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Bristol Apache 0-28 Oxford Saints
The Saints bounced back from last weeks bruising defeat with a controlled performance against the Bristol Apache. Oxford registered a 28-0 victory and in the process maintained their stranglehold on the South West conference.
‘Big’ Mike Oluwole starred for the Oxford outfit with 2 touchdowns but it was MVP defensive tackle Ian Chown who gave the Saints a platform with a standout second half performance.
Oxford dominated the early exchanges but despite QB Ali Galbraith guiding the offense on long drives the quarter ended scoreless as first their power running game ran out of steam deep in Apache territory and then the rookie signal caller was intercepted in the endzone by Craig Wilkinson.
With the Oxford defence generating pressure and turnovers however, Oxford would not wait long to break the deadlock and register their first score in over 5 quarters of play. Unable to get far from their own redzone the Apache were forced to concede good field position to the Saints and strong runs from Stephen Bentley and Xander Morgan set up Mike Oluwole for the go ahead touchdown from 4 yards out.
As the Saints turned up the pressure with a key sack by Ken Snider the offense could and should have increased their lead before the final ticks of the half, driving 66 yards, on the back of incisive running by Harry Carr and James Ferrigno, to the Apache goalline before being stuffed again by a resolute Bristol front 7, in the process losing leading rusher Morgan to injury.
The second half proved a much more efficient affair for the Saints as the Apache tired. Leading off from great field position courtesy of a fleet footed 42 yard kick return by Dean Bryan, Carr and Chris Ellis paved the way for Oluwole to punch in his second score from 12 yards.
In a quick fire exchange Saints defensive coordinator Nick Wykes ‘sent in The Chown’ and swung the momentum decisively in the Saints favour. First landing a big backfield hit, the defensive tackle followed it up with a big sack on Bristol QB Ben Davies. Lee Hutton then recovered a fumble to bring Josh Randall and the fired up offense back onto the field. Despite stalling at the Apache 25 and turning the ball over the Saints barely missed a beat as CB Jonny Dover diagnosed the Davies' read, stepped in front of the pass and outran the pursuit to score from 29 yards.
Despite outstanding determination and hard running from Harris, Wood and Stone in the Bristol backfield the game looked up for the Apache. Randall was, by now, covering ground quickly for the Saints, hitting Sam Armstrong deep in the Apache half with a pinpoint strike and following it up with another laser guided effort to TE James Walter, finishing the day with 4 catches, who bulldozed and finally spun his way into the endzone for a 28 point Saints margin.
Chown iced his MVP performance when he recovered a fumble on the Apache’s next drive. Oxford chewed up a large portion of the 4th quarter, but despite their best efforts they could not move the scoreboard again. Bristol put together a composed 14 play drive with Davies repeatedly finding TE Scott meredith, bringing them deep into Saints territory but with it went the remainder of the game time and Martin Fitzpatricks interception brought proceedings to a close.
Oxford can guarantee post season play with a win in their next game away to Gloucester on Sunday 22nd and Coach Day will be looking for a more ruthless performance to see his team home. The Saints have sparked into life all too fitfully over the first 6 games and the head coach will know a more sustained effort will be required if they are fulfil their potential.
Published: 14-07-2012 by nw