Oxford Saints

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Oxford Saints 2017 uniform.jpg
Established 1983
Primary Kit White helmets
White jerseys
Navy pants
White socks
Alternative Kit White helmets
Navy jerseys
Navy pants
White socks
Home field Tilsley Park, Abingdon
Conference alignment BAFA National Leagues
SFC 1 Central
Chairman Graeme Taylor
Head Coach Andrew Day
League Titles (3)
1995, 2006 , 2016
Website www.oxfordsaints.com
Logo Saints glow.png

Oxford Saints American Football Club is a British American football club that competes in the BAFANL (British American Football Association National League). Currently the team competes at senior level (adult mixed team for 18+) and operate a women's only team (17+)

The club is based in Abingdon and plays at Tilsley Park in Oxfordshire. Games are played at weekends from April through August.

Set up in 1983, Oxford Saints are one of the oldest American football teams in the UK. The women's team started in May 2016.

History[edit]

Early Years[edit]

Founded by Steve Abbott in 1983, the started as the Oxford Eagles but following a Radio Oxford phone-in competition the team was renamed Oxford Bulldogs.

As American football's popularity increased the first British league was formed, and in 1985 Bulldogs officially joined the AFL. Bulldogs finished their first season with an 8-1-1 record, being defeated by the London Ravens at the quarter final stage of the playoffs.

In 1989, the Bulldogs were joined by local rivals Abingdon Pharaohs, strengthening the squad and broadening its fan base.

1992 - 1999[edit]

In 1992 the Oxford Bulldogs changed name to the Oxford Saints. Driven forward by general manager Roger Hedges, the club secured a major sponsorship deal and moved to a new home at the Oxford Stadium in Cowley.

Prior to the 1994 season, Coach Steve Conner returned to the US. Richard Emerick, another experienced US coach, was appointed as his replacement.

During 1995, the Saints made the playoffs and defeated the Invicta Eagles in the first round, along with victories over London Blitz and Colchester Gladiators. In the final, Oxford faced the Gwent Mustangs at Leicester's Saffron Lane Stadium and claimed a 14-6 victory and championship title.

In 1997 the Saints were on course for another appearance in the final round following a 9-1 season, but were defeated by the Nottingham Caesars in the semi final.

Oxford Saints - 1995 Champions

2000 - 2005[edit]

A 7-1 campaign in 2000 was followed by an impressive 8-0 season in 2001, both ending in semi final disappointment at the hands of the PA Knights and Ipswich Cardinals respectively. After a poor 2002 season Coach Janes moved upstairs as Director of Football and Phil DeMonte took over as head coach.

Coach DeMonte stayed at Saints for one season but the team made the playoffs, eventually beaten by the Gateshead Senators. The Saints raced through the newly formed BAFL division 2 in 2005 with a 9-1 record, ending the season with a loss to Kent Exiles.

2006 - 2009[edit]

With the experienced Wayne Mayers at quarterback, the Saints powered through the 2006 season with a 9-1 record. The Saints came from behind to beat West Coast Trojans 29-28 and clinched the Division 2 Title.

Saints2006.jpg

Promoted to BAFL Division 1 in 2007, the Saints finished 6-4 and 4-5-1 in 2008.

In 2009, Len Scott and former London Olympian Matt Coppinger boosted the offensive coaching staff with Defensive back Nick Wykes returning as player coach after a 3-year hiatus. Former Saint and PA Knight Steve Belcher returned at wide receiver and kicker, providing the highlight of the season when he landed a record 57-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Birmingham Bulls in week 7.

Saints' hopes of a conference crown were dashed in the final game of the regular season by the Tamworth Phoenix. The season was concluded with a defeat by Cambridge Cats.

An 8-2 mark represented huge progress and also a swan song for legendary head coach Chris Janes, who retired from active coaching and assumed the role of general manager.

2010 - 2013[edit]

Len Scott took over as head coach and reinforced the roster. The defense was bolstered with the addition of Dean Bryan, Adam Cartwright and Clive Russell, while the offense, with coordinator Matt Coppinger, featured rookie running back Kyle Micallef alongside brothers Jay and Chris Taylor, and a growing group of young British talent.

Competing again in the South West conference of Division 1, Saints had a strong start before running into the Premiership-bound Phoenix, and defeated all but the Tamworth-based outfit en route to a 7-3 record and a second straight playoff contest against Cambridge. The Saints were stopped short of reaching the semi-finals in a 13-7 defeat to the Cambridge Cats.

2010 and 2011 proved to be difficult years for the Saints due to various changes in the coaching staff and the departure of Head Coach Len Scott. During this time Chris Janes became the interim head coach before Andrew Day was officially appointed to the role.

2014 - Present[edit]

In 2014, Chairman John Farley retired from his role and Martin Fitzpatrick took over, with a mostly new committee.

The Saints won their first 4 games before suffering back-to-back losses by the Shropshire Revolution and a loss by the Lincolnshire Bombers. The team finished the season with a 7-3 record, missing out on the playoffs due to losing a tie breaker condition between Oxford and Shropshire.

2015 saw further strong recruitment and a league realignment. With new quarterback Ben Denton, they ended the regular season with a 6-2 record and reached the quarter finals. A week before the quarter final game against Sussex Thunder, quarterback Ben Denton was diagnosed with leukemia. The Saints lost to the Thunder in the opening round.

