Super Bowl Sunday will be a big deal this year. Not only are the top two NFL teams going head to head in pursuit of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but Oxford will be having it’s own showdown.
Each year the Cavalier Cup is up for grabs in the varsity game between The University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University. Kick-off is at 1PM, Wheatley Campus.
The Oxford Lancers are currently riding high with an undefeated record and have turned their club around. After suffering back to back seasons without any victories, new fire has been breathed into the organisation and Head Coach Andrew McKenzie is leading the charge.
Cross town rivals the OBU Panthers have had a troublesome time and will be looking to put behind their recent suspension from games and get back to winning on the field. Taking on the Lancers will be their first contest since returning to training in 2016 and there is a trophy at stake. In 2015 the Lancers claimed victory over the Panthers and took home the Cavalier Cup, but will they keep hold of it for another season?
We spoke to both teams to get their views on the continuing rivalry. Lancers coach Adam Goldstein said:
“The Panthers will be very hungry to get their season back on track after their three game suspension. We expect them to be very fired up to win some silverwear. We expect (as always ) a very tough battle. we haven’t lost in 8 games now and we are 4-0 on the season.”
“The Lancers won the 1st leg against OBU earlier in the season 13-12. If it is a tie on Sunday then it goes down to aggregate scoring between the teams, so it really will be a ‘win or lose the cup’ situation.”
”We haven’t lost in 8 games now and we are 4-0 on the season.”
Currently the Cavalier’s Cup record is a tie, with both teams having won it twice.
A win for the Lancers on Sunday will demonstrate that after being whipping boys for several seasons, they are a vastly different team and are now THE team in Oxford to beat.
A win for the Panthers will help shore up their image, reclaim the trophy and put an end to the Lancers 8 game winning streak.
Panther president Ian Whitehead added:
“It’s the first game back for the Panthers after suspension and it couldn’t be a better opposition to return to action against, with team morale currently at its peak going into this fixture against our close rivals. The first game in which, aside from a few special teams errors and unlucky turnovers, was firmly in the Panthers’ favour, now sets up what’s sure to be a great match second time around.”
“After a period of detention, the Panthers are back with a renewed sense of determination, as well as a promising new quarterback looking to make his mark on the Cavalier’s Cup. This re-invigorated side is looking to put themselves back on the map as the strongest prospects in the division, and with nothing to lose the pressure mounts on Oxford to turn up and provide a great game.”
The Oxford Saints have connections with both University sides and both head coaches are former players for the Saints. OBU Head Coach Nick Wykes (below) is the Defensive-Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach for the Saints.
He is also a retired player and hall of fame member.
Meanwhile in the Lancers camp, new Head Coach Andrew McKenzie had a spell with the Saints in 2014 at quarterback and previously to that, tight-end. An injury early in the 2014 season whilst playing against the Lincolnshire Bombers saw McKenzie’s season at QB for the Saints cut short.
Several current players for the Saints such as defensive lineman Toby Durant and free safety Ian Hiscock are involved in coaching the two University teams. With Hiscock at the Lancers and Durant at the Panthers, the Saints continues to support both teams and look forward to a thrilling contest.
The OBU Panthers have a history of sending talented players to the Saints, with star running back James Walter being a former Panther along with full back Ryan Kingshott (below) who is still playing for OBU. Both are back with the Saints for 2016.
Photos courtesy of Chris Janes – Jamo’s Pics