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Although the score line shows a rather comfortable win for Liverpool Fury, the Lancaster Bombers can take great heart from a passionate performance. Despite the energy and enthusiasm, the first game of the season was sadly not going to follow script. From the outset, the Bombers lack of discipline highlighted the team’s woes, as the Bombers conceded 6 penalties in the game allowing Liverpool easy yards. Strong runs from Liverpool’s wide receivers and pinpoint passes from the oppositions quarterback all proved too much for the home team – who were always chasing the game from the beginning. Bombers quarterback Ryan Jardine, recognised the teams weakness simply telling SCAN “penalties killed the offence.”
The mere 12 training sessions in the build up to their opener, wasn’t the best preparation time needed for the team to be able to gel succinctly. However to credit the team, the display was a commendable performance, although disappointment will inevitably be felt hard. Despite victory becoming unattainable, you can’t argue with the teams ‘never say die’ attitude, fighting hard to the bitter end, giving the crowd something to cheer about. The constant roars bellowing from the Bombers filled the spectators with great pride and showed promise for the season ahead – this defeat wasn’t the end.
Although Liverpool scored fairly freely through the duration of the game, the Bombers D-line was simply fantastic in limiting Liverpool’s running game. The affectionately known ‘Oppy’ in particular, had a strong debut with 3 solo and 4 assisted tackles, cementing his stand out performance with the games only sack – arousing roars from the on looking offensive line watching from the side-lines.
Team cohesion still remains a problem, but this will develop with time, and if the Bombers continue to produce similar levels of raw intensity then I truly believe this season could be a very strong one, with President Matthew Berrington outlining to SCAN “the “playoffs still remain a distinct possibility if we step up and perform at the level we know we can.” Granted they have every chance, but there needs to be more work done on the training field to turn the squads undoubted potential and talent into results.
Looking towards the offence, although quarterback Jardine’s pass completion didn’t quite hit the dizzying heights he’s used to – throwing a pick 6 on one occasion – his running game proved more effective, gaining on average 3.5 yards per carry. One exceptional scramble where he evaded a potential 3 man sack, somehow managing to dart his way through, to gain around 5 yards, lived long in the memory.
Captained by second year Ben Grainger, the O-line was reasonably solid. Just a few errors resulted in slowing down the teams drive. Centre Mark Stevens told SCAN, “the team has clear potential but there was a lack of execution across the entire team, this will only improve with time”.
One of the Bombers more effective men on the field was Dimeji ‘Reggie’ Ademiju. He ran the Liverpool defensive line ragged all game, ending up with a mightily impressive 88 yards in 16 rushes, averaging out at 5.5 yards a run. His hard work deserved at least a couple of touchdowns as he proved to be one of Lancaster’s greatest threats. The lone Lancaster Bomber who did touchdown was scored by Chris ‘Legs’ Franklin on what was a bitter-sweet debut for the young rookie.
While Lancaster will rue this performance, it will act as a great learning curve for the team. This loss will be the best medicine to take in order to understand the harsh realities of what this North West conference will be all about this year. Although the Bombers would have loved to have been on the right side of the score line, this division is no walk in the park, and this loss will help them grow and build as a team. The defeat to Liverpool will hopefully be the catalyst to spur the Bombers into future success, in doing so they will have to become a far more disciplined team and look to eradicate sloppy play from their game.
American Football is that kind of sport that sends shivers down the spine for supporters. It really does, no matter if you understand what’s going on, the raw stripped back emotion of men throwing themselves at each other, putting their bodies on the line, for the pride of their university is in itself a truly great spectacle. With the teams next home game against Staffordshire Stallions (24th Nov), Lancaster will need to settle quickly and start the game at a high pace. So why not head down to the Astroturf pitches, to see for yourself, Lancaster’s only American Football team as their pursuit of the playoffs continues.