Saturday had Oxford Saints hosting their first tournament of the Series. The sunny weather made for perfect football conditions, whilst Conference newcomers Cardiff Valkyries were made to feel at home with refreshments for players and supporters alike. Unfortunately, Iceni Spears were forced to withdraw, meaning there were some altered match-ups on the day.
Ride of the Valkyries?
With Iceni missing, Wembley Stallions lost a fixture and played their only game of the day against North & East converts Cardiff Valkyries. The Stallions’ defense started the game as the wished to continue; holding the Valkyries in place, forcing them to go 4 and out. Wembley’s offense was equally sharp, with Angie and Chloe dominating the run game.
Cardiff’s only score came late in the first half, following a long drive, made of short but effective passes. The Stallions’ defense held Cardiff to just one score. Despite what the result might suggest, Cardiff Valkyries fought a hard game. We contacted them for comment, and this is what they had to say about their performance.
“With three rookies playing new positions on defense, what was great to see what how they grew into the day. Through both games, there was a clear improvement in their reading of the game, and how they were reacting to plays.”
Wembley took a break from their famous running game to try their hand at passing it. Clearly this was a decision that did them well, with QB Emma completing a spectacular seven touchdown passes.
Cardiff Valkyries 6-44 Wembley Stallions
No Home Field Advantage
Home side Oxford Saints didn’t fare particularly well against either Cardiff or Portsmouth. It is definitely worth noting that as a team they have improved. They have a much better understanding of the game, and the frequency of technical errors is decreasing. Oxford Saints Head Coach Adam Baker made this statement.
“As a Coach, all that you want to see is for your players is to safely progress positively in the sport, and with every tournament date we have entered we have all seen that at the Saints. During the Cardiff game, there was more consistency on our offense which is starting to gel. A little more experience on defense and we will be a contender when we head to Wembley in a few weeks.”
Overall, Cardiff were happy with their performances. Despite walking away with some solid losses, they couldn’t fail to see how they have improved since the beginning of the year. Beth ‘Beatle’ had some impressive runs, including one first down from the 5-yard line, with only 13 seconds left in the game. This gave QB Kira the opportunity to fire off a canon of a pass to a rookie WR for their only score of the game.
Oxford Saints 9-26 Portsmouth Dreadnoughts
Cardiff Valkyries 25-40 Oxford Saints
By now Portsmouth and Wembley seem almost impossible to catch at the top of the Conference, Iceni are just happy to make it to a tournament, and Oxford are sitting mid-table. The next time we see these teams will be the fourth and final round. The top two teams are fighting for promotion, whilst the rest of the table are taking each game as a development opportunity.
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts could not be reached for comment.