ON 2ND APRIL, THE SAINTS RUN OUT AT TILSLEY PARK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2017 IN A HOME FRIENDLY AGAINST THE LEICESTER FALCONS
The two sides haven’t met on the field since the 2014 season, when the Saints claimed 2 wins over the Falcons. Several years later, both teams were crowned champions with the Falcons winning Division II North and the Saints claiming victory in Division I South.
With Oxford and Leicester promoted to Division I for 2017, this friendly game will provide an excellent opportunity for both sides to gain momentum before the regular season begins.
Whilst the players and coaches will be looking to use this game as a test for the forthcoming season, there will be some who will view this game to determine who would have been the undisputed Division II Champion, should a North VS South final had been played.
The successes of previous years will play little outcome on this match however, as the Falcons are favoured to achieve back-to-back promotions, following an extraordinary 2016 season where they led the country in points scored (497) and points conceded (21), averaging 49.7 points per game and securing 9 shut outs on the way to their 13-0 perfect season and beating the Newcastle Vikings in the northern final.
The Saints also claimed a 13-0 perfect season, capped off with a victory over the Cambridgeshire Cats in the southern final. Oxford will be looking to improve on their preseason performance at the premiership Farnham Knights on the 19th March and get back to winning ways at Tilsley Park.
Unlike the Farnham game however, which saw a good blend of veterans and rookies take the field together, Head Coach Andrew Day will likely be treating this game as close to a league fixture as possible, with the starting units expected to get a lot of work.
This fixture will also give fans their first chance to see the new Saints uniform for the 2017 season, provided by ALPHA Performance.
The Saints backroom staff are also looking to continue developing the fan experience at Tilsley Park, with music and commentary throughout the game, and the return of the extremely popular Buffalo Grill providing hot food before, during and after the contest.
Admission for this game is free, with a kick-off time of 14:30.
2017 REGULAR SEASON
The Oxford Saints regular season begins on 16th April at home, against the SFC1 Central favourites, Sussex Thunder.
The Saints will also be facing the South Wales Warriors, Solent Thrashers and Ouse Valley Eagles.