Category: Featured News

Preseason #2 Recap – Oxford VS Leicester

ON SUNDAY 2nd April the Saints took on the Leicester Falcons in their 2nd preseason test of 2017

Both teams were recently promoted to Division I following undefeated seasons in 2016, with the Falcons taking the northern title and the Saints named the southern champions. This game was a good opportunity for the two sides to prepare for regular league games and test their players.

With Oxford’s former quarterback Destin Maulding back in the US, up and coming quarterback Marcus Alphonso was named starter for this game. Playing his first season in senior football, it was the first time he had took to the field with the starting offense.

Rookie QB Marcus Alphonso – By Gareth Brown

Running back Tony Glover set up excellent field position after returning the opening kickoff 64-yards to the Falcons’ 20-yard line. After some short runs, Alphonso released a deep ball into the corner of the endzone which was on course for his first career score but fell incomplete.

The drive still ended with success from veteran James Walter running into the endzone from 8-yards out for the touchdown.

RB Tony Glover – By Gareth Brown

The defense held the Falcons attack at bay for 2 consecutive drives with tackles for a loss by defensive ends George Wright and Conor Whitehouse, and linebacker Sam Stancombe.

A star performer for the day was Leicester’s American quarterback Troy Lee, who quickly demonstrated his passing skills picking up 2 first downs in the air. The Falcons found the endzone when a backwards pass was fumbled but recovered and ran in for the score.

With returning quarterback Ben Denton back under centre for Oxford, the Saints were slowly moving the ball with Walter picking up a first down on a 17-yard catch and run. On 4th down Denton was sacked for a 9-yard loss, forcing a turnover on downs.

WR Lee Lowry – By Jamie Stancombe

The Saints answered back with a 10-yard sack from Conor Whitehouse on the first play of Leicester’s next drive but they recovered with a 36-yard touchdown pass on a 8 play drive.

Before the end of the 1st half, Falcons QB Troy Lee and his receivers continued to dominate in the air before punching the ball over the goalline on a 3-yard run.

21-6 HALF TIME

With the Falcons beginning with the ball in the 3rd quarter, linebacker Calvin Holmes landed a big sack on Troy Lee for an 11-yard loss but they shook it off and continued to move the ball well on the following plays.

QB Troy Lee sacked by LB Calvin Holmes – By Gareth Brown

With frequent rotation on the Saints defense, the defenders gained valuable experience against a heavy passing attack but couldn’t keep the Falcons from reaching the endzone, setting up an 11-yard touchdown run.

On offense, Oxford had difficulties getting their passing game going and two consecutive drives failed to pick up 1st downs and resulted in punting the ball back to Leicester.

The Falcons meanwhile continued to impress in the air, picking up two 1st downs and a 45-yard touchdown pass. They added another passing score on their following drive against the rookie-heavy defense, pulling ahead further with a 41-6 lead.

QB Troy Lee – By Jamie Stancombe

Experimenting with a different formation, the Saints offense found success on the ground and drove the length of the field with running from James Walter and Tony Glover, before Walter sprinted through for a 16-yard touchdown. Rookie kicker Dean Fuller added the extra point.

The defense looked like they were going to hold the Falcons on 4th down and force a turnover, until Troy Lee connected with his receiver for another touchdown pass for 22-yards.

RB Antonious Athanasiou – By Gareth Brown

The Saints hit back immediately with Antonios Athanasiou on two back to back run plays for 26-yards and then charged through for a 35-yard touchdown.

49-21 FINAL SCORE

Download Statistics PDF

Another preseason loss for the Saints, though there were plenty of opportunities for rookies to get on the field and be tested against a high power offense with the ability to pass well.

Oxford were able to rotate through their quarterbacks including first year player Marcus Alphonso and experiment with different personnel groups, but failed to find momentum again until late in the 4th quarter.

RB Taylor Brown – By Jamie Stancombe

Meanwhile the Falcons impressed throughout with quarterback Troy Lee remaining under centre for the entirety of the game, along with a dangerous group of receivers finding the endzone in all 4 quarters. Running back Taylor Brown and receiver Joe Brammer also had big performances and multiple touchdowns.

The Saints now have a training week to implement lessons learned and identify the starting line-ups for the season opener against the Sussex Thunder on 16th April at Tilsley Park.

You can view the full 2017 schedule here.

Preseason #2: Oxford Saints VS Leicester Falcons

ON 2ND APRIL, THE SAINTS RUN OUT AT TILSLEY PARK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2017 IN A HOME FRIENDLY AGAINST THE LEICESTER FALCONS

The two sides haven’t met on the field since the 2014 season, when the Saints claimed 2 wins over the Falcons. Several years later, both teams were crowned champions with the Falcons winning Division II North and the Saints claiming victory in Division I South.

