The Next Billy Elliot?

28 02 2012
Worcester Royals
lineman forgets
where he is.

Lateral Fail

28 02 2012

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.

Lateral Fail

If you don’t laugh you’ll cry!

Playoff Picture

25 02 2012

Here we are again, nearing the end of February and the playoff picture is beginning to take shape.

The usual suspects are in the frame coupled with a few surprise packages. FightForTheYard will TRY to create a clearer understanding of what is likely to happen.

Birmingham Lions

The Lions are once again top dogs in the MAC and their win over the Aces proved that. Birmingham Secretary Jose Van Oosten believes the team will finish strong and win the conference.

“The MAC is always competitive and, as we have seen in the last couple weeks, 2012 seems to be the year of the upsets; but we are confident that we have the ability to win our last two matches and finish as division champions. We always start each season off with the aim of going undefeated and winning the bowl game and that has not changed this year”.

Birmingham Lions

Van Oosten also has his opinions on who will join the Lions in the post season;

“Northampton is having a fantastic rookie season, which will most likely end up in some post-season action. We have always had a healthy rivalry with Loughborough and, for the sake of competition in BUAFL; we hope they continue into the Championship play-offs. No offense to Northampton, but Loughborough has a stellar program and it would be a shame for them to have to compete in the Plate competition”.

Boasting a perfect record and handsome points total all would seem rosy in Birmingham as they head towards the post season but after last year’s defeat to the Destroyers in the Championship Final, where they were favourites, returning players will know the job isn’t done and they can’t take their form for granted as they face trips to both Warwick and Derby in the coming weeks.

Lions Vice-President Drew Newiss believes they will face some stiff competition in the playoffs, “This year BUAFL has been extremely competitive. There are many teams that have the quality to go all the way, but I would single out Loughborough and Hertfordshire”

“Loughborough gave us a very good game last weekend. The fact that we won in the recent FAUK bowl will only mean they’re going to be raring to beat us next time round. Hertfordshire are also having a great season, last year our game went down to the wire. They’re a hard-hitting, well drilled team, littered with quality, and we expect them to do well”.

Southampton Stags

The Stags have steamrolled the Thames Valley Conference to go 7-o for the season with only one game, and it’s a big one, left against their rivals, Portsmouth Destroyers.

Southampton Stags

Big victories against the Buccaneers, Knights, Burners, Redhawks, Immortals, Stingers and a forfeit by the Phantoms leave Southampton on the brink of a perfect season. While scoring 239 points on offence, including three games where the opposition conceded 45 points or more, is impressive, the defence has conceded 74 points which is considerably higher than many of the top teams in the country.

If the Stags are to be serious contenders come playoff time, they will need to shore up a shaky looking defence.

Cardiff Cobras

The Cobras currently sit in a strong position in the SWAC and with a potentially decisive game approaching against the Bullets, they would be left devastated should they drop out of contention at the expense of the Exeter Demons who hold the tie breaker over them. Then again, the Demons have to win out which is unlikely.

Cardiff Cobras

Wins against the Titans, Bees, Blitz and Barracuda have left the Welshman smiling and it is up to them to get the job done in their 25th Anniversary season.

UH Sharks

The Sharks are going to need all their bite if they are to escape the brawl that is currently happening at the top of the Northern Conference. Hull are 5-1 along with the Bears but crucially hold a head to head advantage over the rookie outfit.

University of Hull Sharks

Wins over the Eagles, Hawks, Carnegie, Bears and Bombers with only defeat at the hands of the superior Sheffield Hallam has given this much improved programme a real chance of some post season action.

To extend their season they will need to overcome two difficult teams in the form of the Centurions and Celtics, not an easy task.

Northampton Nemesis

The Nemesis have become something of an enigma for all of those involved in the Midland Athletic Conference. Being a rookie team, almost everyone outside of Northampton and I suspect many inside, expected them to struggle with the harsh realities of BUAFL football but by utilising the double-wing offensive system, Nemesis have disposed of all in front of them.

Rookie receiver and President Daniel D’Urso believes there is a great spirit in the camp, ” There’s no real secret behind our 5-0 start, some may be surprised by this team but it’s been all about hard work from everyone involved, we have a great group of players and coaches here in Northampton”

Northampton Nemesis

Their schedule has come under scrutiny for allowing them a passage towards the playoffs without playing any of the top teams in the conference.

Wins over the Royals, Pythons, Falcons, Longhorns and Wolves have left the Nemesis in a favourable position with two winnable games against the Colonials and Stingers coming up and a stiff test in the Nottingham Outlaws.

D’Urso and his team have not been fazed by some of the criticism aimed at them, “I think those who are criticising both our schedule and our style of play wouldn’t be too bothered if we hadn’t achieved that 5-0 record so far”.

