where he is.
Epic Lateral Fail from the Staffordshire Stallions 36-0 win over Worcester Royals at the weekend.
Linebacker Moses Ogundeji plucked the ball from the air on a kickoff and preceded to run down the sideline evading numerous tackles before attempting a lateral to a non-existant team mate.
The ball was recovered by the Royals, who somehow fumbled the ball and it rolled out of play.
If you don’t laugh you’ll cry!
The BAFANL 2012 fixture list was announced yesterday, throwing up some tasty looking matches.
The current BritBowl Champions London Blitz, open their 2012 campaign away at the Ipswich Cardinals after the Farnham Knights announced their intention to sit out this season, with the intention of re-joining in 2013.
Vernon Kay and his London Warriors will meet the Blitz in a re-run of their BritBowl showdown in May, with the hosts looking for a better result than the 18-0 loss they suffered in September.
Only 50 days till the big kick-off, bring it on!
|15/04/2012||14:30||Doncaster Mustangs||East Kilbride Pirates|
|22/04/2012||14:30||Leicester Falcons||Yorkshire Rams|
|28/04/2012||16:00||Birmingham Bulls||East Kilbride Pirates|
|29/04/2012||15:00||Tamworth Phoenix||Doncaster Mustangs|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Birmingham Bulls||Yorkshire Rams|
|06/05/2012||15:00||Tamworth Phoenix||East Kilbride Pirates|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Birmingham Bulls||Leicester Falcons|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Yorkshire Rams||Tamworth Phoenix|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Doncaster Mustangs||Leicester Falcons|
|20/05/2012||16:00||East Kilbride Pirates||Tamworth Phoenix|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Doncaster Mustangs||Yorkshire Rams|
|02/06/2012||16:00||Yorkshire Rams||Birmingham Bulls|
|09/06/2012||14:30||Yorkshire Rams||East Kilbride Pirates|
|09/06/2012||14:30||Birmingham Bulls||Tamworth Phoenix|
|09/06/2012||16:00||Leicester Falcons||Doncaster Mustangs|
|17/06/2012||14:30||Doncaster Mustangs||Birmingham Bulls|
|17/06/2012||16:00||Leicester Falcons||Tamworth Phoenix|
|24/06/2012||12:00||East Kilbride Pirates||Leicester Falcons|
|24/06/2012||14:30||Yorkshire Rams||Doncaster Mustangs|
|24/06/2012||15:00||Tamworth Phoenix||Birmingham Bulls|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Tamworth Phoenix||Yorkshire Rams|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Birmingham Bulls||Doncaster Mustangs|
|08/07/2012||16:00||Leicester Falcons||East Kilbride Pirates|
|14/07/2012||15:00||Tamworth Phoenix||Leicester Falcons|
|14/07/2012||18:00||East Kilbride Pirates||Birmingham Bulls|
|22/07/2012||14:30||East Kilbride Pirates||Doncaster Mustangs|
|22/07/2012||14:30||Yorkshire Rams||Leicester Falcons|
|28/07/2012||16:00||Leicester Falcons||Birmingham Bulls|
|28/07/2012||17:00||East Kilbride Pirates||Yorkshire Rams|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Doncaster Mustangs||Tamworth Phoenix|
|15/04/2012||14:30||Bristol Aztecs||Ipswich Cardinals|
|15/04/2012||14:30||London Olympians||Farnham Knights|
|21/04/2012||12:00||Farnham Knights||London Olympians|
|22/04/2012||14:30||Ipswich Cardinals||London Warriors|
|29/04/2012||12:00||London Blitz||Farnham Knights|
|29/04/2012||14:30||London Olympians||Ipswich Cardinals|
|29/04/2012||15:00||London Warriors||Bristol Aztecs|
|05/05/2012||12:00||Farnham Knights||Bristol Aztecs|
|06/05/2012||14:30||London Olympians||London Warriors|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Ipswich Cardinals||London Blitz|
|13/05/2012||15:00||London Warriors||Farnham Knights|
|20/05/2012||15:00||London Blitz||London Warriors|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Bristol Aztecs||Farnham Knights|
|03/06/2012||14:30||London Warriors||London Olympians|
|03/06/2012||15:00||London Blitz||Ipswich Cardinals|
|09/06/2012||12:00||Farnham Knights||London Warriors|
|10/06/2012||15:00||Bristol Aztecs||London Blitz|
|17/06/2012||14:30||Ipswich Cardinals||Bristol Aztecs|
|17/06/2012||14:30||London Olympians||London Blitz|
|24/06/2012||15:00||London Warriors||Ipswich Cardinals|
|24/06/2012||15:00||London Blitz||Bristol Aztecs|
|07/07/2012||14:30||London Blitz||London Olympians|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Bristol Aztecs||London Warriors|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Bristol Aztecs||London Olympians|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Farnham Knights||Ipswich Cardinals|
|15/07/2012||15:00||London Warriors||London Blitz|
|21/07/2012||17:00||Ipswich Cardinals||Farnham Knights|
|22/07/2012||14:30||London Olympians||Bristol Aztecs|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Farnham Knights||London Blitz|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Ipswich Cardinals||London Olympians|
|15/04/2012||14:30||Cambridgeshire Cats||Sussex Thunder|
|15/04/2012||15:00||Hampshire Thrashers||Kent Exiles|
|21/04/2012||15:00||Hampshire Thrashers||Berkshire Renegades|
|22/04/2012||14:30||East Kent Mavericks||Kent Exiles|
|28/04/2012||14:30||Berkshire Renegades||Cambridgeshire Cats|
|28/04/2012||18:00||South Wales Warriors||Hampshire Thrashers|
|29/04/2012||14:30||East Kent Mavericks||Sussex Thunder|
|06/05/2012||12:00||Kent Exiles||Essex Spartans|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Berkshire Renegades||South Wales Warriors|
|12/05/2012||14:30||Cambridgeshire Cats||East Kent Mavericks|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Essex Spartans||Hampshire Thrashers|
|20/05/2012||12:00||Kent Exiles||Cambridgeshire Cats|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Essex Spartans||Sussex Thunder|
|20/05/2012||14:30||East Kent Mavericks||Berkshire Renegades|
|26/05/2012||14:30||South Wales Warriors||Kent Exiles|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Sussex Thunder||East Kent Mavericks|
|27/05/2012||15:00||Hampshire Thrashers||Essex Spartans|
|02/06/2012||18:00||Sussex Thunder||South Wales Warriors|
|03/06/2012||12:00||Kent Exiles||Hampshire Thrashers|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Cambridgeshire Cats||Berkshire Renegades|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Sussex Thunder||Cambridgeshire Cats|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Kent Exiles||Berkshire Renegades|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Essex Spartans||East Kent Mavericks|
