College Football A League Preview

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County – Last season: 1st

County were the stand-out team in the league last season, recording their first league title for a decade and an unbeaten season to boot, winning six and drawing one. Following on from their second place finish two seasons ago, County will once again be favourites to win the trophy, despite the loss of some key players in last season’s success. New A team skipper Al Rutter was upbeat about his side’s chances of retaining their crown: “The graduation of some of our most important players of last season left the spine of our team somewhat bare. However, after assessing the freshers and seeing the new-look squad, I am more hopeful of silverware than ever.”

Bowland – Last season: 2nd

Bowland could arguably be labelled as the surprise package of the league last season. Spirited performances throughout the year saw them finish an impressive 2nd, ahead of previous champions Pendle on goal difference. Although they finished five points adrift of County, Bowland were one of the few teams to ever trouble the champions and even knocked them out of the IC Cup. Captain Jos Kirby had an optimistic view of his team’s prospects: “We obviously had a great season last year after finishing second in the league, but it’s been a rebuilding process this year. We lost some of our best players of last season to Uni, but with the good influx of new freshers that we’ve had, I’m confident of another successful campaign.”

Fylde – Last Season: 4th

The sports college were on course for back-to-back years of disappointment, two languid fourth place finishes in a row combined with some abject performances meant that Fylde appeared to be no longer a college footballing presence. However, the end of last season saw their spark return, as under the leadership of Billy Crowe, Fylde had once again claimed major silverware in the form of the IC cup. The momentum of last season’s turnaround will undoubtedly inspire this year’s team who, boosted by a host of promising new players, will aim to get out of their current league rut. Fylde may finally be involved in a title race once again.

Pendle – Last season 3rd

Pendle will be disappointed with last season’s efforts, despite finishing respectably in third. The team had kept the crux of their title winning side and so were aiming to push on for another challenge. An early season slump, however, put a premature end to their hopes, and so the team in green were left rueing their handful of draws. This year’s team will be aiming to put last year’s struggles to bed and push on for another title charge, as centre-back Tom Mawdsley told SCAN: “We’ve added some quality freshers to what was already a strong squad, so we’re hoping to push on all the way for the league this year.”

Lonsdale – Last season 6th

IC Cup finalists, Founders winners and a title challenge were all things that could have been said for Lonnie two seasons ago. Last year, however, things weren’t so great. “Lonnie” slumped down into sixth place, whilst rivals Bowland hit the dizzying heights of second, suggesting that the team never quite replaced the quality  of Alex Lanigan and Grant Goodband. A new season brings new hope, however, and Lonsdale will certainly be hoping that rings true for them. A good influx of new players combined with new leadership could see this be a season of rebuilding for this always competitive college.

Grizedale – Last season 5th

Grizedale made a strong start to league proceedings last season, at one point even being top of the league after winning their first two games, thrashing Furness 6-3 and Cartmel 4-0. Things declined later on through the season, however, and the team managed to record only one more win during the rest of the league campaign. Despite the late season flop, however, the mood in the Grizedale camp was a positive one, with most seeing the season being better than the previous one in which the team finished 6th and won only once. If the team can continue to build on the promise of their early season form from last year, it could be yet another one of improvement for Grizedale.

Cartmel – Last season 8th

The curious case of Cartmel is one that has long been on the lips of the older students involved in college football. Three seasons ago they were champions, crushing each and every college who came before them. The year after they finished bottom, and winless. After their incredible drop in form from losing all of their key players, the south-west college side fared only slightly better last season, picking up a solitary win and just three points from eight games. Jonathan Eldridge is the man tasked with steadying the ship, and the Cartmel captain remained positive about this year’s prospects:“Our performances in the preceding two seasons have been disappointing, but we’ve got an exciting set of players this year and are hoping to be much improved. If I was a betting man I’d have Cartmel as the dark horse.”

Furness – Last Season 7th

As the smallest college on campus, it will always be difficult for Furness to compete with the likes of County and Fylde due to their much bigger student populations. The last two seasons have seen Furness finish on seven points and six points respectively, with a few surprise wins being thrown in amongst the defeats. Furness, although small, do have the advantage of having a more streamlined squad and so squad rotation is often never an issue. Last season, Furness proved to be a team who aimed to pass the ball and try to play a good style of football. Providing the new additions to the squad are of good quality, Furness have the potential to kick on this season.

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Erik Apter

SCAN Assistant Editor 2014-15

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