With Oxford and Leicester promoted to Division I for 2017, this friendly game will provide an excellent opportunity for both sides to gain momentum before the regular season begins.

Saints enter the field in 2016 Division II South Final – Photo by Chris Janes

Whilst the players and coaches will be looking to use this game as a test for the forthcoming season, there will be some who will view this game to determine who would have been the undisputed Division II Champion, should a North VS South final had been played.

The successes of previous years will play little outcome on this match however, as the Falcons are favoured to achieve back-to-back promotions, following an extraordinary 2016 season where they led the country in points scored (497) and points conceded (21), averaging 49.7 points per game and securing 9 shut outs on the way to their 13-0 perfect season and beating the Newcastle Vikings in the northern final.

The Saints also claimed a 13-0 perfect season, capped off with a victory over the Cambridgeshire Cats in the southern final. Oxford will be looking to improve on their preseason performance at the premiership Farnham Knights on the 19th March and get back to winning ways at Tilsley Park.

Saints vs Falcons in 2014

Unlike the Farnham game however, which saw a good blend of veterans and rookies take the field together, Head Coach Andrew Day will likely be treating this game as close to a league fixture as possible, with the starting units expected to get a lot of work.

This fixture will also give fans their first chance to see the new Saints uniform for the 2017 season, provided by ALPHA Performance.

The Saints backroom staff are also looking to continue developing the fan experience at Tilsley Park, with music and commentary throughout the game, and the return of the extremely popular Buffalo Grill providing hot food before, during and after the contest.

Admission for this game is free, with a kick-off time of 14:30.

Saints Home Venue – Photo by Tilsley Park

2017 REGULAR SEASON

The Oxford Saints regular season begins on 16th April at home, against the SFC1 Central favourites, Sussex Thunder.

The Saints will also be facing the South Wales Warriors, Solent Thrashers and Ouse Valley Eagles.

View the full 2017 schedule.

New Senior Team Uniform Revealed

SAINTS CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP WITH ALPHA FOR NEW GAME JERSEYS

Photography by Alex Malyon and Richard Wakefield

Working again with Alpha Europe, the new jerseys have been designed with a modern and clean look, whilst utilising the core white and navy colours of our club brand.

In a lengthy process, the Oxford Saints management team looked at a range of kit providers including Alpha, Badger, Rawlings & Under Armour. Club staff analysed each based on cost, availability, quality and customisation and Alpha came out clearly on top.

Working with Alpha and the Saints marketing team, concept designs were approved and the new V4 Flex Outfitsystem jerseys went into production.

Oxford are the first team in the UK to be using Alpha’s latest jersey design and they come with significant improvements over the Alpha jerseys used by the Saints between 2014-2016.

About Alpha

Alpha were formed back in 2007/08 but got going in earnest in 2010 with the determination to be a top provider. They created their purpose-built company to fill the void in Europe and handle the needs of the growing sport.

They currently service some of the biggest American Football teams in Europe including the Vienna Vikings, Schwabisch Hall Unicorns, Helsinki Roosters, Saarland Hurricanes, Gdynia Seahawks and our own Great Britain Lions.

As of 2017, Alpha keep on growing and are now on the approved list of vendors for the school districts of Houston and San Diego, opening up their brand to over 500 schools and colleges.

Uniform debut

The new uniform will be worn in Oxford’s preseason clash against the Leicester Falcons on 2nd April at Tilsley Park. Kick off 14:30.

View the full 2017 schedule here.

Sapphire Tournament: Oxford Hosts Round 3 This Saturday

On Saturday 25th March, the Oxford Saints are hosting round 3 of the 2017 Sapphire Series Tournament

UPDATE: Unfortunately the Iceni Spears have had to withdraw from Saturday’s tournament

Playing their inaugural season of contact football, the Oxford Saints Women currently have 2 wins and 2 losses in the first two rounds of the tournament.

Picking up wins against the Iceni Spears and the Peterborough Royals, whilst taking defeats from the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and Wembley Stallions.

With the usual home of the Oxford Saints unavailable (Tilsley Park), the event will be taking place at the excellent Harwell Science & Innovation Campus.

TIMES

Set 1 = 13:00
Set 2 = 14:00
Set 3 = 15:00
End of Tournament = 16:00

Address

Sports Pavilion
Thompson Avenue
Harwell Science and Innovation Campus
Didcot
OX11 0QB

Photo by P&M Photography

The Saints are excited to host and support the growing number of women’s teams in the UK and we’re sure Saturday will be another great round of the tournament.

Competing on Saturday will be the Oxford Saints, Wembley Stallions, Cardiff Valkyries and Portsmouth Dreadnoughts.