|10/06/2012||15:00||Hampshire Thrashers||South Wales Warriors|
|16/06/2012||14:30||South Wales Warriors||Essex Spartans|
|17/06/2012||12:00||Kent Exiles||Sussex Thunder|
|17/06/2012||14:30||East Kent Mavericks||Hampshire Thrashers|
|23/06/2012||14:30||Cambridgeshire Cats||South Wales Warriors|
|24/06/2012||14:30||Sussex Thunder||Berkshire Renegades|
|01/07/2012||14:30||Sussex Thunder||Hampshire Thrashers|
|07/07/2012||12:00||Berkshire Renegades||Essex Spartans|
|07/07/2012||15:00||South Wales Warriors||East Kent Mavericks|
|07/07/2012||15:00||Hampshire Thrashers||Cambridgeshire Cats|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Essex Spartans||Kent Exiles|
|14/07/2012||15:00||East Kent Mavericks||South Wales Warriors|
|15/07/2012||12:00||Berkshire Renegades||Kent Exiles|
|22/07/2012||15:00||Cambridgeshire Cats||Essex Spartans|
|28/07/2012||18:00||South Wales Warriors||Sussex Thunder|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Berkshire Renegades||East Kent Mavericks|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Essex Spartans||Cambridgeshire Cats|
|15/04/2012||15:00||Nottingham Ceasars||Coventry Jets|
|15/04/2012||15:00||Gateshead Senators||Lancashire Wolverines|
|22/04/2012||13:00||Merseyside Nighthawks||Nottingham Ceasars|
|22/04/2012||15:00||Coventry Jets||West Coast Trojans|
|28/04/2012||14:30||Shropshire Revolution||Coventry Jets|
|29/04/2012||14:30||Nottingham Ceasars||Lancashire Wolverines|
|06/05/2012||13:00||Merseyside Nighthawks||Nottingham Ceasars|
|06/05/2012||15:00||Coventry Jets||Lancashire Wolverines|
|06/05/2012||15:00||Gateshead Senators||Shropshire Revolution|
|13/05/2012||13:00||Merseyside Nighthawks||Gateshead Senators|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Nottingham Ceasars||West Coast Trojans|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Shropshire Revolution||Merseyside Nighthawks|
|26/05/2012||15:00||Lancashire Wolverines||Shropshire Revolution|
|26/05/2012||15:00||Coventry Jets||Nottingham Ceasars|
|27/05/2012||14:30||West Coast Trojans||Gateshead Senators|
|02/06/2012||14:30||Gateshead Senators||Coventry Jets|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Nottingham Ceasars||Shropshire Revolution|
|10/06/2012||13:00||Merseyside Nighthawks||Lancashire Wolverines|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Shropshire Revolution||Nottingham Ceasars|
|10/06/2012||15:00||Gateshead Senators||West Coast Trojans|
|17/06/2012||14:30||West Coast Trojans||Merseyside Nighthawks|
|17/06/2012||14:30||Nottingham Ceasars||Gateshead Senators|
|17/06/2012||15:00||Lancashire Wolverines||Coventry Jets|
|24/06/2012||15:00||Coventry Jets||Merseyside Nighthawks|
|24/06/2012||15:00||Lancashire Wolverines||Gateshead Senators|
|24/06/2012||16:00||West Coast Trojans||Shropshire Revolution|
|07/07/2012||13:00||Merseyside Nighthawks||West Coast Trojans|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Shropshire Revolution||Lancashire Wolverines|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Gateshead Senators||Merseyside Nighthawks|
|15/07/2012||14:30||West Coast Trojans||Nottingham Ceasars|
|15/07/2012||15:00||Coventry Jets||Shropshire Revolution|
|21/07/2012||14:30||West Coast Trojans||Coventry Jets|
|22/07/2012||14:30||Shropshire Revolution||Gateshead Senators|
|22/07/2012||15:00||Lancashire Wolverines||Merseyside Nighthawks|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Lancashire Wolverines||West Coast Trojans|
|14/04/2012||14:30||Lincolnshire Bombers||D C Presidents|
|21/04/2012||14:30||Lincolnshire Bombers||Chester Romans|
|22/04/2012||14:30||Staffordshire Surge||Crewe Railroaders|
|29/04/2012||14:30||Crewe Railroaders||Lincolnshire Bombers|
|29/04/2012||16:00||Chester Romans||D C Presidents|
|05/05/2012||15:00||Manchester Titans||Crewe Railroaders|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Staffordshire Surge||Sheffield Predators|
|12/05/2012||14:30||Lincolnshire Bombers||Crewe Railroaders|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Sheffield Predators||Staffordshire Surge|
|19/05/2012||12:00||Chester Romans||Crewe Railroaders|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Sheffield Predators||Lincolnshire Bombers|
|20/05/2012||14:30||D C Presidents||Manchester Titans|
|26/05/2012||14:30||Crewe Railroaders||Manchester Titans|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Chester Romans||Lincolnshire Bombers|
|27/05/2012||14:30||D C Presidents||Staffordshire Surge|
|02/06/2012||14:30||Sheffield Predators||Manchester Titans|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Crewe Railroaders||Chester Romans|
|09/06/2012||16:00||D C Presidents||Crewe Railroaders|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Lincolnshire Bombers||Sheffield Predators|
|16/06/2012||14:30||Staffordshire Surge||Chester Romans|
|16/06/2012||16:00||D C Presidents||Sheffield Predators|
|17/06/2012||14:30||Lincolnshire Bombers||Manchester Titans|
|23/06/2012||14:30||Manchester Titans||Chester Romans|
|24/06/2012||14:30||Staffordshire Surge||Lincolnshire Bombers|
|24/06/2012||14:30||Sheffield Predators||D C Presidents|
|07/07/2012||15:00||Manchester Titans||Staffordshire Surge|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Chester Romans||D C Presidents|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Sheffield Predators||Chester Romans|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Staffordshire Surge||Manchester Titans|
|22/07/2012||14:30||Crewe Railroaders||Staffordshire Surge|
|22/07/2012||14:30||D C Presidents||Lincolnshire Bombers|
|22/07/2012||15:00||Manchester Titans||Sheffield Predators|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Crewe Railroaders||Sheffield Predators|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Chester Romans||Staffordshire Surge|
|29/07/2012||15:00||Manchester Titans||D C Presidents|
|14/04/2012||12:00||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders||Peterborough Saxons|
|14/04/2012||14:30||Milton Keynes Pathfinders||Colchester Gladiators|