“‘In all honesty when it comes to game day, you can only play the team in front of you and that’s what we’ve done all season. We’ve played well enough to win all of our games so far and that is what matters to us. Some say we have a soft schedule because we don’t play teams such as Birmingham or Loughborough but we don’t control our fixtures”.

I would expect them to make the post-season in the Challenge Trophy at the very least and quite possibly finish with a 7-1 winning record but D’Urso believes the team can go all the way.

“We sit in a good position in the conference, it’s a brilliant achievement for a rookie team .This squad has the potential to compete in the playoffs and go all the way”.

Stirling Clansmen

The Clansmen have been rampant in their hunt of a playoff place, outscoring and embarrassing the smaller teams in the Border Conference. Scores of 90-0, 58-0 and 55-0 may have led them into a false sense of security before their loss at the hands of Glasgow, where they failed to make an impact on the scoreboard at all.

Stirling Clansmen

If you ignore the 20 unanswered points against the Tigers then the Stirling defence has done, wait for it, a sterling job in conceding another 14 points in five games which is impressive.

Coming up is a match with the Mustangs that will decide the outcome of the conference, definitely one to look out for.

Portsmouth Destroyers

The Destroyers are the reigning National Champions but recent results would suggest that there’ll be no repeat of last year’s heroics. Losses to the Knights and Redhawks have left the team 4-2 and on the brink of missing the playoffs something Head Coach Russ Hewitt is keen to avoid.

“This season has been a new challenge and something of a learning curve. Winning the championship last season gave us great confidence and we started the season strong but the Christmas break has done us no favours and we didn’t return they way we should have, ultimately that cost us our 15 game winning streak”.

Portsmouth Destroyers courtesy of Rhianna Dawes

The recent losses have left Coach Hewitt feeling frustrated; “I’ve watched the game film back and it is frustrating to see we outplayed our opponents but at the end of the day only the scoreboard matters”.

With a massive game approaching against the Stags, Hewitt and the Destroyers are trying everything they can to be prepared for what is to come.

“Thankfully the season is not over yet, we get another shot at our rivals, and if we take care of that game, we might have a shot at the playoffs but before all of that it’s back to the practice field.

He continued; the coaches are looking at what they’re teaching and trying to improve it but it’s also important that the players understand the teaching and that is all the coaches can do”.

With the Destroyers season hinging on the outcome of the Stags game, you can expect a good old South coast ding-dong.

Bradford Bears

The Bears have been over shadowed in their rookie season by the more talked about Northampton Nemesis. In one respect they will feel aggrieved by the lack of attention but it is that starvation of publicity that has enabled them to slip under the radar and concentrate on their football.

Bradford Bears

Wins against the Tyrants, Eagles, Celtics, Hawks and Bombers and a solitary loss against playoff rivals Hull Sharks, leaves the Bears in a great position but they face a nervous wait on other results due to the close nature at the top of the Northern Conference.

Loughborough Aces

The Aces will be reeling from their first half performance against Birmingham last weekend which ultimately cost them an important win and quite possibly a playoff berth.

Loughborough Aces

Currently 5-1 in the MAC, the Aces are pretty much guaranteed a place in the Plate but that would have been considered a failure at the start of the season by Sherratt and his coaching staff.

The Aces will be going all out in their final games against the Longhorns and Renegades to give them the best chance of joining the Lions in the playoffs. It would be disastrous for a programme like this to miss out on a shot at national glory.

Hertfordshire Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have been the dominant force in the South Eastern Conference for a good while now and the 2011-12 campaign has been no different.

Wins against the Regents, Pirates, Chargers, Spartans, Blades and Tsunami has given them licence to possibly field a few rookies in their remaining fixtures against the Falcons and Mariners as the 6-0 record they have acquired virtually guarantees them a playoff place.

Hertfordshire Hurricanes

Unlike the MAC, the SEC isn’t filled with many playoff calibre programmes so it can sometimes be hard to measure how well the Hurricanes are actually doing, but you can only beat what is in front of you and they are certainly doing that.

Kent Falcons

The Falcons have carried last year’s impressive form through to the current campaign as they look to make the post-season for the second consecutive year.

Kent Falcons

The 7-1 record achieved last year could be replicated this time around but they will have to win all their remaining games including the top of the table clash against the Hurricanes who disposed of the Falcons in a 30-0 shut-out. Should Kent lose another game then they will be nervously looking over their shoulder at the team hot on their heels, the Essex Blades.

Northumbria Mustangs

The Mustangs enter this weekend’s contest with the Clansmen knowing that it is winner takes all and the loser settles for the Plate.

