OXFORD LANCERS 15-19 Portsmouth destroyers
BUCS Division 2 Final: Oxford Lancers 15-19 Portsmouth Destroyers, 13th March 2016
The Oxford Lancers travelled to the south coast to play in the final of the division 2 playoffs, against a hard-hitting and difficult opponent in Portsmouth. The two sides had met 2 years earlier, in which the Lancers had to forfeit after 7 mins due to lack of healthy players. The final would prove to be much different, between two teams that would match up in speed, intensity, and execution.
The game came down to two broken plays with sandwiched the game: both long TD runs by the Destroyers' QB that proved the slight difference in their favour. But the score should not fool how close the game was.
After a slow start to the game, the Lancers were down two scores after the first long TD run and a freak blocked punt that was recovered in the endzone. Still, the team did not let it phase them, with QB Will Szymanski leading the way, driving the offense down for a touchdown - a pass to WR Alex Dale in the endzone. With that, the Lancers were in the game, 7-13.
From then on, the game become more hotly contested, with hard hits on both sides, Portsmouth's erring on the illegal side.
With help from extra yards from illegal hits on Portsmouth, the Lancers offense was able to capitalise on soft coverage, getting first downs on the connection between Will and WR Ahmad Nasir. Ahmad was able to get a one-handed grab in the endzone for a 15-yd passing TD, tying the game up going into half time. Oxford Lancers 13 - 13 Portsmouth Destroyers.
Unfortunately, the Destroyers' defense was able to up the intensity, bending but not breaking, giving up deep passes but remaining stingy in the red zone. The match became more and more intense, with both defenses forcing turnovers, with an INT from Joe 'LMH' Barker and a forced fumble from DB Stu Sanders. Still, the Destroyers' defense held firm, forcing the Lancers to try for a FG, which proved no good.
The Lancers' defense almost sealed the victory on the next play: a poor snap by the Portsmouth QB that went out of their endzone for a safety to the Lancers. Lancers 15-13 Destroyers.
The Lancers tried to seal the victory with a long drive.
Unfortunately it yielded no points, and was then followed by the 2nd long TD run by the Portsmouth QB. Lancers 15 - 19 Destroyers after their failed 2 point conversion.
The Lancers desperately tried to get into the endzone within the two-minute warning, helped by a 58-yd run by RB Jonny 'Priest' Brooks-Bartlett that was stopped at the 5 yard line. After some unfortunate penalties, Will's pass was tipped for an interception, giving the Destroyers the ball, and the game.
It was a tough loss in the game that many had thought and hoped the Lancers would win. Many plays could have proven the difference, but it doesn't stop the tenacity and heart the team showed on that field in Portsmouth, and in every field they played on since the beginning of the season.
The Lancers should be proud of their undefeated regular season, first playoff victory, and the promotion to Division 1. No doubt this season and its tough ending will inspire the Lancers to greater feats, and most importantly, to crush Cambridge in Trinity Term.
FT: Oxford Lancers 15 - 19 Portsmouth Destroyers
Go Lancers. #leadthecharge #shoethetabs #BeatCambridge
HIT OF THE DAY
Joe "LMH" Barker