Information for visiting teams

– Games are played on grass
– Changing room access from 11:00
– Field access from 12:00
– Changing rooms are not locked so all equipment should be taken outside

All visitors are required to avoid walking over the croquet and cricket pitches and to take care to avoid other sports events happening on the day.

Please enter via the Curie entrance and look for further signage to direct you to the changing facilities and playing area.

Refreshments

Food will be available from The Wandering Kitchen alongside hot drinks from Deux Chavaux Espresso.

 

Sapphire Tournament: Round 2 Recap

On Saturday 11th March, the Oxford Saints Women TRAVELED to Peterborough for Round 2 of the 2017 Sapphire Series 5 vs 5 Tournament

Following a 1-1 record in the opening round at Portsmouth, the Saints faced the Peterborough Royals and the Wembley Stallions in their next contest.

Travelling with a small team due to some injuries and absences, Oxford had around 8 healthy players who did a great job at performing on both offense and defense.

The smaller squad size meant there was less relief available on the sideline, but it awarded participating players with lots of game time and valuable experience.

Wide receiver Laura White – By P & M Photography

In the practices leading up to round 2, Head Coach Adam Baker along with Offensive Coaches Luke Fry & Tony Glover prepared the team for their next challenge.

Oxford 26 – 19 Peterborough

First up was the Peterborough Royals, another new team to Women’s Football like the Saints. As the host team, they had a number of supporters in attendance along with a larger squad size.

The Saints opened the scoring quickly with wide receiver Laura White running a reverse up the sideline and nearly the whole length of the field, bringing some Peterborough defenders over the goal line with her.

Quarterback Harriet Henshall

A small Saints squad engaged in a back and forth with the Royals during the first half, with strong running from new player Heather Bignell and under leadership from the composed quarterback Harriet Henshall.

With Bignell and McInerney posing a a constant threat, Henshall stayed cool whilst looking for receivers, often waiting until the last possible minute to release the ball to allow her teammates to find space, supported by blocking from center Lou Robbins.

Running back Heather Bignell – By P & M Photography

The Royals added a touchdown of their own but overall the Saints maintained the upper hand with a group effort from all involved. Defensive captain Megan Brown continued to be a dominant part of the unit contributing her solid tackling skills.

McInerney displayed her outstanding ability to find space and out-pursue her defenders, often changing direction in a heartbeat and sprinting the length of the field. This included a role on defense where she performed an unorthodox but very successful tackle!

Josie McIinerney – By P & M Photography

Despite carrying an injury, Bignell proved to be a cannon ball as she charged up the field with no hesitation as she smashed into the Royals. Also playing defense, she brought pressure as she rushed the Peterborough quarter back with her dangerous acceleration.

After more back and forth, the Saints had the lead in the closing minutes of the game and claimed a 25-19 win.

Megan Brown – By P & M Photography

Oxford 25 – 60 Wembley

The Saints went straight into their 2nd game with just a short break and were up against the talented Wembley Stallions, with double a squad size.

The feisty Oxford side had a good start but McInerney was taken down before she could take off. It wasn’t long before the Stallions got a score on the board but the Saints put up a fight and kept the scores low.

Josie McInerney – By P & M Photography

Both sides struggled with fumbles and possession was constantly switching. The deadlock broke when the Saints recovered a fumble for a touchdown. Stallions struck back fast with a touchdown but a holding call nullified their efforts.

Wembley found their rhythm and were quick to add 2 touchdowns to the scoreboard whilst the Saints struggled against the hungry Stallions defense. Henshall continued to stay calm in the pocket and looked for options but the girls in blue were unable to make considerable gains down the field.

Laura White tackling – By P & M Photography

Megan Brown stepped in on offense and was close to breaking out for a touchdown run before being tackled.

With Wembley maintaining control throughout the 2nd half of the game, there were still solid performances across the board with most the players playing both ways on offense and defense.

The Saints added another score when Henshall connected with McInerney who made her away across the field and up the sideline with speed that the Stallions couldn’t match.

The game finished with a decisive victory for Wembley but the Saints are pleased that they stayed tough throughout the game and added 4 of their own scores.

Comment from Head Coach

The women showed real grit and toughness. We played well for a team in which every player played both sides of the ball. I am excited to expand the squad and see what we can do with a larger team and the future of the Saints is to become a contender. I am proud of our 2-2 record for now but i can see a brighter future – Head Coach Adam Baker

By P & M Photography

MVPS

– Megan Brown Defense MVP
– Heather Bignell Offense MVP
– Josie McInerney Team MVP

Next Round

The Saints are hosting round 3 of the Sapphire Tournament on Saturday 25th March. More details coming soon.

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.

ROUND 2

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)