|15/04/2012||14:30||Maidstone Pumas||Watford Cheetahs|
|21/04/2012||15:00||Watford Cheetahs||Colchester Gladiators|
|22/04/2012||14:30||Maidstone Pumas||Milton Keynes Pathfinders|
|06/05/2012||12:00||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders||Watford Cheetahs|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Maidstone Pumas||Colchester Gladiators|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Peterborough Saxons||Milton Keynes Pathfinders|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Milton Keynes Pathfinders||Peterborough Saxons|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Maidstone Pumas||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Colchester Gladiators||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders|
|26/05/2012||14:30||Colchester Gladiators||Maidstone Pumas|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Milton Keynes Pathfinders||Watford Cheetahs|
|02/06/2012||12:00||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders||Maidstone Pumas|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Watford Cheetahs||Peterborough Saxons|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Colchester Gladiators||Milton Keynes Pathfinders|
|16/06/2012||14:30||Peterborough Saxons||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders|
|23/06/2012||14:30||Milton Keynes Pathfinders||Maidstone Pumas|
|23/06/2012||14:30||Peterborough Saxons||Watford Cheetahs|
|24/06/2012||12:00||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders||Colchester Gladiators|
|07/07/2012||14:30||Peterborough Saxons||Colchester Gladiators|
|07/07/2012||16:00||Watford Cheetahs||Milton Keynes Pathfinders|
|14/07/2012||12:00||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders||Milton Keynes Pathfinders|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Colchester Gladiators||Peterborough Saxons|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Watford Cheetahs||Maidstone Pumas|
|21/07/2012||14:30||Colchester Gladiators||Watford Cheetahs|
|21/07/2012||14:30||Milton Keynes Pathfinders||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders|
|22/07/2012||14:30||Maidstone Pumas||Peterborough Saxons|
|28/07/2012||14:30||Peterborough Saxons||Maidstone Pumas|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Watford Cheetahs||Bedfordshire Blue Raiders|
|15/04/2012||14:30||Dundee Hurricanes||Carlisle Border Reivers|
|15/04/2012||15:30||Glasgow Tigers||Clyde Valley Blackhawks|
|22/04/2012||14:30||Carlisle Border Reivers||Clyde Valley Blackhawks|
|28/04/2012||14:30||Dundee Hurricanes||Highland Wildcats|
|29/04/2012||14:30||Edinburgh Wolves||Carlisle Border Reivers|
|29/04/2012||14:30||Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Glasgow Tigers|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Highland Wildcats|
|06/05/2012||14:30||Glasgow Tigers||Edinburgh Wolves|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Carlisle Border Reivers||Dundee Hurricanes|
|13/05/2012||14:30||Highland Wildcats||Edinburgh Wolves|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Highland Wildcats||Clyde Valley Blackhawks|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Carlisle Border Reivers||Glasgow Tigers|
|26/05/2012||14:30||Edinburgh Wolves||Dundee Hurricanes|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Glasgow Tigers||Highland Wildcats|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Dundee Hurricanes|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Edinburgh Wolves||Glasgow Tigers|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Highland Wildcats||Carlisle Border Reivers|
|10/06/2012||14:30||Dundee Hurricanes||Clyde Valley Blackhawks|
|16/06/2012||14:30||Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Edinburgh Wolves|
|17/06/2012||14:30||Carlisle Border Reivers||Highland Wildcats|
|17/06/2012||15:00||Glasgow Tigers||Dundee Hurricanes|
|24/06/2012||14:30||Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Carlisle Border Reivers|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Dundee Hurricanes||Edinburgh Wolves|
|08/07/2012||14:30||Glasgow Tigers||Carlisle Border Reivers|
|14/07/2012||14:30||Edinburgh Wolves||Clyde Valley Blackhawks|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Highland Wildcats||Dundee Hurricanes|
|21/07/2012||14:30||Dundee Hurricanes||Glasgow Tigers|
|22/07/2012||14:30||Edinburgh Wolves||Highland Wildcats|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Carlisle Border Reivers||Edinburgh Wolves|
|29/07/2012||14:30||Highland Wildcats||Glasgow Tigers|
|14/04/2012||14:30||Gloucester Centurions||Bristol Apache|
|21/04/2012||14:30||Bournemouth Bobcats||Cornish Sharks|
|28/04/2012||14:30||Bournemouth Bobcats||Gloucester Centurions|
|05/05/2012||14:30||Bristol Apache||Oxford Saints|
|05/05/2012||14:30||Cornish Sharks||Gloucester Centurions|
|12/05/2012||14:30||Gloucester Centurions||Cornish Sharks|
|19/05/2012||14:30||Bristol Apache||Bournemouth Bobcats|
|20/05/2012||14:30||Oxford Saints||Gloucester Centurions|
|26/05/2012||14:30||Cornish Sharks||Bournemouth Bobcats|
|27/05/2012||14:30||Oxford Saints||Bristol Apache|
|02/06/2012||14:30||Bristol Apache||Gloucester Centurions|
|03/06/2012||14:30||Oxford Saints||Cornish Sharks|
|09/06/2012||14:30||Bristol Apache||Cornish Sharks|
|17/06/2012||14:30||Bournemouth Bobcats||Oxford Saints|
|23/06/2012||14:30||Cornish Sharks||Gloucester Centurions|
|24/06/2012||14:30||Oxford Saints||Bournemouth Bobcats|
|30/06/2012||14:30||Cornish Sharks||Bristol Apache|
|07/07/2012||14:30||Bournemouth Bobcats||Bristol Apache|
|07/07/2012||14:30||Oxford Saints||Cornish Sharks|
|14/07/2012||14:30||Bristol Apache||Oxford Saints|
|15/07/2012||14:30||Gloucester Centurions||Bournemouth Bobcats|
|21/07/2012||14:30||Cornish Sharks||Bournemouth Bobcats|
|22/07/2012||14:30||Gloucester Centurions||Oxford Saints|
|28/07/2012||14:30||Bournemouth Bobcats||Oxford Saints|
|28/07/2012||14:30||Gloucester Centurions||Bristol Apache|
Loughborough Aces may have been beaten for the first time at the weekend but Head Coach Paul Sherratt isn’t panicking just yet, preferring to concentrate on next week’s crucial encounter with Nottingham Trent Renegades.
