Phantoms Release Statement

11 12 2011

Around the country teams were gearing up for the final round of games before the Christmas break except for down in Southampton where one changing room, meant for the Anglia Ruskin Phantoms stood empty.

After much debate and speculation about why the Phantoms (0-5) had pulled out of the Stags BUAFL fixture, the team decided to release the following statement;

It is with regret that The Anglia Ruskin Phantoms have taken the decision to forfeit their game against The Southampton Stags Sunday 11th December 2011.

After consultation with the league, university and student union officials it has been decided that taking fourteen players and without an offensive line of players who have played this position before, it would neither be advisable or fulfilling the ethical duty of care to players to fulfil a fixture.

The Anglia Ruskin Phantoms deeply regret being unable to fulfil this fixture and appreciate the understanding shown by BUAFL and The Southampton Stags.  However, not one respected football voice contacted for advice saw any benefit in jeopardising player safety in a vain attempt to meet a standard of bravado unnecessary at this competitive level.  Anyone unsure of the basis of this responsibility should refer to the BAFCA Code of Ethics, Article 1, Section 1.

The Anglia Ruskin respect the right of other BUAFL teams in similar situations to make their own decisions and would welcome direct contact via our team website from anyone seeking clarification of our position or willing to offer constructive advice.  In the absence of such contact, we would request all other parties avoid idle speculation about our team and enjoy not only the rest of the season (in which we intend to continue to compete) but a restful, and in many cases needed, Christmas break.’

Due to the misconception and rumour surrounding the fixture being forfeited, Phantoms Head Coach Geordie Saint decided to put the record straight and spoke to ‘Fight For The Yard’.

“I thought it was best to get a message out and let people know the reasons behind our no show in Southampton today. Firstly I would like to kill one rumour; we have 9,000 undergraduates at the University of which 41% are male, split between two campuses so numbers such as 30,000 students are false.

“The campuses split earlier in the year because of transport issues in Cambridge (naturally the rowing squad gets the minibus) and recruitment in Chelmsford is traditionally low.”

Anglia Ruskin Phantoms

Injuries are a factor for most teams but when you only have 23 players and 17 of them are rookies, it is understandable that your resources will be stretched at some point.

“Injury wise we have lost our starting QB, our back-up QB, a two way lineman/linebacker and our most versatile player who can play anywhere on offense and defence. We had nobody weighing over fourteen stone so that was the offensive line out the window.

“Our overseas players have gone home for Christmas, so all this meant that only 14 players were ready to travel for the game today.”

Coach Saint realises that his team are way off the competition at the moment but that will not stop the Phantoms from going out and having some fun . . . when they have a full team of course.

“Ultimately we know our place in the league. We know we don’t have the playing resources to compete at the highest level but instead we want to be competitive so we can have fun and achieve some fair results. That won’t be this year, I doubt it would be next but we’re moving forward.”

Fight For The Yard wishes the Anglia Ruskin Phantoms the best of luck for the remainder of the season.

Who Rules the MAC?

9 12 2011

‘It could not have been tougher’.

Those are the words of one offensive lineman who goes into the Christmas break on the back of three successive losses, two of whom can lay claim to being the country’s powerhouse programmes, while the third team are making waves in the Midland Athletic Conference.

The Staffordshire Stallions schedule before the festive break was not one to envy by any means. Away to the Derby Braves, Loughborough Aces and Birmingham Lions are daunting trips at any time of the year but all in the first half of the season and one after the other is some going.

Michael Gill, offensive lineman for the Stallions says, “The MAC is a very tough place to be at the moment with plenty of quality teams, it is probably the most competitive in the league”.

“With previous national champions, large universities and many players who play senior league for some of the best teams around, the rest of the conference face an uphill task to make the post season”.

Week one saw the Stallions faceoff against the Derby Braves in a night game that many predicted would be a close but high scoring encounter. Unfortunately it wasn’t close.

Derby’s offense is nothing spectacular but it is effective. They have a young American quarterback who can throw well but their main weapon is the run. They won’t blow you out of the water but they will make three to four yards at a time by running through the middle which will be enough to get the first down.

Derby Braves

The game plan results in the opposing defence staying on the field for long periods of time an exhausting themselves while their own defence can rest.

Gill is a third year veteran and rates the Braves highly, “I’ve been playing for a while now and Derby is one of the most physical teams that I have come up against. They play hard and hit hard. I think they will give the top two a run for their money”.

On paper the second away game in a matter of weeks was a step up for Staffordshire but Loughborough Aces triple option offence posed less problems than expected and although the Aces took a 17-0 lead into the half, it was a positive performance for the Stallions who were unlucky to be that much behind.

Loughborough Aces

The game plan was to stop the run to the outside and in the first half that worked resulting in two sacks and a fumble return for myself while the rest of the team also made plays, yet it wouldn’t be enough as Loughborough regrouped and came out firing ending any hope of a comeback with a touchdown on the first drive.

As with the Braves, Loughborough’s main strength is the run and they do it well. At quarterback they will need to improve a lot to make a serious challenge in the post season . . . should they get there.

With only a few days to recover from a demoralising defeat, the Stallions headed south to the home of the 2010/11 finalists, Birmingham Lions. When you’re involved in the MAC the first team on the fixture list you look out for are the Lions due to the legacy and history they are creating.

Birmingham Lions

The game as a whole was no a contest as the Lions brought their ‘A-game’ to the table and blew the Stallions out of the water with a mixture of running and passing plays.

Staffordshire Stallions tight end, Lewis Bayley complimented the Lions on their preparation, “Birmingham has a massive roster but every player seems well drilled and they execute the plays technically very well”.

After facing all three teams, the general consensus around the camp is that the Birmingham Lions have the best chance of going all the way in the play-offs. They are a big outfit with the quality to dismantle teams.

Derby is a physical unit but probably do not have the players to reach the latter stages of the play-offs. Unfortunately for them, they lost under unusual circumstances at the weekend with their game against the Nottingham Outlaws being abandoned at the half because of a serious injury to a player. That loss opens up a potential spot in the plate for teams such as the Stallions who have favourable schedule after Christmas.

Loughborough have the pedigree, but do they have enough about them this time around? My guess would be no they don’t. The clash against Derby will decide who joins Birmingham in the post season.

You can guarantee that as soon as you finish debating with your friends who will top the midlands conference, the Northampton Nemesis will go and win another game.