her size. Lewinska on right tackle continued to blast through the Blaze D line and was asked to play both sides of the ball due to injuries, considerably increasing the Shock’s threat.

Bignell also showed improvement from the previous games and delivered a picture perfect punt that was annoyingly returned half way up the field. Josie White found her stride again at tail back and also made some valuable yards on kick return that started the best and final drive of the game and ended in a touchdown and 2-point conversion. However, at the end of the first game, the Shock were still without a win and with the opportunity to play the final 2 minutes of the previous Blizzard game, they were fired up.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, much to the disappointment of everyone on the Shock sideline. The Blizzard game was another hard fought battle and similar to Blaze, the addition of some cheeky additional plays ran up the score and left the Shock without the win they wanted.

Final scores for day 2:
Southern Blaze 15 – 8 Heartlands Shock
Heartlands Shock 0 – 28 Northern Blizzard

Whilst the Saints Diamond team didn’t get the desired result, the experience was fantastic and has given our players the opportunity to take on talented athletes in the Blaze and Blizzard teams. The Oxford Saints congratulate the Southern Blaze on their well earned win and look forward to facing many of the players at the Sapphire Series tournament.

Oxford Saints 9 – 52 Sussex Thunder | Game Summary

SUSSEX BRING THE THUNDER

Date: 3rd June 2018
Location: Brighton Rugby Club, Sussex
Statistics: PDF Download

With the 3rd straight game on the road, the Saints suffered a heavy defeat. In recent years, it had been the Saints handing out such punishments and they hadn’t endured such a scoreline since a 51-0 loss in 2013 against the Cornish Sharks.

In the competitive central conference of Division 1 South, the Oxford team travelled with various missing players and felt their absence, especially on defense.

The Saints faced the Sussex Thunder three times in the 2017 season and although they conceded all three games, two of them were close fought affairs, including a narrow 1 point loss.

KICK OFF

Oxford began with the ball and had quarterback James Sharples as the starter. With two carries from Shaun Griffin for a combined 9 yards, the Saints attempted a pass but failed to gain the additional yard needed for a first down and punted the ball away.

With the Thunder offense out on the field, veteran quarterback Eber Kington led his unit to a quick score. After two short run plays, Kington connected with receiver Chris Evans who hauled in the ball and ran into the endzone for a 48 yard touchdown. James Brooker added the extra point kick. 7-0 Sussex.

Looking to respond, the Saints put together a sustained drive across the field with running from Griffin, Connor Day and Isa Mohammed. On 3rd down, Tony Glover was handed the ball and ran for a 22 yard gain and a crucial first down.

With the endzone in sight, Mohammed got the Saints onto the scoreboard as he charged into the endzone, claiming his first career touchdown for Oxford. Sam Fielden added the extra point to equalise. 7-7 tie.

ISA MOHAMMED FIRST CAREER TOUCHDOWN

Expecting the game to be a back and forth affair, the Saints struggled to contain the dangerous running back Ben Chukwu-onu, who escaped through the defense for a 34 yard touchdown on the first play of the drive. Brooker added another point to give the Thunder the lead. 14-7 Sussex.

After a stalled drive for Oxford, the Thunder offense showed their talents once again with Kington passing the ball to Thomas Kelly on the 2nd play for a 38 yard touchdown. Another kick extended the Sussex lead to 21-7.

A fumbled ball on Oxford’s next drive was recovered by the Thunder defense, but the Saints managed to keep Kington and his troops at bay as they settled for a 29 yard field goal from Brooker. 24-7 Sussex.

Now in the 2nd quarter, the Saints handed the ball to Mohammed on back to back plays, picking up a first down on a 13 yard run. On 3rd down, the ball came loose and it was scooped up by Thunder’s Samuel Oldfield who returned it the distance for a 45 yard touchdown. 31-7.

Ramping up the score even further, Oxford’s defense couldn’t stop Chukwu-onu who escaped up the sideline on the 2nd play of the drive for a 60 yard touchdown and his 2nd of the day. Brooker kicked the extra point and the gulf deepened to 38-7.