“We have NTU this Saturday, our homecoming game, kicking off at 1pm. Lots of our old boys are coming back to watch the game and for a social afterwards. We’ll focus on getting better at practice and putting in a whole four quarter performance. We’re not looking past that at the moment, NTU are a good team who always give us problems”.
Reflecting on Saturday’s first half collapse against a talented Birmingham Lions unit, Sherratt drew comparisons to their Buafl Championship game in 2010.
“I was disappointed with the opening quarter offensively; we missed a lot of blocks which put our quarterback under a lot of pressure”.
He continued, “Defence played well but when you play man coverage and try to bring a bit of pressure there’s always the chance of the other team completing the big pass and all credit to Birmingham, they did. It was a copycat of the 2010 final in many ways, we almost need to get a half out of the way before we start playing”.
Fortunately for the Aces the second half was much improved as they protected their quarterback much better, got running back Adam Hope into the game and shut Birmingham out.
“Second half I was really proud of the team and how they responded to being behind. There were a lot of great individual performances and a lot of guys played hurt which showed their toughness”.
Sherratt’s assessment of Birmingham was a gracious one considering the Lions have seriously dented the Aces play-off hopes, especially if the Northampton Nemesis continue their remarkable run and he also had time to wish defensive end Kyle Burrows all the best after he picked up a nasty looking knee injury.
“They’re good but we knew that. Their defensive line was strong which caused us some problems and they have speed behind them so that makes it tough offensively”.
“I think we showed we can compete with them and a couple of yards on a few plays here and there and who knows? They played well, deserved to win and best of luck to them. I would also like to wish Kyle Burrows a speedy recovery”.
FightForTheYard would like to thank Paul Sherratt for his time and willingness to conduct this interview
Before I get to the nitty-gritty of what actually happened, I’ll set the scene. Pulling up at the University complex, the rain is lashing down on the windscreen of my little Nissan Micra, which had performed miracles just staying on the rain swept motorways, I look out and I think to myself, ‘Was this really worth it?’
Hat. Scarf. Gloves on, I make my way to the pitch side with notebook and pen in hand and what I was about to witness, was in fact, worth the effort.
Loughborough started proceedings, after both sides had done their hardest to psyche each other out in the huddles, with Birmingham returning the ball to the Aces 40 yard line after a late hit was flagged.
Two pounding runs up the middle from GB running back Dan Conroy and then a pass to the flat put the Lions in a fairly strong position but after quarterback Jonny Glover rolled to his right on fourth down, he could not connect to wide receiver TeeJay Dar-Orunega, who should have done better.
Loughborough Aces quarterback Nick Jacquet entered the field knowing he would need a big day if the Aces offense were to prevail against a talented Lions defence but it could not have got off to a worse start, with only his second snap, a double effort from Sam Marshall and Denzil Byron brought Jacquet to his kness in the end zone to concede a safety and give Birmingham a very early lead. [ 2 VS 0 ]
The next Birmingham possession also brought points with Glover completing a throw to wide receiver Ben Brown, who had an excellent game, resulting in a touchdown and [ 8 VS 0 ] lead after the field goal attempt was blocked.
Jacquet took to the field for the second time and was hopeful of recouping some confidence and making yards on the Birmingham defence. Former league MVP Adam Hope was given his chance but was gang tackled, making just two yards.
With second and eight remaining, Jacquet was like a rabbit caught in the headlights of the Birmingham express, as he was once again sacked giving Loughborough no choice but to punt the ball away.
The rest of the quarter was played out with errors on both sides of the ball. Glover and Julian Morgan collided after the snap and fumbled but were able to retrieve the bouncing ball; while Loughborough quarterback Nick Jacquet was once again sacked after a fake handoff to Hope failed to distract the oncoming pass rush.
This meant Loughborough were left with no option but to punt the ball away, yet a lack of discipline by the Lions special team gave the Aces the ball back after a flag for roughing the kicker.
The Aces resumed the game in similar fashion to the way they began it with slot receiver Ben Burslem grinding to a halt after a big hit by defender Greg Pearson and then the inevitable sack on Jacquet came with the offensive line offering little protection resulting in a punt.
The next Lions possession saw them march on Loughborough with Glover being given the time of the day to pick a pass and he duly obliged, completing to wide receiver Drew Newiss for a 60 yard gain before being brought down by Aces linebacker Jean-Paul Jones.
