Category: Featured News

Crossfit Bicester sponsor Saints RB Josie White

Oxford Saints running back, Josie White, has officially received a player sponsorship from Crossfit Bicester.

Josie has been a member of the Oxford Saints Women’s team since 2016 when she decided to make the switch from rugby. She not only has been a staple in the running back position but was one of the founding members of the women’s squad.

Josie trains at Crossfit Bicester 6-7 times a week alongside football and states the she has “noticed a dramatic increase in strength, endurance, and mobility since joining the box.”

The owners of Crossfit Bicester, Josh and Martha, focus their programming on creating all-round athletes. They not only train crossfit specific athletes but also create programs for everything from ultra marathon runners to rugby players. The key to their success is focusing on adapting to the individual needs of an athlete’s given sport and finding the most effective method to enhance their skills and improve upon their weaknesses. Their versatility also translates to effective rehabilitation, “They were invaluable during my recovery from injury earlier in the year and were able to create an effective rehab routine that allowed for a rapid return to the pitch,” stated Josie.

The Oxford Saints Women’s team now all train at Crossfit Bicester and look to put those skills to the test in their upcoming season. In addition to the upcoming Saints season, Josie has been selected alongside fellow teammate, Monica Lewinska, to represent her country when Great Britain takes to the pitch in the 2019 Women’s IFAF European Championship finals.

If you are interested in joining the Oxford Saints Women’s squad or Crossfit Bicester please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

https://www.facebook.com/oxfordsaintswomen/
http://crossfitbicester.co.uk/

Venue confirmed for GB Lions vs Russia

(article originally appeared on BAFA website: https://www.britishamericanfootball.org/news/venue-confirmed-for-gb-lions-vs-russia)

Tilsley Park in Abingdon set to host GB Lions men’s contact vs Russia on 19 October

The GB Lions men’s contact team have two qualifying pool games later this year for the next IFAF European Championships – at home to Russia in October and away to Sweden in early November.

BAFA are delighted to confirm that the venue for the home game against Russia on 19 October will be Tilsley Park in Abingdon, also home of the Oxford Saints.

With ample parking and great facilities for spectators and players, the 4G surface at the stadium reduces the risk of interference from wet British weather.

Operations Director Steve Rains said: “We are very grateful to Chris Warren from the Saints who gave us the lead on this venue a couple of weeks ago. Tilsley Park are very keen to be a destination for high profile American Football events and it’s a perfect location for this game. We hope this is the start of a great future relationship between BAFA and the venue.

The stadium can seat 500 spectators with a further 500 standing so it would be great to see the whole football community get behind the Lions in their quest to reach the top four play-off group for 2020.”

 

 

 

Saints Back to Winning Ways | Game Summary

Date: May 12th, 2019
Location: Bulmershe Court, Reading
Final Score: Oxford 24 – 12 Berkshire

The Oxford Saints secured their first win of the 2019 campaign with a hard fought victory away to the Berkshire Renegades.

Oxford set the tone early with an important interception by DB Michael Bird to stop Berkshire’s first drive and give the Saints good field position. From there James Sharples, returning to the starting QB position after missing the first two games, found WR Chris Daniels in the end zone to put the Saints 7-0 ahead.

Berkshire soon struck back however the Saints special teams unit blocked the extra point attempt which meant that Oxford retained a 7-6 advantage at the half.

Both defences held strong for a few drive in the 3rd quarter until team captain Sam Stancombe intercepted a pass front eh Berkshire QB and ran it in for a TD giving the Saints a 14-6 lead. Berkshire again stuck back with a few long passes which got them within two however once an again the Saints defence held on to stop them converting keeping the score to 14-12 in Saints favour.

From there the Saints defence took control with some great run defence as well as multiple interceptions to keep Berkshire’s offence off the field. Saints offence took advantage of the defence’s efforts with Tony Glover running in for a TD to make the score 21-12. Kicker Charlie Hill capped off a solid day with an impressive 34 yard FG to make the final score Saints 24 Berkshire 12.

Next up for the Saints is a home game against league leaders the Hertfordshire Cheetahs at Tilsley Park, Abingdon on the 26th May.

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.