FANS can watch Oxford City Stars for the first time since March 2020 in a challenge match double-header against Coventry Blaze next month.

The first game takes place in the West Midlands on Saturday, September 4 (6.30pm), with the return match at Oxpens the following day (6.15pm).

The weekend kicks-off with a supporters’ barbecue at Littlemore Rugby Club on Friday, September 3, which includes a Q&A with head coach Dean Birrell and a chance to meet players and directors.

The challenger double-header comes two weeks before Stars begin the season at Streatham RedHawks in NIHL Division One South.

Birrell said: “We’re looking forward to the challenge matches, it will provide us with a decent weekend of action to prepare for the season.

“Playing Coventry provides our fans with a different fixture and we would encourage as many people as possible to come to the matches to back the team.

“We’re also looking forward to the barbecue, it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together as a community and a club.

“The season is fast approaching and we’ll all need to pull together to keep building the club.”

Meanwhile, Stars yesterday announced the signing of Oxford-born D-Man Lex Smith.

The club swooped for the 18-year-old after he returned to the UK following a two-year stint in the US, where he played for Washington Little Caps Under 16s and 18s.

Smith began his career at Stars’ junior club aged seven, before moving to Basingstoke Bison at Under 15 level.

He said: “I am proud and excited to be back at Oxford and I can’t wait to get out there in front of our fans.”

Smith is not the only new face at Stars, with D-Man Harvey Robson and forward Danny Williams also joining.

The former became available after he took a break from the game following a spell in Sweden.

Birrell said: “We are delighted to have signed him, as he attracted interest from several clubs.

“He opted to sign for us, which speaks volumes for the club and what we are looking to build here.”

Williams, 27, previously played for Bristol Pitbulls and Swindon Wildcats in the NIHL.

Elsewhere, experienced D-Man Alex Staples has returned to the club.

The 31-year-old played for Stars from 2017 to 2020.