Game Preview: Oxford Saints VS Ouse Valley Eagles – 7th May

Saints Face The Eagles For first time on 7th May

With Oxford playing American Football since 1983, the relatively new Eagles were formed through the merger of the Milton Keynes Pathfinders and the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders in 2013.

In 2016 they ended the season with a 4-6 record in the Division 1 Midlands conference. They were then relocated to the recently created Division 1 Central conference alongside Oxford for 2017.

Season so far

Ouse Valley have had a strong start to the year with wins on the road against both South Wales Warriors and Solent Thrashers.

They claimed a narrow 14-12 win over the Warriors to open their season and then followed it with a 27-19 win against the Thrashers.

Photo from ovfootball.com

Oxford meanwhile suffered a 35-8 defeat at the hands of the Sussex Thunder in their first game, who are sitting comfortably at the top of the table with a 3-0 record.

The Saints earned their first victory in a 13-6 contest against South Wales, in a game where defenses dominated and Oxford’s powerful run game secured the win.

This Sunday

Welcoming the Eagles to Tilsley Park, the Saints will be looking to move to 2-1 for the season and give Ouse Valley their first loss.

With Oxford’s coaching staff analysing footage from the Eagles, stopping their spread offense will be a major factor and the Saints defense will likely be tested in the air all day long.

Defensive line coach Toby Durant said:

“It was a long preseason, with a lot of adjustments to make, but I think we’ve got a really good chance of going far this season”

“The first two games were a big test of just how far we’ve come from last season, and while the Sussex game was humbling I think it was exactly what we needed. This season won’t be easy, but we got a good win in Wales and I am confident going into the game with Ouse Valley that we can do it again”

“The players are adjusting well to the step up in competition. There are no more weeks off and easy games. No walkovers. We go to work every Sunday and get a little bit better”

Turner & Dover

Featuring on the Eagle’s roster for 2017 is Saints veteran Mike Turner, being utilised as a kicker and defensive back. Turner had played for Oxford for several years and caught an interception in 2016’s Division II Final against Cambridge, where the Saints completed their undefeated season.

Meanwhile, Oxford’s defense is being bolstered with the return of veteran defender Jonny Dover. A player with many talents, Dover has previously been used at defensive back, kick returner and running back.

Jonny Dover – Photo By Chris Janes

Tilsley Park

Beginning the 2nd year of their partnership with Tilsley Park, the Saints have one of the best venues for American Football in the UK. There will be music, commentary, covered seating and a licensed bar.

The team are also pleased to confirm the return of Buffalo Grill, providing hot food before during and after the contest.

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

Tilsley Park
Dunmore Road
Abingdon
OX14 1PU

Saints Home Venue – Photo by Tilsley Park

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