Cavs Cup VIII Preview
Super Bowl weekend will be starting off on Saturday night on February 1 in Oxford.
Under the dramatic Saturday night lights of the historic Oxford Blues Rugby stadium, the Oxford Lancers face off against their local rivals, the Oxford Brookes Panthers.
In 2019 this fixture was scheduled for this stadium, but due to a blizzard the game was postponed and the event moved to Tilsely park. The Lancers went on to win that game in what was a landslide victory, beating the Panthers 48-0.
This win cemented quite the record for the Oxford Lancers at Tilsely park; 3 games - 3 wins and a points differential of plus 139 points, let’s hope the Lancers will make a the rugby stadium a similar fortress. Last season's win also put the series 4-3 in favour of the Lancers, though the cumulative points is 97-102 in favour of the Panthers.
Since the Lancers inception, they have been rather nomadic, and have played at seven different gridirons in Oxford as their “home” field. For several years they had shared a field with Oxford Brookes at either Wheatley, or Harcourt Hill campuses; both of which are fields owned by Oxford Brookes University. In terms of the Cavalier Cup, the Lancers are 0-2 at Harcourt Hill, 3-1 at Wheatley and 1-0 at Tilsely Park.
In terms of the other home locations, the Lancers have played one home game at the Oxford Rugby Club, one home game at the Roger Bannister stadium, in the 2018-19 season they were given their own field by the University and played home games at Marston Road, and for the Lancer's home opener in 2019-20 the Lancers executive committee painted a new gridiron at Wolfson college, where the team has been training, taking the Lancers to their seventh home field.
Because the Cavalier Cup is such a great rivalry both teams have worked hard on getting a stadium for this game. Although technically this year’s game is “hosted” by Oxford Brookes, the stadium is owned by the Oxford University Blues Rugby team, so one could argue in reality it is a Oxford home game, thus making this their eighth home field. Either way, we hope that the game sells out because it is rare that American football gets played in such a central Oxford location and in such a great stadium.
The Cavalier Cup History
The Oxford Lancers and Oxford Brookes University used to be one team, and they were very good. In fact in 2001-02 they won the National Championship. They were coached by Phil DeMonte who currently coaches the Panthers. When Bucs began running University sports combined teams were not allowed, and thus the Cavaliers became two separate teams.
The Panthers had more success early on after the split, and won the first two Cavalier Cups convincingly. However the Lancers soon caught up. In the 2014-15 season, the Lancers won their first Cavalier Cup, which kickstarted an 11 game win streak, which included two more Cavalier cups and a promotion.
When the Lancers were demoted and came back down a division in 2017-18 the Panthers won the cup taking the series to 3-3. However in the 2018-19 season, Coach Ian Hiscock, in his first year as Head Coach of the Lancers, faced coach Nick Wykes from the Panthers, a man who Coach Ian has played for at both the Panthers and the Oxford Saints. The apprentice beat the master, and the result was the 48-0 Lancers win at Tilsely park.
This game will be hard to predict. The Panthers have played three games already this season. They lost to the Sussex Saxons 7-24 , then they lost 26-12 to UCL (both those teams are at the top of the division) but then they turned things around before the Christmas break getting a solid win and a shut out against Kingston University 23-0 .
The Lancers, meanwhile have won one and lost. Before Christmas they also played Sussex Saxons, and they lost 12-36. Yet last week the Lancers kick started their campaign with a sturdy away win at Chichester winning 18-12. The Lancers have just six days to recover for the big game on Saturday night.
Meanwhile the Panthers, have only just come back from their Christmas break and have only had a couple of training sessions to prepare.
The Panthers are always a strong physical aggressive team. Meanwhile across town, the Lancers have lost many of the their starters from last year due to graduation, yet the current team is filled with exciting rookies. These rookies, know what the Cavalier Cup means to this team, and have been putting in extra work and are especially hungry for some Panther meat.
For more historic information on the Cavalier Cup go to:
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