Oxford Saints ended their season on a high with a thrilling 24-22 topsy-turvy home victory against the Ouse Valley Eagles at Tilsley Park.
The opening stages featured both defences breaking down the offences but it was the Saints who seized the initiative and running back Tony Glover charged up the middle for the opening score.
Sam Fielden kicked the extra point to give Oxford a 7-0 lead but the Eagles hit back in the second quarter with a 28-yard field goal from Mike Turner to make it 7-3.
Oxford countered immediately and good, strong running from Glover and Sam Armstrong got the Saints close to their endzone. Armstrong entered from seven yards out for the touchdown to double their lead.
Once again, Fielden made no mistake with his kick.
Ouse Valley were making good progress in the air but were unable to get into the scoring distance before the end of the half.
The Saints made them pay for this by adding a quick score on just the second play of the next drive when the energetic Glover raced up the sideline and out-sprinted the defenders for a 54-yard touchdown run.
Another good kick from Fielden gave Oxford a comfortable 21-3 advantage.
In response, the Eagles shuffled the pack in their offense with Kase Chibwe and Byron Chowles getting the bulk of the work and they progressed up the field to the endzone for Chibwe to run in for the score.
It was now 21-9 to Oxford after the Eagles failed to convert.
Chibwe and Chowles continued to be a thorn in the side of the Oxford defense with their strong running and Chibwe once again broke through for a 27-yard touchdown run to narrow the gap to make the score 21-15.
Turner had attempted to add the extra point however the ball was not set in place.
Oxford were now struggling to break down the Ouse Valley defense and the visitors took the lead for the first time, the score 22-21 after Akintunde Adewale scored a 24-yard touchdown.
The Saints continued to battle and responded superbly through Fielden who kicked the ball straight through from 34-yards out for a field goal to give Oxford the lead again at 24-22.
It was now or nothing for the Eagles who fought gallantly but the Saints held out for the win in what was a pulsating encounter.
– Matthew Brown