PLAY OF THE GAME – jAMES WALTER 45 yard touchdown
Oxford bounce back with a strong 33-14 win over Solent Thrashers
Following a narrow 13-12 defeat from the conference leaders Sussex Thunder, the Saints hit back at home with a convincing 33-14 display against Solent.
With the Thrashers being the only opponent the Saints hadn’t yet faced this season, the coaches had used game film exchanged from other teams to prepare the squad.
On their opening drive, Solent’s quarterback Bradley Sawyers passed the ball for a 36 yard completion but Oxford’s defense prevented any further gains. On 4th down, they attempted to get a early lead with a 38 yard field goal attempt from William Elgeti but the ball fell short.
Starting at quarterback for his 2nd straight game was James Walter, switched up from his usual running back position.
This new-look offense proved to be formidable once again and at the end of the 1st quarter, the Saints drove the length of the field with strong running from American Tony Glover.
To finish off the drive, Walter passed the ball in to tight end Sam Armstrong for a 16 yard touchdown, marking Oxford’s first touchdown pass of the season.
Returning kicker Sam Fielden added the extra point, after missing the previous games this season due to injury.
The Saints defense stayed on form and held the Thrashers to minimal gains with Dean Bryan, Calvin Holmes and Spencer Duffy putting pressure on their opponents.
Half way through the 2nd quarter, another long drive from the Saints saw them crossing the length of the field with more running from Glover and Antonios Athanasiou.
Another pass to Armstrong brought them to the 2 yard line with Glover charging through for the touchdown.
Fielden kicked the extra point, giving the Saints a two score lead.
The Saints defense continued to be unmovable and forced Solent to punt the ball away after failing to pick up a first down.
With Walter and the offense back on the field, running back Rob Johnson picked up 18 yards on a carry followed by a 24 yard touchdown pass to Armstrong, hauling in his 2nd score of the day.
Fielden’s kick was blocked.
20-0 OXFORD – HALF TIME
The Saints defense opened the 3rd quarter in style with linebacker Calvin Holmes delivering a hard tackle on the running back and throwing him to the ground.
Later in the 3rd quarter with Walter now returned to running back and Kyle Swann in at quarterback, Walter made his way through multiple defenders and followed blocks for a 45 yard touchdown run.
Fielden’s kick missed it’s target.
With a comfortable lead, the Saints added further pressure with defensive lineman Jonny Little bringing down Sawyers behind the line for a 7 yard sack.
However on 2nd down, a quick pass from Sawyers to Dayle Greenfield saw him escape up the sideline in a foot race for a 82 yard touchdown.
Elgeti added the extra point, giving Solent their first score of the day.
The Saints struck back quickly on their next drive as Swann handed the ball to Walter for a 37 yard gain. Further rushing from Glover brought them to the endzone with Walter going across for a 4 yard touchdown run.
Fielden added the extra point.
Now in the 4th quarter, Solent opened up their passing game and looked to move the ball quickly in the air to make up the large deficit. Sawyers found success with completed passes for 27 yards, 25 yards and 10 yards, each giving the Thrashers a first down.
With the endzone in sight, Sawyers next pass was intercepted by linebacker Graeme Taylor, forcing a change of possession.
Late in the 4th, Solent picked up considerable gains on the ground with Dean Bryan bringing down the ball carrier on back to back plays. After reaching the goalline, Adam Bowley ran the ball through for a 1 yard touchdown.
Elgeti’s kick was good.
33-14 OXFORD – FINAL SCORE
After suffering two losses in a row to conference leaders Sussex Thunder, the Saints got back on track with a strong display at home against the Thrashers.
They are at Tilsley Park again on the 25th June to take on the South Wales Warriors, as they continue to work towards a playoff spot.