Hoping to add a consolation score before the end of the half, Mohammed showed his strong running abilities with two first downs on two carries. On the next play an under-pressure Sharples saw his pass intercepted, forcing a change of possession.

A good display from the Saints defense kept the Thunder’s offense out of the endzone, forcing a long 43 yard field goal attempt by Brooker, but his kick was blocked.

HALF TIME 38-7 Sussex

Following a disastrous first half, the Thunder were comfortable with their lead to rest Kington and put in quarterback Jaden Ellis. Oxford’s defense forced their opponents to punt the ball away, giving the Saints their first possession of the 2nd half.

On the first play of the drive, a pass attempt from Sharples was intercepted and the Sussex defender returned the ball to the 1 yard before being tackled just short of the endzone by Sharples. Jaden Ellis sneaked the ball up the middle for the 1 yard gain, seeing Sussex pull to a 45-7 lead.

Oxford seemed to find their form when they were marching down the field towards the Thunder endzone, with Mohammed shining with his impressive running, throwing multiple defenders to the ground as he charged through. From 2 yards out, Griffin attempted to enter the endzone but the ball came loose and it was recovered by Sussex, putting an end to Oxford’s promising drive.

Although Sussex had possession, they were backed up against their goalline and started on the 2 yard line. Veteran defender Spencer Duffy forced his way through and took down the ball carrier for a loss of 2 yards. As the tackle happened in the endzone, the Saints were awarded a Safety and gained 2 points. 45-9 Sussex.

The Thunder offense would add on a final score to have the last say of the game, with Ellis connecting with Chris Evans for a 40 yard touchdown pass and another perfect kick from Brooker. 52-9 Sussex.

FINAL 52-9 SUSSEX

Summary

Although it was a scoreline that the Saints will want to forget, there were still positives to take away. Isa Mohammed showcased tough running and his ability to power through defenders, demonstrating that he could quickly become a key part of the Oxford offense in his first season.

Tony Glover was a reliable option as always when the team needed to gain yards, pulling off an impressive 22 yard run. Quarterback James Sharples threw some great passes and was aware of pressure closing in on him, connecting with Charlie Hill who hauled in two quick passes.

On defense, paticularly in the 2nd half, there was renewed determination across the board and Eugene Agidee made several key tackles with intensity. Spencer Duffy also added a defensive score with a safety.

All eyes will now be on old rivals Bristol Apache, who travel to Oxford this weekend on Sunday 10th June. The Saints comfortably dispatched Bristol in their last three encounters whilst both teams were in Division 2. The Saints will have circled this game as a opportunity for a much needed morale boost.

Oxford Saints 13 – 25 Solent Thrashers | Game Summary

SAINTS LOSE EARLY LEAD AGAINST CONFERENCE LEADERS

Date: 20th May 2018
Location: Test Park, Southampton
Statistics: PDF Download

The Saints were on the road again for a rematch against the Solent Thrashers. When the two sides met in the season opener, the Saints struggled to keep up with their fast-pace offense but the contest seemed more balanced in round 2.

KICK OFF

The Saints were on the road again for a rematch against the Solent Thrashers. When the two sides met in the season opener, the Saints struggled to keep up with their fast-pace offense but the contest seemed more balanced in round 2.

With Oxford opening the game with the ball, quarterback Tony Glover was chased into the backfield on the first play for a loss of 11 yards. Despite a short pass to Jason Williams, the Saints were forced to punt the ball away.

Solent’s own efforts were also stopped short, when a 11 yard run for a first down was called back due to a penalty against their offense. Deciding to go for it on 4th down, the ball carrier was tackled behind the line by Sam Stancombe for a 4 yard loss.

With running backs Shaun Griffin and newcomer Isa Mohammed, the Saints began moving the ball and picked up a first down from a 14 yard slideline grab by Jason Williams. Unable to reach the endzone, Oxford attempted a 39 yard field goal but the kick from Sam Fielden fell short.

