Saints VS Thunder: Preseason game preview

(Featured image above by Rihanna Dawes)

Sam Armstrong – Wide receiver

On Sunday 22nd March the Saints will be travelling to Sussex. This warm up game against the Thunder will officially mark the end of the Saints pre-season training.

With a roster of 63 registered players, expect the Oxford coaches to be trialing new things and assessing the squad in action.

Competition for starting spots is extremely tough and this game will allow individuals to showcase their abilities and get noticed.


Martin Fitzpatrick, Saints Chairman:

“This game marks the start of our 2015 campaign.

We’ve had one of our most successful recruitment drives in years and the pre-season game against the Sussex Thunder will give our coaching team an opportunity to see how our new players perform in a game situation against top-quality opposition.

The game will also help us to decide who’s going to win the starting job at each position ahead of our season opener at home to Torbay on the 12th April; so despite this being a preseason friendly, you can expect some real intensity on the field from both teams.”


One of the most interesting aspects of the upcoming match up will be the debut of Oxford’s new quarterbacks. Ben Denton has moved to the position from cornerback/kick-returner and Dave McCormack is switching from runningback/kick-returner also.

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Both have grown up in Oxford and for months have been preparing for the challenge ahead of them. Leading a team for what is believed to be the oldest American Football club in the country will be a big honour and responsibility for the young signal callers.

Learn more about their backgrounds and thoughts on their first year under center here:

Alongside Ben and David, a key player to watch out for is Kev Brooks. Joining the Saints in 2014, Kev went on to have a dominating first year as runningback and was awarded 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Veteran wide receiver Sam Armstrong (pictured above) is also returning for the 2015 season. Sam has years of experience with the Saints and his speed and height makes him a powerful weapon for Oxford’s offense.


 

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Ian Ellis, Head Coach for the Thunder:

“The Sussex Thunder return to competitive football after taking the 2014 season out following a large number of retirements for the 2013 Premier Division team. 2014 and pre-season 2015 has been a long road and a lot of hard work to attract the next generation of Thunder players and this has been helped with links into Sussex and Brighton’s university programs.

Approximately a third of the team are returning players and the remaining made up of rookies and university players. A solid coaching staff has made working with and moulding the team fun but no one underestimates the size of the task of being successful on the field. The up and coming preseason game with the Oxford Saints will give the team its first opportunity to understand where it is in its progression and if it’s ready of the 2015 season.

Key players to lookout for are Returning QB Eber Kington, RB Benjamin Chukwu-Onu, OT Ben Basson and LB Anthony Copper who all either took 2014 out or played in other programs. The interesting element will be how this works with all the developing younger players around them.

We are excited by the prospects for the season but putting the team back on the field will be a success on its own.”


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