Running back Dan Conroy then thought he had scored a mesmerising 20 yard run for it to be called back for illegal motion in the Birmingham backfield. The disappointment didn’t last long on the Lions sideline as two plays later Glover threw his second touchdown of the day, this time to Drew Newiss. The resulting field goal was fired wide left leaving Birmingham ahead by fourteen points. [ 14 VS 0 ]
The Loughborough offence skipped on to the pitch trying to motivate each other and instil some extra belief into what they were trying to do.
Quarterback Jacquet must by now have been thinking ‘what do I have to do to avoid falling on my ass?’… he was kept wondering after being brought to the ground once again as stand-out performer Sam Marshall lay on top of him.
Fortunately for the Aces, Jacquet was able to brush himself down and complete a well thrown pass to receiver John Mathewson who galloped forward to reach the first down marker.
After finally finding some rhythm, Jacquet managed to wriggle free of the Birmingham defensive line and scamper away for a 12 yard gain.
At last it looked like the Loughborough offence that had been so prominent in previous games had arrived, but it was a false dawn as just like that Sam Marshall pounced on a tip ball and sprinted 75 yards for a Birmingham defensive touchdown while the Loughborough sideline watched on in horror. [ 21 VS 0 ]
The half ended with Jacquet throwing an interception into the Birmingham end zone and defensive back AJay Crabbe coming away with the ball.
After the break Jacquet and the Loughborough Aces sprung out of the trap, surely knowing that if they were to avoid an embarrassing score line, they would need to step up their game and take it to Birmingham.
After connecting with slot receiver Chris Ossom, Jacquet scrambled to the left and was taken out by Great Britain defensive end Kyle Burrows who would injure his ankle on the play and be unable to continue.
Ben Burslem completed a big run for a first down before Loughborough would finally get on the scoreboard with a well thrown ball to Chris Ossom. The extra point was fumbled after the snap so the score remained [ 21 VS 6 ] to the Lions.
The Lions were aware that the tide was turning so they handed off to the reliable Dan Conroy but even he was thrown to the floor by the physically impressive linebacker, Jon Varney. Could the Aces actually come back from this?
Quarterback Sope Dirisu was now under centre for the Lions and began with a confident pass to Ben Brown but ultimately the drive would stall and Birmingham was forced to punt.
Adam Hope had so far been used as a battering ram for the Aces but was given a chance to shine, receiving the ball on three consecutive plays making almost 40 yards in the process. This new found faith in Hope resulted in Loughborough reaching the Birmingham 20 yard line only for a fumbled pass to ruin all their hard work and leave Birmingham gasping with a sigh of relief.
The Lions had a chance to close out the quarter on top but a fumbled snap gave Loughborough possession back immediately as the referee signalled for time.
A rejuvenated Aces offense carried on the feel good factor with Jacquet throwing to Ossom and Hope dancing through missed tackles as smiles turned to frowns amongst the Lions ranks.
After a series of penalties on both sides of the ball, Nick Jacquet rolled to the right looping the ball to running back Hope, who tip toed down the sideline and dived for the pylon. The call was good and Loughborough were serious contenders again. [21 VS 13]
Knowing that time was against them and a team in front of them capable of running down the clock, Head Coach Paul Sherratt decided to go for the onside kick, a brave decision that would prove unsuccessful as Birmingham gathered the ball.
Both sides were misfiring under the pressure and traded punts before Sope Dirisu threw to Drew Newiss to enter Loughborough territory leaving Aces fans fearing the worse.
After a misplaced throw and sack by Dirisu the pressure was on to convert third and long and he thought he had done when the Lions executed a screen play for Dan Conroy perfectly before it was brought back for a hold.
Loughborough had 2min 52 seconds left on the clock and would have to go the full length of the pitch if they were to force overtime, at the very least but a sack by Game MVP Josh Vine, ended all hopes and they conceded the game with about a minute remaining.
Birmingham showed today why they were runner-ups last season and why they are red hot favourites to make a finals appearance once again. They exploited the weaknesses on the Loughborough offence and executed some well drawn out plays.
Loughborough were in danger of being blown out of the water in the first half but they deserve huge credit for having the desire and ability to get back in to the game.
*FightForTheYard would like to thank Sope Dirisu for the interview and Michael Gill for standing in the cold with him.*
FightForTheYard has secured the thoughts of Birmingham Lions star quarterback Sope Dirisu on the eve of the first Football America UK Bowl.
The clash between the Birmingham Lions and Loughborough Aces is itself worthy of a Championship game but on Saturday 19th February, the winner of this conference brawl will be in pole position and favourites for an assault at national glory.
One of the men hoping to be on the winning team is veteran quarterback and team president Sope Dirisu.
Dirisu has been left frustrated by the postponement of recent games but is excited to finally be playing again, “I’m really psyched and looking forward to the Loughborough game. Having had two of our games in the run up to this one called off, the whole team is just raring to go, eager for a game and wanting to properly get back to football”.
Playing at the quarterback position, the spotlight is always going to be on you and some players either rise or crumble under the pressure, Dirisu thankfully has another quarterback who can carry some of that burden and expectation, Jonny Glover.
Glover sounds like he should be in an American television show like ‘Friday Night Lights’ but Dirisu is adamant that he has no qualms about the rotation system currently in use in Birmingham.
“We have a motto at the Lions which is ‘Always Compete’ and I guess we’ve been competing with each other since preseason. It provides great competition between the two of us and I think we play better when we know the other is nipping at our heels and if it makes us better, it makes the team better”.
“The competition doesn’t hinder our friendship at all, Jonny’s a great guy. With this being my last year with the Lions, I know the team is in great hands with Jonny and our new Rookie Alex ‘Flacco’ Wake-Warlow under centre”.
Without beating around the bush, the two teams on show today are the ‘crème de la crème’ of the Midland Athletic Conference and it promises to be a tight, physical encounter.
“Loughborough are clearly one of our greater rivals in the BUAFL and I’ve never played a mediocre or lacklustre game against them and I’m sure that this will be no different. They’re a great side with some talented ‘ballers’ and always provide a stiff competition”.
