OXFORD Cavaliers are confident moving away from the city will not damage their future.

The club announced in March they had secured a new base in the village of Merton, near Bicester.

It is the first time Cavaliers have had their own home after using Marston Ferry Road, Harcourt Hill and, most recently, Oxford RFC’s North Hinksey Sports Park base, since their inception in 1996.

But their move out of the city is reminiscent of the decision made by Oxford RL in 2016 to leave Iffley Road – home of Oxford University RFC – and play at Abingdon’s Tilsley Park.

The club folded 12 months later, pulling out of Kingstone Press League One, and announcing they would merge with University of Gloucestershire All Golds to form a new team in Bristol – a plan which never came to fruition.

Former Blues head coach Tim Rumford believed moving away from the city contributed to their downfall.

But Cavaliers general manager Samson Earle is confident the club will not suffer the same fate.

“I think we’ve put enough thought into it,” he said.

“We’ve made sure it was viable and it’s not going to kill the club.

“We checked with the players and most of them said they would travel.

“We have players coming from Witney, so it’s not too much of a distance.

“Long-term, we think it will be better.”

Earle added: “It’s near Bicester, it’s got good links with the M40 and obviously with rugby league being a more northern sport it’s easy access to that part of the country.

“It’s not too far from Oxford either where there’s a good set of union clubs we can work with during the summer.”

Cavaliers, who play in the West of England League, have agreed a lease with the parish council for Merton Park – the former home of ex-Banbury District & Lord Jersey FA team Ashton Villa.

The club, who run one senior team and four junior sides from under 10 to 16, will play their first game at the site on Saturday, when they face Somerset Vikings.

Having beaten hosts Bath RL 50-12 in their season opener last weekend, the club are eager to begin their new chapter on a high note.

Earle said: “It’s good to finally have somewhere we can call home.

“Obviously Oxford were great hosts, but we can now bring in our own income.

“We were keeping an eye out (for a suitable site). When this one became available, we liked it, and we made a decision.”