Saints In The Playoffs: Round 1 Preview

PLAYOFF ROUND UP

The Oxford Saints have qualified for the playoffs and, if they are able to defeat the Swindon Storm on Sunday, they will be entering the playoffs with an unbeaten record.

By finishing top in the SFC II West Conference, the Saints claimed the #2 seed in Division II South and a home game for the quarter finals on 21st August.

The revered #1 seed can only be achieved if the high flying London Hornets were to suffer a loss or tie against the Wembley Stallions, on 14th August.

Oxford will enjoy home field advantage through the quarter finals and semi finals (if they make it), with the big showdown for the Division II South title being played on neutral ground at the John Charles Stadium, in Leeds.

In this article we’ll be taking a look at the possible match ups that will occur for Oxford at Tilsley Park on 21st August.

 

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OXFORD VS WEMBLEY STALLIONS

wemA squad that has reportedly racked up a fair few injuries, they’re unlikely to be able to turn the tables on the #1 Hornets on 14th August in their final regular season game.

With the Cambridgshire Cats sitting at 7-3 plus holding the H2H (head to head record which is the primary tie breaker) over the Stallions, the Stallions will likely slide in to the #7 seed in the SFC II conference.

This means that they will be travelling up to play Oxford in the quarter finals, where it’ll be down to the Saints to try and put these Stallions out to pasture…

 

OXFORD VS BOURNEMOUTH BOBCATS OR EAST KENT MAVERICKS

mixThe SFC II South is the closest division around with a single game currently separating the leaders, Berkshire Renegades, from the two teams below them at 7-2.

Those two teams are the East Kent Mavericks and the Bournemouth Bobcats, who both only have one fixture left of the regular season and it’s against each other.

With the Mavericks having lost when they travelled to Reading last weekend and the Bobcats currently holding the H2H (head to head record which is the primary tie breaker), having beaten the Mavericks 29-14 earlier in the season, there’s not a lot separating these two and it could go either way.

If the Hornets do end up stumbling against the Stallions on 14th August, then Oxford would clinch the #1 seed and play the loser of this match up.

 

OXFORD VS CAMBRIDGESHIRE CATS

catThe Cambridgeshire Cats have had a season full of “almost” and “not quite”.

Ending the season at 7-3, those three loses came at an average of just 1.3 points per game. Obvious contenders in their own division, but liable to miss out on the second spot if the Stallions manage to best the Hornets on 14th August.

The slip ups in the season, where they were reportedly unable to finish potentially game winning drives in the 4th quarter, seem to have been dealt with following the win over the Stallions in week 13.

The Cats enter the playoffs on the back of a 3 game winning streak, the most recent win was a 31-13 victory over the Ipswich Cardinals.

There’s a fair amount of rivalry between the Cats and the Saints, not only the long standing competition between these two historic University towns, but the Cats have ended the Saints playoffs runs the last two times they’ve met in the post season.

 

OXFORD VS CORNISH SHARKS

sharFor the Saints to face the Sharks there would need to be a few unlikely events taking place, but it is still a possibility.

The only one that the Sharks control is that they would need to beat the Apache by less than 7 points on 14th August whilst also conceding less than 30 points.

The Saints have already faced the Sharks twice in 2016, winning both games 36‑12 and 28-10, at home and away respectively.

With a good knowledge of what the Cornwall side are able to do there should be minimal on field surprises, but this third match up has everything riding on it for both sides so expect no punches to be pulled should it take place.

Written by Chris Fox

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