This SUNDAY the Oxford Saints are stepping onto the field for what is undeniably the biggest game so far of the 2015 season, perhaps even the biggest game of the past few years for Oxford…
The Saints and the Apache have faced each other many times before but were in different divisions during the 2014 season. In 2012 Oxford dominated over Bristol, who returned the favour in the 2013 season.
2015 has seen the teams much more evenly matched. On 26th April 2015 Bristol travelled to Oxford to play their first regular season game. The Saints meanwhile were coming off a 18-6 home opener victory against Torbay the week before.
The game quickly got out of hand with Bristol’s high powered and fast moving offense putting up points on the Oxford defense. Although Bristol found the scoreboard first, the Saints answered back swiftly with a touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Denton to receiver Sam Armstrong.
The remainder of the first half however was a one sided affair which saw the visiting team pick apart the Oxford defense and securing a 28-6 lead by half time.
What happened in the second half was a cinematic-like come back which saw the Saints pull off a remarkable 35-34 victory and was the largest comeback for a win by Oxford in over 15 years.
You can read the full game report here: Saints Break Bristol 35-34
Oxford’s high spirits were dealt a huge blow on 3rd May when the team travelled to take on the Swindon Storm, in game 3 of the regular season.
The Saints offense struggled to find it’s rhythm and under torrential rain, the game slipped further and further away. Powerful running from Swindon’s Dan Thorne saw him break through the Saints defense time after time. The game ended as a 50-16 defeat.
Next up was the Cornish Sharks on 17th May. Famously stronger at home, the Sharks however had to travel to Oxford for this contest and were beaten 43-24 by the Saints, a much needed morale boost following the Swindon result earlier in the month.
The following week Oxford made the long trip down to Torbay to take on the Trojans. A relatively new club after a long hiatus, the Trojans were led by a mobile and talented quarterback but they were not able to overcome the experience of the Saints, losing 70-32.
Stunned by their defeat during their season opener, Bristol bounced back with 3 consecutive victories.
On 9th May they travelled down to Newquay and successfully shut down the Cornish Sharks in their own territory, coming home with a 30-10 win.
On 31st May they hosted Swindon and achieved a dominant 37-12 victory before ending with a a 57-0 win over Torbay on 14th June.
SFCW – Division II
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Nearly two months since the first contest, Oxford and Bristol are finally going up against each other again in what is sure to be another thrilling spectacle of American Football.
This time however the Saints are travelling to Bristol who will have home field advantage at their state of the art 4G facility.
Both sides have added several wins since the last meeting but Bristol have the added benefit of also defeating the Swindon Storm, which Oxford failed to do.
It has been said that Bristol appeared to be complacent when they last played Oxford and you can’t blame a team for feeling that way with a dominating first half performance and a 28-6 scoreline in their favour.
After appearing to rotate in players and resting some starters, the game quickly turned around and Bristol had to get back into gear when the Saints started to narrow the gap. You can guarantee however that Bristol will not be willing to make the same mistake again and there is unlikely to be mercy from either team if one takes an early lead…
Oxford began the season following a hugely successful recruitment drive which has seen the player roster rise to approximately 70 players, some of whom are taking up the sport for the first time or have been attracted to Oxford from other clubs.
With three more games of experience since the Bristol contest, Denton has been able to improve his relationship with the offensive unit.
Across the team, competition for starting spots has remained strong which has created a favourable training atmosphere. The Saints have also added several returning veterans and some new recruits, so there will be a few different faces when the two teams go head to head again…
The build up to the game has also seen local media coverage with the Oxfordshire Guardian dedicating a whole back page.
Although we are on the road for this one, Bristol is not too far away from Oxford and any travelling supporters are most welcome to join us and enjoy the show.
If you can’t make it, be sure to follow us on twitter @oxfordsaints for live score updates!
Please use the address below:
Filton Wise Campus