Later in the first quarter, the Saints found themselves marching towards the endzone again with hard running from Connor Day, Griffin and Mohammed. The offense picked up another key first down with a 19 yard completion from Glover to Jeremie Leonard. On 3rd down veteran playmaker Sam Armstrong scored on a reverse play, running the ball in from 12 yards out. Fielden added the extra point.

7-0 OXFORD

With the Thrashers keen to respond, quarterback Bradley Sawyers handed the ball off for a 13 yard gain and a first down. On the 2nd play of the drive, his pass attempt was intercepted by Saints rookie Simeon Stoodley, forcing a change of possession.

Nearing the end of the first half, Oxford were moving the ball well on the ground again with carries from Day and Mohammed. On 4th down, Glover connected with Leonard for another deep pass and a 27 yard gain, bringing the Saints just outside the endzone. From 2 yards out, Glover kept the ball to himself and ran it up the middle for the score.

Fielden attempted the extra point kick, but the ball was batted down and scooped up by Solent’s Hassan Mugambwa as he took off towards the opposite endzone. Despite a valiant attempt from Jason Williams to pursue him, Mugambwa was two steps ahead and returned the ball for a 2 point score.

13-2 OXFORD

With Oxford kicking the ball to the Thrashers following their 2 point score, the special teams unit struggled to bring down the speedy Dayle Greenfield, who returned the ball 72 yards giving Solent another 6 points. Matt Hewlett added the extra point, with the Thrashers narrowing the scoreline to 13-9 in back to back plays.

13-9 OXFORD

HALF TIME

Solent were fired up coming into the 2nd half following their two scores on special teams. Their offense kept the ball on the ground but couldn’t overcome a tough Oxford defense who made a strong stand on 3rd down. Opting to take the points instead of attempting a 4th down conversion, Hewlett kicked the ball through for a field goal from 29 yards out.

13-12 OXFORD

Later in the 3rd quarter, Solent took their first lead of the game on the 2nd play of the drive with Sawyers completing a pass to his favourite target Greenfield, escaping up the sideline for the touchdown. Hewlett remained consistent and added the extra point.

19-13 SOLENT

With both sides exchanging drives in the 4th quarter but unable to find the endzone, Oxford put quarterback James Sharples into the mix but his pass was intercepted by Solent’s Alistair Hugo, returning it 41 yards into the Saints endzone for a defensive touchdown. The Thrashers attempted to run the ball in again for a 2 point score but were unsuccessful.

25-13 SOLENT

Looking to move the ball in the air and add a consolation score, Sharples narrowly missed connecting with Leonard deep downfield on what could have been a touchdown play, but the ball fell incomplete inches away. The Solent defense maintained their strong form and ended the game without giving up any points to Oxford in the 2nd half.

The Saints now fall to 0-1-2 (1 tie and 2 losses) after this recent result to the conference leaders. With a training week ahead of them, Oxford will next travel to Brighton to take on the Sussex Thunder on 3rd June in the hopes of securing their first win.

Oxford Saints at Diamond 2018

Oxford Saints Women are participating in this year’s BAFA 11v11 Diamond tournament

Held over a month, the tournament brings together players from across the nation to compete in three regional teams; The Northern Blizzard, The Southern Blaze and The Heartlands Shock.

Oxford forms part of The Heartlands but nobody is shocked to see the Saints well represented across a number of positions. Saints coaches Adam Baker and Luke Fry are also part of the coaching staff. 7 players are planning on making an impression.

They are:

Natalie Webb – Offensive Line
Monica Lewinska – Offensive Line
Meg Brown – Linebacker
Josie White – Runningback
Annie Moreby – Receiver
Sophie Marshall – Linebacker
Aislinn Bard – Quarterback
Heather Bignell – Runningback

Coaching:

Adam Baker – Linebackers
Luke Fry – Runningbacks

Stay tuned to find out the newly formed Heartlands Shock perform, with the games taking place in Derby on May 19 and June 2.