Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Irish Football Round-up

The Shamrock Bowl Conference roller coaster continues. The Cork Admirals pulled out of their second straight game prior to the weekend before we got a Sunday filled with superb football action. Then the steep downward spiral as the Admirals announced that they would no longer be able to fulfil their schedule and are dissolving as a club. 
Unfortunately the Cork Admirals will be no more - photo by Ariane Boudias

New Look Rams Offence Takes Shape Despite Tough Loss

The Yorkshire Rams started their 2013 BAFANL Premiership North season yesterday with a disappointing 28-6 loss against their fierce local rivals the Doncaster Mustangs.

The Rams failed to score after several long drives from deep within their own half and it was Doncaster who drew first blood with a long touchdown run that broke through the Yorkshire defence. After a successful PAT (Point After Touchdown) the score was 7-0 and it remained like that until the start of the 3rd quarter. In the 3rd it was the Mustangs who scored again after a brave goal-line stand from the Yorkshire defence to extend the lead 14-0.

The Yorkshire Rams finally found the end-zone after several long drives down the field. Adim Irozuru #47 powered the ball through the resilient Mustangs defence for the touchdown after some great yards gained from our crop of Running-bac

ks. The Rams went for the 2PAT but were stopped just short of the line leaving the score at 14-6 to the visitors.

A possible Rams comeback was denied in the 4th quarter after the Mustangs capitalised on several turnovers. The final whistle blew with Yorkshire yards away from a consolation TD and with the scores at 28-6 to Doncaster.

In the end the game was won and lost on turnovers with the Rams giving away the ball too many times. The Yorkshire Rams can take a lot of positives from today's match. Valuable yards were gained on the ground and the new look Offensive Line provided great support and blocking for the Running-backs and the new Quarterback, #11 Andrew Cheeseman.

The Yorkshire Rams (0-1) will be looking to bounce back from this defeat when they travel south on Sunday to face a tough Tamworth Phoenix (1-0) team.

Kent Exiles win the "Battle of the Bridge"

By Martin Jefkins

The Kent Exiles kicked off their 2013 campaign with a scrappy 20-12 victory over old foes the Essex Spartans, and in doing so won the inaugural 'Battle for the Bridge' trophy.

The Exiles started fast, when on their second possession Alex Clifford caught 30 yard pass from Zac Ritchie down to the Spartans 20 yard line, and then a great 'toe tap' catch in the endzone saw Clifford score the first touchdown and give the Exiles a 6-0 lead.

Then after the Exiles defense forced a quick end to the Spartans next series, the Exiles scored once again. Ryan Critcher sprinted for a first down, before Ritchie found Colin Chislett on the sideline for a 44 yard touchdown. Ben Abbott kicked the point after, and the Exiles led early 13-0.

The next two quarters were a defensive affair, with the Exiles dominating. Interceptions from Ryan Wilson and Rob Welling, and sacks from Welling, Jon Dwyer, Lewis Whitcombe and Jack Lewis all ending Spartans drives.

At the start of the final period the Exiles pounded the ball with running back Abbott finding holes behind good play from the offensive line, after three successive first downs, Abbott took the ball in from 14 yards out, and then converted his own touchdown to give the Exiles a 20-0 lead.

Abbot on the run c/o/ Kieron Hyams

Monday, 29 April 2013

Tebowing, Tebowing, Gone - Jets cut Tim Tebow

At 12:53 UK time, the inevitable happened - New York Jets cut Tim Tebow.

After arriving in the Big Apple last summer in a flurry of media activity and late-round draft picks, the Tebow bandwagon was finally - perhaps irreparably - derailed in an early morning meeting between the Florida native, his head coach Rex Ryan and new general manager John Idzik.

In reality, the writing had been on the wall for Tebow long before today’s decision. Tebow had permission to seek a trade in the early part of the off-season, but his unwillingness to switch positions scuppered the slim chance the Jets had of recouping some kind of compensation in the form of a draft pick.

With Geno Smith drafted by the Green Gang this weekend, Tebow should probably have had his bags pretty much packed and his plane tickets booked ready for a quick getaway back to the family home in Florida.

What next for Tebow? For all the criticism of his skills as a quarterback, the man trains ridiculously hard - see the ESPN documentary “Everything In Between” for a look at his preparations prior to being drafted back in 2010 - and that gives him at least an outside shot of staying at the top of the game.

