Oxford Saints 13 – 25 Solent Thrashers | Game Summary

SAINTS LOSE EARLY LEAD AGAINST CONFERENCE LEADERS

Date: 20th May 2018
Location: Test Park, Southampton
Statistics: PDF Download

The Saints were on the road again for a rematch against the Solent Thrashers. When the two sides met in the season opener, the Saints struggled to keep up with their fast-pace offense but the contest seemed more balanced in round 2.

KICK OFF

The Saints were on the road again for a rematch against the Solent Thrashers. When the two sides met in the season opener, the Saints struggled to keep up with their fast-pace offense but the contest seemed more balanced in round 2.

With Oxford opening the game with the ball, quarterback Tony Glover was chased into the backfield on the first play for a loss of 11 yards. Despite a short pass to Jason Williams, the Saints were forced to punt the ball away.

Solent’s own efforts were also stopped short, when a 11 yard run for a first down was called back due to a penalty against their offense. Deciding to go for it on 4th down, the ball carrier was tackled behind the line by Sam Stancombe for a 4 yard loss.

With running backs Shaun Griffin and newcomer Isa Mohammed, the Saints began moving the ball and picked up a first down from a 14 yard slideline grab by Jason Williams. Unable to reach the endzone, Oxford attempted a 39 yard field goal but the kick from Sam Fielden fell short.

Later in the first quarter, the Saints found themselves marching towards the endzone again with hard running from Connor Day, Griffin and Mohammed. The offense picked up another key first down with a 19 yard completion from Glover to Jeremie Leonard. On 3rd down veteran playmaker Sam Armstrong scored on a reverse play, running the ball in from 12 yards out. Fielden added the extra point.

7-0 OXFORD

With the Thrashers keen to respond, quarterback Bradley Sawyers handed the ball off for a 13 yard gain and a first down. On the 2nd play of the drive, his pass attempt was intercepted by Saints rookie Simeon Stoodley, forcing a change of possession.

Nearing the end of the first half, Oxford were moving the ball well on the ground again with carries from Day and Mohammed. On 4th down, Glover connected with Leonard for another deep pass and a 27 yard gain, bringing the Saints just outside the endzone. From 2 yards out, Glover kept the ball to himself and ran it up the middle for the score.

Fielden attempted the extra point kick, but the ball was batted down and scooped up by Solent’s Hassan Mugambwa as he took off towards the opposite endzone. Despite a valiant attempt from Jason Williams to pursue him, Mugambwa was two steps ahead and returned the ball for a 2 point score.

13-2 OXFORD

With Oxford kicking the ball to the Thrashers following their 2 point score, the special teams unit struggled to bring down the speedy Dayle Greenfield, who returned the ball 72 yards giving Solent another 6 points. Matt Hewlett added the extra point, with the Thrashers narrowing the scoreline to 13-9 in back to back plays.

13-9 OXFORD

HALF TIME

Solent were fired up coming into the 2nd half following their two scores on special teams. Their offense kept the ball on the ground but couldn’t overcome a tough Oxford defense who made a strong stand on 3rd down. Opting to take the points instead of attempting a 4th down conversion, Hewlett kicked the ball through for a field goal from 29 yards out.

13-12 OXFORD

Later in the 3rd quarter, Solent took their first lead of the game on the 2nd play of the drive with Sawyers completing a pass to his favourite target Greenfield, escaping up the sideline for the touchdown. Hewlett remained consistent and added the extra point.

19-13 SOLENT

With both sides exchanging drives in the 4th quarter but unable to find the endzone, Oxford put quarterback James Sharples into the mix but his pass was intercepted by Solent’s Alistair Hugo, returning it 41 yards into the Saints endzone for a defensive touchdown. The Thrashers attempted to run the ball in again for a 2 point score but were unsuccessful.

25-13 SOLENT

Looking to move the ball in the air and add a consolation score, Sharples narrowly missed connecting with Leonard deep downfield on what could have been a touchdown play, but the ball fell incomplete inches away. The Solent defense maintained their strong form and ended the game without giving up any points to Oxford in the 2nd half.

The Saints now fall to 0-1-2 (1 tie and 2 losses) after this recent result to the conference leaders. With a training week ahead of them, Oxford will next travel to Brighton to take on the Sussex Thunder on 3rd June in the hopes of securing their first win.

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