The Oxford Lancers experienced their first clash of the season this past Saturday when they hosted their annual ‘Old Boys Game.’ Lancers’ alumni traveled to Oxford from all over the UK and Europe for a chance to put back on the pads and to see what this year’s team had to offer.
The Lancers traditionally hold this match as their first preseason game as it gives rookies the chance to experience the bone-crushing mayhem that can only be felt in a live game with those who are there to help give them the benefit of their wisdom. This year, however, the Old Boys team was stacked with essentially an all-star team of Lancers past and were prepared to push the 2016-17 team to the limit.
The match started well for the Lancers. Led by veteran QB, Will Szymanski, they quickly marched the ball down the field. However, the Old Boys did not break and held the Lancers to a 4th and out close to their own goal line. After that first drive, the game went back and forth at an exciting pace with no team being able to break the tie and push in that first Touchdown.
The Old Boys' experience would prove out though and about half way through the game they struck first. Former Head Coach and Old Boys QB, Andy Mck, hooked up with a TD pass to WR Jonny Kerr to put the Old Boys up by 6. This opened-up the door for the Old Boys and they continued to press hard against the Lancers. They followed up their first TD with two more scores, a big 40-yard run by Jonny ‘Priest’ Brooks and another TD to Jonny Kerr on a great deep ball thrown by Andy Mck while under pressure.
However, the Lancers were determined to show their former players that they came here to play and rallied together to finish out the game strong. They pressed down the field and Szymanski hooked up with WR Jay Bloder on a deep route which went for a TD after Bloder made some quick moves and broke a few tackles. The Lancers Defensive also picked up the tempo not allowing any further scores and capping off the game with an INT by CB Josh Allen.
The match ended 18-6 for the Old Boys who gave the Lancers a great match to prepare for the upcoming season. Notable stats from the game included 2 TD’s by Jonny Kerr, 1 TD by Jonny Brookes, 1 TD by Jay Bloder, 1 INT by Josh Allen, 1 INT by Joe Muse, and fumble recoveries by Rob Main and Max Howell.
At the end of the day, the match was a big success. Players from past years were reunited and new players got to hear tales of past Lancer glories (though these stories tend to grow more legendary as each year passes). This season will see one of the Lancers’ toughest challenges yet as they move into BUCS Tier 1 and seek to continue the dominance they displayed last season. The experience that they gained from competing against the Old Boys will undoubtedly serve them well as they turn their attention to their next opponent and cross city rivals, the Oxford Brookes Panthers.