Category: women

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 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.

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)

Oxford Saints Women Receive Sport England Grant

Huge boost for the Oxford Saints Women’s Team

The Oxford Saints are excited to announce that the club has been successful in securing a grant for the women’s team.

Following a detailed application process, Sport England has awarded the sum of £8,440 to the team which was founded in May 2016.

The grant money will be used for helmets, shoulder pads, uniforms and other training equipment to help them develop and prepare for their first contact tournament.

Club chairman Graeme Taylor said:

“We are delighted that we have been awarded a Sport England Small Grant! We have been very fortunate to have such a great group of ladies come together and join the Saints family, and securing the funding needed to get them started with contact football is a just reward for all of their efforts.”

“We are looking forward to getting the team kitted out and can’t wait to see them in their first Sapphire Series tournament!”