No standings available
Oxford Saints 13 - 27 Nottingham Caesars
The Saints underwent upheaval midweek when in the light of a tough season Head Coach Len Scott tendered his resignation with immediate effect.
With Oxford playing host to title contenders Nottingham ex-HC Chris Janes joined forces with assistant OC Mo Myers to marshall the offence. Nonetheless it was Nottingham who jumped out to an immediate lead. As the Caesars celebrated taking a 6-0 lead and the prospect of heaping further humiliation on a Saints squad which has historically dominated them the pendulum suddenly swung back in favour of the underdogs in spectacular style.
Following Lee Hutton’s devastating rush through the extra point blocking of the Caesars the ball bounced into the arms of iron man DT Dean Bryan who took off like Usain Bolt towards the endzone. 80 yards later Bryan’s celebrations were cut short by an officials flag which, despite the on field arbiters being unable to decide on who exactly committed the block in the back penalty 50 yards from the ball carrier, rendered the runback for nought.
Nevertheless the momentum had swung on that one play and the Saints defence knew it. Against an offence which had scored 52 points against them in the previous game the Pain Gang gave up nothing more than a solitary first down for the rest of the half.
The Oxford D has been consistently tough all year but the real revelation came on the other side of the ball. Behind the brutal running and crucially, blocking of Brian Myers came the sensation form of rookie 100 yard rusher Harry Carr.
Consecutive Oxford drives gave the left the Caesars defence clutching at air and led to a 1 yard sneak by starting QB Josh Randall and, to the delight of the crowd, a flea flicker pass from backup QB Scott Gallen to leading receiver Sam Armstrong which was reeled in for a 22 yard score and a half time lead of 13-6.
If the Saints were on a half time high the Caesars had work to do and to their credit they did it. Charles Paterson finally began to find space in the tiring Saints secondary and following a Nottingham interception return to the one yard line and a fumble at their own 31 yard line on the next offensive snap the Saints suddenly found themselves staring at a 20-13 deficit.
Despite strong running from Carr, Myers, Dover and Saunders the Caesars looked to have found an answer to Oxfords questions and as the game wound down a 3rd and final Paterson TD grab put the Caesars out of reach.
Despite the loss, a vastly improved offensive performance saw the Saints first 100yard rushing performance of the year and only the second time the team has passed the 200 yard mark in 2011.
At 2-7 the Saints travel to Cambridge next week and must win to avoid their worst ever season record.
Published: 26-07-2011 by nw