Club Column: American Football

Each fortnight, SCAN brings you an exclusive inside peek at one of our fantastic sports clubs. Read about what they get up to, and get the latest on how they are representing Lancaster in competitive sport around the country. This issue, SCAN interviewed President Matthew Heywood to find out all about American Football.

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by Jack Croft

With the incredible events of the SuperBowl still fresh in everyones mind, SCAN decided to catch up with our very own American Football team; the Lancaster Bombers, to ask about the day to day running of the club.

Firstly, Matt was asked what makes the club unique, and he responded by saying that contrary to popular belief, anyone of any age or size can join and start playing American football because of the host of different positions available on the pitch. Matt also states that American Football is the best club to be a part of because not only is it a very different, new and unique sport in the UK, it’s also incredibly fun to play because none of the members take themselves too seriously!

In terms of the club’s structure, there are 7 coaches to help the team improve, 4 of these who are external volunteers simply coaching because of their love and dedication to the game, and the other 3 are current players who are unavailable due to injury, but still want to get involved. This shows how close-knit and passionate all the members are. In fact, the members are so passionate that is around 55 playing members, one of who is female. This shows that American Football really is a sport which anyone can get involved with. And if playing isn’t your thing, Matt states that there is a lot of ‘social members’ who come along to all the socials, mix with the players but do not play the sport. This shows the friendless, closeness and popularity of the club.

In terms of success, Matt states that last year was wasn’t the best as struggled due to the step up in quality following promotion. Matt puts this down the fact that the team were very young and weren’t quite ready for the step up, however he is quick to add that the team stuck together and towards the end of the season the main focus was to begin preparing for this year.

And this early preparation is paying off despite a slow start to the season; the Bombers lost their first two games. The following fixtures have proved this, as the club have gone on to win two away game against Teesside University and the University of West Scotland. Many of their games are in Scotland as they are competing in the BUCS Borders division this season, meaning many long-haul away fixtures. Matt does say that the team see this as a time to bond and grow as a group.

Matt states that a real strength of the Bombers is picking each other up and going again, and this explains the nature of the season. This signifies the togetherness and coherence of the group, as they don’t let bad results affect squad morale. On the pitch, he believes the major strength is defence and stopping teams from running with the ball, whilst the weakness is sometimes maintaining the high levels of fitness.

In terms of upcoming fixtures and competitions, the season is over as only 6 games are played. That means the only thing left to prepare for is of course Roses. Roses this year for the Bombers has an added meaning to it, as they agonisingly lost to York in overtime during a league match earlier this season. Matt states that last year’s Roses was arguably the Bombers best game of the season, as they really pushed York. This year, the belief is that Lancaster will reclaim the bragging rights, as the two clubs have had very similar results lately, and the league match between the pair was extremely close. Matt believes it won’t be a case of who is a better quality, more a case of who wants it more on the day, and Lancaster really want it, so it promises to be a cracker!

When asked about the training, Matt states that when the games are on Sunday, training is on Tuesday and Thursday, and when there isn’t a game on Sunday there will usually be training. This commitment is one of the reason why the club runs as smoothly as it does. The element which are being focused on in training are increasing the fitness levels for the last few moments of games, as well the fundamentals; tackling, block shedding, ball control and understanding the rules and tactics of the game.

SCAN also asked Matt about the individuals from the team, asking whether there have been any promising new freshers this year. Matt says the recruitment this year was fantastic and around 200 people turned up for trials! Many of these have gone on the become regular starters for the team, including the quarter back Ban Acaroid and the running back Conor Lamb-Fulham. This is particular impressive, considering these are two of the most important positions and are the ones earning the big bucks over in the States! Recruitment is always a major part of long term success, and Matt is impressed with the high level of quality many if the freshers have shown, and also mentions Fisayomi Falana and Stephen Tebb as new first team regular.

Matt was also asked who in particular has gone above and beyond to ensure success for the Bombers. Matt takes this an opportunity to thanks all of the exec, in particular the Vice President Tonye Duboko. Matt states that Tonye and the exec have all helped him to turn the club around in the right direction following last season’s disappointment, and together they have helped to restore optimism within the camp!

To finish the interview, Matt adds that the club are in an extremely strong position with a great foreseeable future, however they are always on the lookout for more players and coaches! If you’re interested in any capacity, find them on social media or email lancasterbombers@gmail.com for more information.

If you would like to see your club featured here, email scan.sports@lusu.co.uk or contact either Bethany Crow or George Hamlyn on Facebook.