During the offseason, chairman Martin Fitzpatrick stepped down from the role and vice-chairman Andrew Peart was voted in as his successor at the 2015 Annual General Meeting.

Peart coordinated the relocation of home games to Tilsley Park in Abingdon, with improved facilities for players and spectators. Peart has also laid the foundations for the Oxford Saints Women's team which began training in May 2016.

Notable additions to the 2016 roster include American nationals Destin Maulding (QB/WR), Bilal Redd (FS), Marlon Mason (CB and Eric Mendoza (LB). Further in the season, Tony Glover (RB) also joined the squad.

In August 2016, Ben Denton (QB) returned to the field for the first time after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2015.

In the 2016 playoffs, the Saints had home advantage and defeated the Cornish Sharks and Bristol Apache. The Saints progressed to the Division II Southern Final against the Cambridgeshire Cats and won 24-2 , on 11 September at John Charles Stadium in Leeds.

At the end of the 2016 season, chairman Andrew Peart stood down and vice-chairman Graeme Taylor was elected to the leading role.


2016 Championship Season

Date Season Game Opponent Home/Away Score Outcome Record
20 March 16 Preseason 1 Bury Saints Away 75-8 LOSS 0-1
3 April 16 Preseason 2 Birmingham Bulls Away 24-16 WIN 1-1
10 April 16 Regular Season 1 Cornish Sharks Home 36-12 WIN 1-0
24 April 16 Regular Season 2 Bristol Apache Away 26-15 WIN 2-0
8 May 16 Regular Season 3 Torbay Trojans Away 58-7 WIN 3-0
22 May 16 Regular Season 4 Jurassic Raptors Away 51-0 WIN 4-0
12 Jun 16 Regular Season 5 Swindon Storm Away 54-14 WIN 5-0
3 Jul 16 Regular Season 6 Bristol Apache Home 29-26 WIN 6-0
10 Jul 16 Regular Season 7 Cornish Sharks Away 28-10 WIN 7-0
17 Jul 16 Regular Season 8 Torbay Trojans Home 1-0 WIN 8-0
31 Jul 16 Regular Season 9 Jurassic Raptors Home 62-0 WIN 9-0
14 Aug 16 Regular Season 10 Swindon Storm Home 50-6 WIN 10-0
21 Aug 16 Quarter Final 11 Cornish Sharks Home 40-3 WIN 11-0
28 Aug 16 Semi Final 12 Bristol Apache Home 40-19 WIN 12-0
11 Sep 16 National Final 13 Cambridgeshire Cats FINAL 24-4 WIN 13-0

Oxford Saints Hall of Fame[edit]

Oxford Saints constituted their Hall of Fame in 2008.
Inductees:

Not Pictured:

  • Com - Pam Hedges
  • LB - Richard Davies
  • RB - Gary Walker
  • OL - STC David Creese
  • CB - Nick Wykes
  • DL - Morris Coleman
  • LB - Andrew Day
  • GM - Chris Janes
  • OL - Paul Arnold
  • FB - Brian Myers
  • DL - Morris Coleman
  • LB/FB - Troy Smith
  • DE/FB - Chris Day
  • LB/TE - Paul Whitford
  • DE - Lee Hutton

Past record[edit]

Year League Div Conf. Reg. Season Playoffs
1984 Merit Table N/A N/A 3-0 N/A
1985 A.F.L. N/A South West 8-1-1 QF
1986 Budweiser League Premier Central 2-7-1 N/A
1987 Budweiser League Premier Central 8-2 QF
1988 Budweiser League Premier S.London & West 6-4 N/A
1989 Combined Gridiron League Crown National Central 4-6 N/A
1990 NCMMA Central 4-6 N/A
1991 British National Gridiron Premier Midlands 9-1 QF
1992 British National Gridiron National SE Midlands 8-2 QF
1993 British National Gridiron National Midlands 5-4-1 QF
1994 British National Gridiron National South East 6-4 N/A
1995 British National Gridiron Div 3 South Central 6-3-1 Champs
1996 British National Gridiron Div 2 South 5-4-1 N/A
1997 British National Gridiron Div 1 South/West Midlands 9-1 SF
1998 British National Gridiron Div 1 South West 5-5 QF
1999 British National Gridiron Div 1 South West 2-7-1 N/A
2000 British Senior League Div 2 South West 7-1 SF
2001 British Senior League Div 2 Southern 8-0 SF
2002 British Senior League Div 2 Southern 3-7 N/A
2003 British Senior League Div 2 South/West 6-4 QF
2004 British Senior League Div 2 South/West 4-5-1 SF
2005 BAFL Div 2 South/West 9-1 QF
2006 BAFL Div 2 South/West 9-1 Champs
2007 BAFL Div 1 South 6-4 N/A
2008 BAFL Div 1 South 4-5-1 N/A
2009 BAFL Div 1 South West 8-2 QF
2010 BAFACL Div 1 South West 7-3 QF
2011 BAFACL Div 1 South West - N/A
2012 BAFANL Div 1 South West SF
2013 BAFANL National Division South West 4-6 N/A
2014 BAFANL National Division Central 7-3 N/A
2015 BAFANL Division II South West 6-2 QF
2016 BAFANL Division II South West 13-0 CHAMPIONS
2017 BAFANL Division I South Central


External links[edit]