Northumbria Mustangs

Currently sitting third with a 5-1 record, Northumbria have notched up 184 points leaking 70, which isn’t exactly playoff pedigree when you compare that to teams in similar positions, minus the Stags. It is vital that they keep the momentum that four successive wins has given them if they are to progress any further, a lapse in concentration could see them licking their wounds after a great start to the season.

Essex Blades

The Blades have been involved in a few close encounters this season and with a scoring record of 94 points scored and 95 points conceded its apparent why. With a one point victory over the Mariners and three points the difference against the Pirates; Essex has certainly ridden their luck.

Essex Blades

A blowout at the hands of Hertfordshire and only one other victory against a team with a winning record this year, would suggest they will be easy pickings in the post-season, should they make it.

OBU Panthers

The Panthers are 4-1 after shutting out three of their five opponents with the only blip on their record coming against playoff rivals Portsmouth Destroyers.

OBU Panthers

The main reason for OBU’s sudden rise in fortunes this year can be largely down to the improved defence which has conceded a valiant 26 points compared to nearly 150 points at the same stage last season.  The offence can also lay claim to improving as a unit with an extra 50 points to their name.

UWE Bullets

 The Bullets have continued to control the South Western Atlantic Conference as they have done for many years culminating in numerous playoffs appearances but after the recent loss to the Demons, Head Coach Mathew Dyke is determined to be in the shake up once again.

“We have been playing well especially on defence this year, and then last Sunday hit us like a ton of bricks, that said the expectation is for the club to experience play-off football for the seventh time in a row. Standing in our way is an old rivalry with the Cardiff Cobras who are a very good side and have always done well against us”.

UWE Bullets

Coach Dyke believes that his troops can make an impact in the post-season; “We will have some very good teams to play against but the Bullets have the ability and work ethic to go all the way. However we are a young team, starting many rookies and my aim as head coach is to make sure we compete in every game we play and learn from each mistake but right now it is hard to look beyond Cardiff”.

A win over the Cobras will guarantee UWE top spot in the SWAC with a 7-1 record and a good seeding in the playoffs.

Newcastle Raiders

Raider nation must be all smiles right now as another perfect regular season looks ominous with only the Glasgow Tigers standing between them and an 8-0 campaign.

Newcastle Raiders

An emphatic 334 points have been scored, with only 31 conceded in seven games which is remarkable and the Raiders must be confident of a long and prosperous post-season. Could they go all the way?

Sheffield Hallam Warriors

Coming off the back of a titanic battle with inter-city rivals Sheffield Sabres, the Warriors are sitting pretty at the top of the Northern Conference with aspirations to do well in the playoffs.

Early season wins against the Celtics, Bombers and Hawks were, how should I put this? Easy? Yes, Hallam amassed 254 unanswered points in the space of twelve quarters of football. Wow indeed.

Sheffield Hallam Warriors

It is form like that which has led Hallam linebacker Anthony Marsden to believe they can go one better than last year.

“I think we have a good chance of going all the way this year, we made the semi finals against Portsmouth last year and only lost by a single score. We don’t fear anyone as we believe if we perform to the best of our teams ability, we can handle whoever stands in front of us. However if I wanted to avoid one team then it would be Birmingham as they pose a big challeng”.

The Warriors have continued to rack up the points leaving them the highest scoring team in the country with 390 points and two games still to play. Good luck to the defences of York and Leeds Carnegie, something tells me you’ll need it.

So thats about it, I think, I’ve got a headache, well done if you made it to the end. Come Sunday afternoon this will probably be irrelevant and I’ll have to write a new one . . . Oh boy!

Thanks to everyone who was willing to be interviewed and for their input and continued support. FightForTheYard.

BAFANL 2012 Fixtures

25 02 2012

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!

Premier North

date kickoff home away
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

Premier South

date kickoff home away
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

Division One Central & South

date kickoff home away
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

Division One North

date kickoff home away
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

Division Two Central

date kickoff home away
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

Division Two East

date kickoff home away
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

Division Two North

date kickoff home away
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

Division Two West

date kickoff home away
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

Sherratt Looks To The Future

19 02 2012

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.

Loughborough Aces Head Coach Sherratt

“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

Lions Versus Aces Match Report

19 02 2012
It’s an old cliché but this clash could be described as ‘a game of two halves’.

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.

Captain's handshake

First Quarter

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.

Second Quarter

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.

Loughborough looking for some rhythm

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.

Third Quarter

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.

Quarterback Nick Jacquet waiting to snap the ball

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.

Fourth Quarter

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.

End of the game


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.

Final Score
Birmingham Lions 21 VS 13 Loughborough Aces

*FightForTheYard would like to thank Sope Dirisu for the interview and Michael Gill for standing in the cold with him.*

Sope Dirisu Interview

18 02 2012

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.

Birmingham Lions Quarterback Sope Dirisu

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”.

Dirisu focused during practise

“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.