OXFORD LANCERS 32-5 Essex blades
Oxford Lancers at Essex Blades 32-5 (Sun. 31st Jan 2016)
To kick off the second half of the season, the Oxford Lancers travelled across the country to match up against the Essex Blades, who had just suffered a loss to Canterbury the weekend before.
Despite the injuries and unavailabilities, the Lancers were able to field a team with three new players from the US. Two postgrads from Duke University, and another visiting student from the University of Georgia. One of them kitted up for the first time and become the first female to play for the Lancers.
The first half of the game was dominated by the Lancers’ defense. Defensive End, game MVP and team president Henk Schopmans ended the first Essex drive with a sack, forcing a punt from the opposition, and giving the Essex offense a taster of their long day on the field. Different players joined the party throughout, with DE Leon Chng, LB Benedict Shillito. DE/FB Eric ‘Minivan’ Sterling, and LB Joe ‘LMH’ Barker all contributing with tackles for loss.
Our defense gave the Lancers the ball on the Essex’s second drive with a forced fumble recovery from Henk, giving QB Will Szymanski and the offense a chance to punch it in from the 1 yard line. With a called QB run, Oxford made it 6-0 with no extra point after.
Still, the Lancers offense had a tough start to the day, and after being penalised after tough calls from the officiating crew, were forced to punt from their own end zone, which resulted in an errant snap, and a safety for Essex. 6-2.
It was the wake up call that the Lancers needed, and after a short 3 and out from the Lancers’ stout defense, the offense clicked in, driving 45 yards in 4 plays, capped with another rushing TD from QB Szymanksi, again without a conversion. 12-2.
The Lancers continued dominating on the ground in the second half. FB ‘Minivan’ steamrolled on his first carry, giving momentum to the drive that saw Will complete 3 consecutive passes and then run in for another score: a 20 yd rushing TD; no conversion. 18-2.
The Essex offense were answering with new plays, but the defense remained strong throughout, forcing punts and killing drives. Oxford continued to run the football, see both RB Connor Thompson and the ‘Minivan’ share the load, ending in another rushing TD, this time for Connor; no conversion. 24-2.
The Lancers killed the game in the 4th, executing a 9 play 82 yard drive, where NT Matthew ‘Lurch’ English running the ball for 18 yards on 2 carries. The Brasenose College connection then came to play, with WR Alex Stewart connecting with Will for the receiving touchdown. Lurch then punched in the 2 point try. 32-2.
The Blades were able to respond after with a long drive of their own, but only came up with a FG. The end result was a comfortable victory: the Oxford Lancers 32 - 5 Essex Blades.
Our attention now moves to cross-town rivals the Oxford Brookes Panthers in the #cavalierscup #leadthecharge.
HIT OF THE DAY
Joe "LMH" Barker