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From what can best be described as a moderate year for the Lancaster Bombers, 3 wins 3 losses going into the game against Sheffield Hallam Warriors illustrated a fairly average season. Sitting just above the mid-table, Lancaster’s only American Football team were in need of points quickly – if their slim playoff hopes were to remain active.
Following the perhaps unpredictable obliteration of the Broncos at the Superbowl, here due to a weakened team and big difference in form, a certain air of inevitability reined heavy upon Bomber’s shoulders.
Sheffield Hallam before the match, stood 2nd in the league, their only loss coming at the hands of the team above them and last year’s conference champions Derby. Hallam defeated the Bombers in Sheffield last year in a resounding 24-0 victory making Lancaster underdogs going into the fixture. Already hampered by a number of injuries and playing against one of the league’s elite performers, the Bombers chances were evaporating quickly before the first play had begun.
Hallam proved to be just as tough as the form guide suggested. A disheartening 70-8 victory proved to be the biggest defeat for some time for Lancaster’s men. However it has to be said, the substantial score line definitely flattered the opposition due to the numerous constraints that damaged Lancaster’s chances from the outset. As mentioned a number of injuries crucially in key areas, following the tough encounter with UClan last week, resulted in a wide range of players having to play out of position for long periods of the game. Lancaster points came from the defence, when Connor Monaghan recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
Whilst offence and defence are usually separated, many players were working double time and were unable to gain breathing space as they were deployed in both intense departments. This left little time for breaks to replenish and evaluate where they could potentially improve.
The depletion of a jaded squad definitely hurt Lancaster, but take nothing away from a strong Sheffield Hallam side that were that bit better than the Bombers in most areas. A well rigged side, which made few mistakes, playing ruthlessly from the get-go became a cocktail of components that saw the touchdown count rise exponentially in their favour. Aided by a worn-out Lancaster team, by the 4th quarter the score became irrelevant as the Bombers sought the final whistle.
Positives to take from the clash would be that Lancaster aren’t going to play teams like that every week. The fact that 20 men were still left battling by the end, in the difficult conditions against a very strong team, can be best seen as testament to the teams never say die attitude, regardless of how much they were down by. But still while a definite learning curve, all match practice on the pitch allows for the squads development right in time for the teams headline end-of-year event – Roses.
What was already a difficult task for the travelling Bombers, they can be proud of their effort, even if the score suggests otherwise!
President Matthew spoke to SCAN after the game to review their season “Our fixtures after Christmas were always going to be tough but we have taken a lot from the games despite the results. Our attention now turns to Roses. It’s always the biggest game of any season and we can’t wait!”
Now three months away and creeping closer by the day, preparation for the showcase fixture at Roses shall now commence, with Lancaster’s red rose looking for nothing less than a victory to end the year on a high.