Dirisu is respectful of the competition but ultimately expects his troops to get the job done, “Without being biased and having looked at the way my guys have trained I see plenty of desire and their attitude towards preparing for the game has been great. I know we’ll be more than a match for the Aces”.
Whatever the outcome, it is set up to be one hell of a game.
FightForTheYard will be delivering a full match report in due course.
Two of the country’s powerhouse programs clash on Saturday 18th February, Birmingham, in what – not could, but will decide the eventual winner of the Midland Athletic Conference in the inaugural Football America UK Bowl.
Last year’s runners-up Birmingham Lions have strolled through the first half of the campaign going 5-0 and picking off the likes of NTU Renegades, Coventry Jets, Nottingham Outlaws and the Staffordshire Stallions while games against Lincoln Colonials and Derby Braves have fallen foul to the adverse weather.
Scoring a total of 208 points, offense has obviously been a breeze for the Lions even with the slightly odd situation they have at quarterback.
Since star quarterback Tristan Varney’s serious injury in the corresponding fixture last season, Birmingham has been rotating pocket passer Jonny Glover and the big arm scrambler Sope Dirisu. It may be normal policy for lesser teams to rotate quarterbacks as they try to find a winning combination but it is widely acknowledged that a stable team breeds confidence and positive results but Birmingham seem to have bucked the trend and credit to Head Coach Wayne Hill for recognising that.
While the offense has been racking up huge numbers, the defence has been labelled as one of the stingiest in the league conceding mere 14 points, coincidently coming against both Nottingham teams.
Running a 3-4 defensive scheme the Lions are geared up to stop the run but that will not stop the inevitable pass rush from their GB calibre linemen and linebackers.
The inevitable run that I speak of is one of the strongest in the entire league and with the ball under the arm of 2011 League MVP Adam Hope, Birmingham will have to dig deep in the trenches and be capable of keeping the outside contain as that is where Hope and co like to run.
Birmingham themselves have a GB running back and if they are to be successful on Saturday they cannot solely rely on the impressive passing game that has so far served them well because if they do, their defence will have a hell of a job keeping them in the game.
Trying to halt the Lions express is an equally dominant Loughborough defence who have conceded only six points more than their opposition. Loughborough have recorded emphatic wins over Nottingham Outlaws, Warwick Wolves, Staffordshire Stallions, Coventry Jets and the Derby Braves scoring 224 points in the process, more than Birmingham.
Blessed with two Tamworth Phoenix linebackers in Varney and Saari, the Aces have one of the hardest hitting defences in the country and with both sent on blitzes regularly, they have a history of creating turnovers, something that could be a game changer at the weekend.
On the other side of the ball Loughborough use a triple option offence which enables them to keep the defence occupied while quarterback Nick Jacquet who lines up in a pistol offence has the time to pick his pass and make the completion.
Having sacked him twice myself this season, I am looking forward to seeing how Jacquet copes with the pass rush that Birmingham will throw at him but if things do become a bit hectic he can always hand off to four year veteran Hope.
With this year’s game being sponsored and subsequently called the Football America UK Bowl it is ironic that we could have been talking about another bowl game, yes, the Varney Bowl.
With Tristan injured we have been robbed of a game that would have pitted a special quarterback versus his younger brother Jon Varney, a rising star on the Great Britain scene.
The match is scheduled to take place on a 3G pitch which Birmingham will be used to playing on but Loughborough I believe are yet to take to the surface this season. In a game as tight as this is anticipated to be , any advantage could be magnified and prove crucial come the final whistle.
Loughborough Head Coach Paul Sherratt has been kind enough to speak with FightForTheYard ahead of the big game.
With the weather being so bad, Loughborough were forced to postpone there varsity game with Leicester Longhorns further disrupting there preparation.
“Weather has certainly been a factor as it has for everyone, we lost a week of practice time plus a game. We always have some challenges after Christmas due to the University’s extended exam period. It has been a long time since our last game in December but our players have responded well. We’ve been focussed on getting ourselves ready to play rather than focussing too much on our opponent. Hopefully it won’t take us too long to get back into game mode”.
For Paul there is no better feeling than the build up to a big conference game, ” I talk to Wayne Hill (Birmingham Lions Head Coach), a lot about the pros and cons of a two-tier system but one of the consequences of the MAC in its current form is that you really can’t judge how good you are based on results against some of the teams in the lower half of the conference”.
“I think if you talked to anyone in the Lions or Aces programmes we would want to play games of this magnitude every week. There is a real buzz about the game and it makes it more exciting for everyone involved. I believe it will be a great game and hopefully both teams can go on to represent the MAC in the playoffs”.
When asked how he expected the game to pan out, Sherratt said; “I honestly don’t know. There are some great players on both sides and whoever makes the most big plays will win the game”.
He continued; “There are a lot of key match-ups all over the field so it should be a great one to watch. Recent encounters have been close, usually decided by a score or two with both sides trading touchdowns. I would expect it to be quite conservative to begin with and then gradually open up, special teams will be a factor for sure as it has been in previous games”.
Paul would also like to extend his gratitude to Football America, “I would like to thank Football America UK for sponsoring the game. Wayne, Dave Hagger and I have spoken about it at the AFCA convention on Texas over a beer; it’s great that it is now a reality. Football America has been really good to our programme and they help us out a lot”.
I am anticipating a very close yet high scoring encounter on Saturday with both sides impressing. Looking through the stats and history of this game their isn’t a great deal to choose from so I am going to go on my gut feeling.
Having played both these teams this season, I was slightly more impressed with the Lions and with the home advantage they just edge it for me.
Loughborough Aces 21 – 30 Birmingham Lions
FightForTheYard will be in attendance and have a full match report soon after. Follow for regular updates on the Official FightForTheYard Twitter page.
That is the surprise admission from NFL journalist and Sky Sports analyst Neil Reynolds, 39, who believes the British game is on the right track, even if the Americans are oblivious to the fact we even play the sport at all.
Mr Reynolds was kind enough to speak to FightForTheYard and give his views on everything football.
“I got into the sport the way most people my age did, staying up late with my dad in the eighties, watching all the best teams on Channel 4. After about a year I decided I liked the San Francisco 49ers”.
