The Oxford Lancers celebrated tonight after an intense game week practice upon hearing that they had just been promoted to Half-Blue status for the upcoming season. While the Lancers are currently looking ahead to their first game in Tier 1 of the BUCS American Football League, we would like to take a moment to look back at the long road we have traveled and honor those players whose passion and dedication led us to this point.
The Lancers began in 2010 after a BUCS rule change forced the separation of the Oxford Cavaliers, a mixed Oxford University – Oxford Brookes team. In those first few years the Lancers faced the daunting task of building a new team from the ground up. They were often undersized and undermanned as they went up against much more seasoned teams who had years of experience on the Lancers. Although they did not win a game in their first three seasons, they continued to work hard, bond as teammates, and never gave up on the potential that they knew was within their reach. This was when the true character of the Lancers was born, the determination never to give up even when faced with insurmountable obstacles.
The dedication to the ‘O’ would not go in vain. In their fourth season the Lancers witnessed the turning of the tides. They won their first match of the season by a margin of 62-0 and finally were able to celebrate that glorious moment of victory after persevering down a long and grueling path. The Lancers would go on to prove that this win was not a fluke and finished the season 5-2, their first winning record in their history. They also won the annual Cavaliers Cup, a trophy given to the winner of the Cross-Town Rivalry between the Lancers and Oxford Brookes. However, one achievement still hovered out of reach, a victory against Cambridge and their first win in the annual Varsity Bowl.
Last season the Lancers truly were rewarded for all the hours of blood, sweat, and tears that they had shed. They came out of the gates flying and recorded victory after victory throughout the regular season. They finished the season undefeated (including two victories against rivals Oxford Brookes) and went into the playoffs in the hopes of making the Southern Conference Final and earning a promotion to Tier 1. In their first playoff game the Lancers faced a much larger opponent in the Greenwich Mariners and were predicted to be easily knocked out. However, the Mariners did not expect the pure ferocity that the Lancers brought to the pitch and were handily defeated 34-4. The Lancers lost a close match to Portsmouth in the finals, 19-15, but had proven their mettle and earned a place in Tier 1. Finally, the Lancers came up against the Cambridge Pythons, their last obstacle on the road to greatness and a team that they had still yet to defeat. This game, this moment, was one for the Lancers history books. A true culmination of all the years on the pitch that exploded in one glorious victory. Lancers 49 – Cambridge 0.
In conclusion, although all who have put on the Blue and Gold deserve to be recognized, we would like to mention a few of the players and coaches who fought through the lean years and led the Lancers to greatness.
5-year vet, Panayiotis Christoforou; 4-year vets, Jonny ‘Priest’ Brooks, Benedict ‘Hitme’ Shilito, Matthew ‘Lurch’ English, Tom ‘Foxy’ Fox; and notable stars Scott Tan, Ryan ‘Dragon’ Davies, Alex Dale, Ahmed Nasir, and Hendrik Schopmans.
Coaches Andrew Mckenzie, Ian ‘Satnav’ Hiscock, Adam Goldstein, Ben Lacey, Matt Gore, and Carl Marshall.
These individuals embody the heart that we strive for as we move forward. This award is an honor but it is only the next step on our path. The new Lancers are inspired by the past but now look to the future. We will not stop until we reach the pinnacle of British Uni American Football and are crowned National Champions. We are the Lancers and We Lead the Charge!