Staffordshire Surge Season Preview

12 04 2012

The Staffordshire Surge have created an unwanted image of being a ‘pub team’ in recent years, but all that is about to change as an influx of coaches and fresh ideas aim to rejuvenate this stuttering programme.

The Surge will compete in the BAFANL Central Division Two in 2012 and expectation is high, something which has been absent in recent times. The season opener against the newly reformed Crewe Railroaders will be a test to see how far the team has come in the offseason in what is anticipated to be a highly charged local derby.

Stuart Beech, 41, is the defensive co-ordinator for the Surge and in his own words; “I’m the DC and only a back-up because I’m too old and decrepit to play nowadays”.

DC Stuart Beech courtesy of Sophie Robinson Sports Photography.

His playing days may now be behind him but he is still hopeful of a successful campaign for the Surge.

“This year our aim to create a solid foundation to build on for the coming years. Too many years now the Surge has been thought of as a ‘pub team’ and behind the times of how a club should be run. We have now sorted out a stable home ground, a functioning committee, proper kit and installed a whole new offence and defence. If we can show an improvement on last season, (on and off the pitch), we will be very happy”.

The Surge have added offensive co-ordinator Gideon Beddows, quarterback/receiver coach Warren Thomas, running back/ special teams co-ordinator Stephen Hindmarsh and linebacker coach Pete Machin to the set-up in the hope this will improve results on the field but also have an impact off the field.

OC Gideon Beddows - courtesy of Sophie Robinson Sports Photography

“Coach Beddows and Thomas have brought with them a more professional approach to the running of the team and the way we are viewed by others and have installed a new offence. Coach Hindmarsh has been with the Surge for many years but now has increased responsibility while coach Machin is a motivational and technically gifted ex-player who we are glad to have back”.

Vital to any team’s chances of success is competition for places as sometimes a small squad of settled players can result in an unhealthy, stale environment but luckily for the Surge that won’t be the case this season.

“Player recruitment has gone well over the past couple of years, half the team has only been playing for three seasons or less and we’ve managed to pick up some really good players along the way. This year we have got four rookies who have shown some great promise and will have a good chance of starting in the first game against Crewe Railroaders.

We have lost players from last season, but I think most teams will have to cope with this problem. The upturn this year is that we have had only one player leave us this year to join another club and we also expect a number of players from the Staffordshire Stallions to come down and do a job for us this year”.

Courtesy Sophie Robinson Sports Photography

Last season did not go to plan for Staffordshire as they only managed to secure two wins in a season they would probably rather forget.

“Last year started out quite well despite some close losses to the Chester Romans and Lancashire Wolverines before dropping off after the visit of the Sheffield Predators. That game, coupled with the losses tot Chester and Shropshire Revolution were our real low points of the season as we didn’t play well nor show any real fight. Thankfully we did show some spirit in the away game at the Revolution and at home to the Lincolnshire Bombers”.

Returning to the current season’s fortunes, coach Beech has highlighted the Surge’s main players ahead of the new campaign with receiver Lewis Bayley, defensive end Phil Wright and linebacker Mike Cooke receiving plenty of praise.

“Stallions go-to-man Lewis Bayley has good size, speed and hands. He was the offensive player of the year last season and I don’t see no reason why that would change with the new offence we are running this season. Wright is raw talent that ran riot last year in his rookie season and he is showing even more promise this season. Cooke had to miss half the last season but still impressed in the games he did play in, he is a tackling machine and has a cracking technique”.

When asked who he was least looking forward to playing this season, coach Beech held nothing back; “Sheffield because I despise the ‘double-wing’, it’s a horrible offence to play against and watch”.

Staffordshire Surge VS Crewe Railroaders – 22/4/2012

Longton Rugby Club, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8GR

Kick Off 14:30PM

Richard Adiyia Interview

2 03 2012

America is the birthplace of this great sport we play and to grace any sort of pitch over there would be a dream come true. One GB Youth running back has done exactly that, but unfortunately for him, he now resides in Stoke-on-Trent.

Richard Adiyia, 18, currently plays for the Staffordshire Stallions in BUAFL; something nobody would have wished or hoped for after growing up in Philadelphia, USA.

Richard Adiyia

“I first played football when I was 8 years old in a Pee-wee league for a team called Crispin, across the pond in Philadelphia. I only played one season for them, because the year after my mum decided to move us to England”.

Richard and his family eventually settled in Leicestershire meaning football had to take a back seat for a while;

“Despite being in the UK where the recognition for the sport was not great at the time, I still wanted to carry on playing football but being told I was too young to play was hard. I decided to change my sporting path and turned to athletics”.

Thankfully athletics didn’t keep this talent from us for too long as Richard represented the Lincolnshire Bombers during the summer before joining up with the Stallions in September.

Game MVP in pre-season contest vs Crewe Railroaders

Averaging 4.7 yards per carry, Adiyia’s rookie season has personally been a successful one, even if his team has struggled in the harsh climate of the Midland Athletic Conference.

“It definitely hasn’t been the season I wanted it to be with some tough losses and wanting more yards and trips into the end zone, but I have still done well. We have one more game to go and I’m definitely looking for some big runs and the win”.

Adiyia heard about the GB Youth trials after fellow Stallions Moses Ogundeji and Julian Myles attended the senior event in Doncaster.

“With Julian and Moses going along to the senior trials, it influenced me to represent the Stallions at the junior trials. I also felt the need to prove to myself, I can do what I put mind to with some hard work and determination”.

Adiyia dominated the trials but only received confirmation of his selection recently.

“We had combine style tests such as the 40 yard dash and I posted the fastest times in my group for all 3 tests. We were assigned to our positional coaches where we did more drills and paired up with the linebackers for some contact. Finally we finished with a scrimmage, running the plays that were given to us in an earlier meeting.

Richard Adiyia versus Crewe Railroaders

I was checking my emails constantly after the trials, once they sent the email I didn’t even want to open it, I felt that nervous. When I eventually read that I was selected for the program I was elated, it felt like all the hard work and  preparation before the trials had paid off”.

Having been selected, Richard cannot wait to represent the Great Britain Youth team in Italy next season.

“Now that I have been selected I have to go to three training sessions in March, May and August. The session in August is the travelling squad selection practice, where they chose the game day team to travel to Italy to qualify for the 2013 European Junior Championships.

To get on that plane and represent the country would definitely be a once in a lifetime experience”.

FightForTheYard wishes Richard and the entire Great British Youth team the best of luck in the coming months.