While the 49ers led by Hall Of Fame star Joe Montana were appealing at first, they held no real place in Neil’s heart, that spot belongs to the Miami Dolphins. When asked why he chose the Dolphins Neil could only laugh, “I like a good quarterback”. As most of you will know, Miami was home to one of the best quarterbacks of all time, Dan Marino but in more recent times players such as Matt Moore and Chad Henne have held that position and on the whole, failed.
“Obviously we’re not doing very well at the moment but Marino stood out for me and has to be my favourite player of all time. I believe the quarterback position to be the hardest in the NFL, so respect to those guys that do it”.
Having admiration for the position, Reynolds can only admire the great work that newly crowned league MVP Aaron Rodgers has done in Green Bay, “I love to watch great quarterbacks play football and this guy is special. Green Bay have a lot of weapons and are brilliant to watch at the minute”.
Watching the game is all very well and good but to fully appreciate and understand what a player is thinking, you have to have experienced the hard hitting and ferocious nature of play which Neil has.
Starting out with the Medway Mustangs in 1991, Neil played as wide receiver before moving on a year later to the Invicta Eagles where he spent four years as a tight end and kicker, a position he would hold at every team he played for.
After leaving the Eagles at the end of the 1996 season, Reynolds moved to the Kent Exiles where he would finish his playing career before being offered a job at NFL Europe.
“Again I played tight end and kicker but I also had a go at defensive end which I was awful at, I couldn’t tackle at all but loved trying to get at the quarterback. I liked to be tackled for some strange reason so that is why I was mainly on offence. My favourite tight end was Mark Bavaro of the Giants in the 80’s, the picture of him running twenty yards with three men on his back is still etched into my memory”.
Only last year Neil was offered the chance to return to the Exiles for their 21st year Anniversary, an invitation he was pleased to accept, “I went back for the anniversary and was inducted to the All Star Team ring of honour as a tight end which was great”.
One thing Neil doesn’t miss about his playing days are the aches and pains from playing a hard game, “When I was younger I would ache for a day or two afterwards but as I got older I would ache until the following Friday, that wasn’t fun”.
“I do miss being part of a team though, that was probably the most enjoyable part of the whole experience, being in the locker room before the game, getting psyched up and then the elation or despair afterwards. To enjoy it you really have to love the game”.
“I always had a fascination with journalism at school and at age 14 I decided that’s what I want to do, so I did”
As most aspiring journalists will know, getting a gig for a company like the NFL requires a lot of hard work, “I did a week’s work experience at First Down magazine in 1991 which was brilliant and I continued to work with them by freelancing and covering the London Monarchs game’s in the 1991/92 season”.
“From there I worked for the Kent Messenger and literally started off as the tea boy, it wasn’t pretty but it was necessary, I’d cut out the stories I had written and stick them in a scrapbook and by 1996 I was fully qualified journalist, visiting flower shows to write about the goings on in the flower world”.
Neil’s tea making days were firmly behind him when he got his first big break, “I became a reporter for First Down magazine and I did that for three years, I loved it, writing about football was what I had always wanted to do. One day I received a call offering me the position of PR Manager at NFLEurope.com I was so pleased to be headhunted for the position”.
“I was there from 2000/02, I enjoyed it a lot. I also helped to launch NFL UK, so overall it was a fun job”.
Currently Neil writes for NFL UK and is also a permanent fixture on the Sky Sports NFL shows. “I love the job that I am doing at the moment, maybe one day I’ll take Rich Eisen’s place on the NFL Network, I have the hair for it anyway”, he says jokingly.
“When doing this job you can’t please everybody and I’m aware of some criticism but at the end of the day I’m being paid to watch football and talk about it on television so I’m not too bothered”.
Taking a trip across the pond is another perk to the job, “I get to visit America for around two weeks of the year as part of my role, which isn’t as much as I’d like obviously, but it’s still more than most. I go for a week during training camp and then I go again for Superbowl week which is manic”.
Since 2007 the NFL International Series has been played at Wembley Stadium giving hope to the idea of having a London based NFL franchise, something which Neil is backing, “I think it is definitely a possibility especially with Roger Goodell as commissioner of the league, he really wants it to happen”.
“Part of the business plan is to have a team play multiple games in the UK and see how they connect with the fans. It could take ten years or so to develop but it would be fantastic”.
With the recent news that the St Louis Rams will take on the New England Patriots next year and then return for another two years it seems the Rams are that team.
Continuing with the British game, Neil spoke favourably about the work being done in this country to raise the profile and standard of the game.
“The game over here is growing and growing and that is a great thing. It is probably helped by the Wembley game being such a big event which in turn has increased participation at both university and senior league level”.
He continued; “I’d love to see more of our players make it over to the States and receive scholarships at colleges but the reality of it is playing in BUAFL is the best it is ever going to get for many but that shouldn’t detract how valuable an experience it is. To the players padding up with friends means everything to them and they give it their all which I think is brilliant”.
Being a journalist, Neil has interviewed plenty of famous faces but his most treasured moment came a couple of years ago when by chance he came face to face with NFL Royalty, Joe Montana.
“I was in California and had a spare day to myself; I knew Joe Montana lived close by so I thought I’d ring his agent asking for an interview. He said he’d ask Joe so I thought nothing of it thinking that would be that. Not long after I received permission to go to Joe’s house and speak with him. I nervously made my way over to his house and he gave me a guided tour while telling me stories. I spent an hour there and got the interview, it has to go down as one of the greatest and most surreal moments of my life, I had to pinch myself afterwards”.
When asked who he would like to interview most out of the current crop of football stars the answer was instant.
“Ray Lewis, it has to be Ray. He is so intense and fascinating; he can get a little carried away but what a character”.
If Neil could be in Roger Goodell’s hot seat for just one day he would change only two things, “Coaching time outs drive me crazy, if you’re losing by more than two touchdowns in the 4th quarter then what’s the point? It slows the game down and puts new fans off”.
Another rule change that would be implemented is the victory celebration;”Why is it okay for the Packers to jump into the crowd and perform the ‘Lambeau Leap’ but Chad Ochocinco gets pulled up for a silly dance? I agree pulling mobile phones out of goal posts is too far but let them enjoy the moment”.
All this talk of celebrations reminded Neil of a time when he scored a touchdown and went a little bit too far, “When I used to play, one of my coaches used to make us run up this steep hill in training as a punishment, so one time I scored a touchdown and the hill was positioned by the end zone so I ran to the top, put my hands on my hips like Superman or something and had the whole offensive line running up after me, it was hilarious”.
FightForTheYard would like to thank Neil Reynolds for offering his time and commitment to this interview.
The Patriots coming off the perfect season were expected to brush aside baby Manning and his New York cronies in Miami four years ago but a miracle scramble from Eli and then a catch from the gods themselves helped set up the game winning drive with only 00:00:35 left on the clock.
Fast forward to the present day and once again we have the New England Patriots hosting the New York Giants in Superbowl XLVI in Indianapolis. This time, nobody really knows who will win so Fight For The Yard will try to dissect the facts and stats giving you a better idea of who will be victorious.
If you was to sum up the Pats offence in one word it would be Brady. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has had a special season even for his standards. Surpassing Dan Marino’s regular season passing record (albeit not the only one this year) would have been a boyhood dream but under the guidance of head coach Bill Belichick, it seems all of Tom’s fantasies have become reality.
Career high totals of 611 passing attempts and 401 completions are impressive but could he have done so well without the man of the moment Rob Gronkowski?
Gronkowski along with his position partner Aaron Hernandez, have revitalised the Tight End position and become one of the most feared double acts in professional football. The tight end has previously been used as an extra blocker for the run game and occasionally thrown to for short gains but in more recent times and with athletes such as these two beasts, they have become the primary attacking option for New England and have caused defensive coordinators massive headaches.
Gronkowski finished the regular season with an NFL record 17 touchdowns for a tight end with Hernandez adding another seven. Unfortunately for Patriot fans, reaching the showpiece event has not come without a heavy price to their main man. Big Rob suffered a nasty looking ankle injury in the win over the Ravens and is officially listed as questionable. Should New England come out on top, you would think that Gronkowski would need to play a key role.
Quietly going about his business and having a very good season is wide receiver Wes Welker. He is another player who has had a career season, leading the NFL with 1,569 yards and 9 touchdowns although his production slowed down towards the back end of the campaign.
Jason Pierre-Paul has become one of the most feared pass rushers in the National Football League in only his second season. His production has been remarkable with 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles in a ferocious New York defence.
Fellow lineman Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck have contributed with nine and five sacks respectively. If the Giants are to disrupt the Brady passing machine then these three will play a crucial role.
One of the more touching stories to grace this year’s finale is the life so far of linebacker Mark Herzlich. Diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in 2009, he was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent last summer. Now fully recovered and a fully fledged NFL professional, he enters his first Superbowl having played eleven games, making 12 tackles.
For years New York head coach Tom Coughlin has been a run first man but for one reason or another, the passing game has become his new bread and butter. One reason for this could be the emergence of wide receiver Victor Cruz who before the season began was used sparingly but has since become the surprise star man.
Posting figures of nine touchdowns and 1,536 receiving yards Cruz has become the go to man for Manning. Hakeem Nicks has been the only other noticeable contribution in the receiving ranks with seven touchdowns and 1,192 yards.
Eli Manning has a Superbowl to his name yet people are still hesitant to categorise him as an elite quarterback. Constantly in the shadow of elder brother Peyton of the Indianapolis Colts, he has had an uphill battle to prove himself and add to that the media spotlight of playing in New York, you start to feel sorry for the guy but this season has been a turning point.
Throwing for 4,933 and 29 touchdowns, Eli propelled the G-men into pole position in the NFC East but a min crisis when they allowed the Dallas Cowboys to have a say in the title race but consecutive wins orchestrated by Eli over the Cowboys saw them dominate the end of the regular season and power through the post season.
The running game suffered early on but in recent weeks it has become more prevalent with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs scoring 16 touchdowns between them in a hard hitting running game.
With the 31st ranked defence in the NFL, it is miraculous that the Pats were in the playoffs never mind the Superbowl … well that’s what you would have said a year ago but with the 15-1 Packers being ranked 32 and dead last it, appears to be a recipe for success and the old saying that ‘Offence wins games and Defence wins Championships’ seems to be, well, old.
Giving up 21.4 points per game may have been semi acceptable in the regular season but if they do the same in the big game, they’ll be no victory parade in Foxborough come Monday afternoon.
Vince Wilfork has been the stand-out performer on the line this year weighing in with a career high 3.5 sacks and a modest 29 tackles. A pass rush will be crucial to disrupting the flow of Manning and Wilfork will be the one the Patriots will be looking to to supply that pressure.
Half time show
Madonna has been selected to perform in the world famous halftime show. She joins acts such as U2, The Who, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Tom Jones in featuring in the prestigious twelve minute slot. Other acts LMFAO, Cee-Lo Green and Nicki Minaj will also be performing at some stage.
While most of the world will be admiring the pyrotechnics on display, former Colts head coach and NBC analyst will watching a three minute video about adoption and has encouraged everyone to download it. I won’t be but feel free to at http://www.adoptionjourney.com/share/dungyhalftime/
The New York Giants go into the game as the ‘hot’ team beating the likes of the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers on their journey to the big game while the Patriots have only had one real test coming against Baltimore Ravens after breezing past the much hyped Denver Broncos.
Brady’s main offensive weapon has been wearing a medical boot all week and his practice limited so for the Pats to realistically trouble the Giants defence they will have to try and get some sort of running game established to halt the impressive New York pass rush. Having said this, if one man can win it for New England then Brady is that man.
Being a Peyton Manning fan myself, I won’t begrudge his little Eli from winning this one and getting one over his old nemesis Tom Brady.
Giants 24 – 17 Patriots