But the heady days of “Tebow Time” and the memories of play-off wins seem a long, long time ago. Arguably the greatest college quarterback of all time, Timothy Richard Tebow may have a long time to reflect on his next move.

West Coast Trojans vs Birmingham Bulls

Less than a week until launch of free weekly flag football scheme

From next Saturday,4 May, 18-25 year olds in Bristol will have their chance to try a new sport with the launch of the Bristol Barracuda American football club’s ‘Get into American Football’ scheme.

The 90 minute sessions will take place at the Bristol University Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health on Tyndall Avenue, and will see the Cuda offering eight free weekly taster sessions for young men and women to learn and play the non-contact flag version of the sport. The sessions will culminate in participants competing in a tournament to crown the first Bristol Cuda Flag champions.

The club have partnered with Wesport, Sportivate and UBU Active to open its doors to those aged 18-25 to come and try the fast paced and non-contact version of American football for free.  Both men and women can play, and no experience or special equipment is required to take part. Coaches will be on hand to guide new players through learning the basic skills, allowing them to start playing games almost straight away.

The scheme is an expansion of the Barracuda community outreach programme which has seen players and coaches from the club teaching the game to school children throughout Bristol. The Bristol Barracuda have been involved with the local community since 2009, with players regularly heading to schools to teach flag football and raise awareness of the sport.  The club recently took part in their fifth annual Bristol Festival of School Sports in collaboration with RELAYS and the University of Bristol, which sees 1,300 children from 20 different secondary schools trying out new sports over three days each spring.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Irish Football Weekend Preview

Good news and bad news in the Irish leagues this week. Heads have been put together at the Irish American Football Association to reschedule the majority of the games that were called off due to adverse weather conditions earlier in the season, and they’ve done so without the need of extending the season.

Photo by Ash O'Flanagan - (ashoflanagan.tumblr.com)

Friday, 26 April 2013

How were the 2013 NFL Draft first-round picks ranked as recruits?

The NFL Draft was more like an SEC infomercial last night, with 12 players going in the first round. Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel was the highest SEC player taken at No. 2 overall to the Jaguars, and Florida’s Matt Elam rounded out opening night to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 32.
It’s always interesting to compare the NFL first-round picks to how they were rated as high school prospects. For this chart comparison, player rankings were based on Rivals.com rankings.
1ChiefsEric FisherOTC. Michigan***MAC
2JaguarsLuke JoeckelOTTexas A&M****SEC
3DolphinsDion JordanLBOregon****Pac-12
4EaglesLane JohnsonOTOklahomaNRBig 12
5LionsZiggy AnsahDEBYUNRIndep.
6BrownsBarkevious MingoDELSU****SEC
7CardinalsJonathan CooperOGUNC***ACC
8RamsTavon AustinWRWVU****Big 12
9JetsDee MillinerCBAlabama*****SEC
10TitansChance WarmackOGAlabama***SEC
11ChargersDJ FlukerOTAlabama*****SEC
12RaidersDJ HaydenCBHouston***C-USA
13JetsSheldon RichardsonDTMissouri*****SEC
14PanthersStar LotuleleiDTUtah***Pac-12
15SaintsKenny VaccaroSTexas****Big 12
16BillsEJ ManuelQBFlorida State****ACC
17SteelersJarvis JonesLBGeorgia****SEC
1849ersEric ReidSLSU****SEC
19GiantsJustin PughOTSyracuse**Big East
20BearsKyle LongOGOregon***Pac-12
21BengalsTyler EifertTENotre Dame***Indep.
22FalconsDesmond TrufantCBWashington***Pac-12
23VikingsSharrif FloydDTFlorida*****SEC
24ColtsBjoern WernerDEFSU***ACC
25VikingsXavier RhodesCBFSU***ACC
26PackersDatone JonesDEUCLA****Pac-12
27TexansDeAndre HopkinsWRClemson****ACC
28BroncosSylvester WilliamsDTUNC***ACC
29VikingsCordarrelle PattersonWRTennessee****SEC
30RamsAlec OgletreeLBGeorgia****SEC
31CowboysTravis FrederickCWisconsin***Big Ten
32RavensMatt ElamSFlorida*****SEC
Here are the picks broken down by star ranking:
  • Five-Stars: 5 (15.6%)
  • Four-Stars: 12 (37.5%)
  • Three-stars: 12 (37.5%)
  • Two-star: 1 (3.1%)
  • Not Ranked: 2 (6.3%)
The two non-ranked players were Lane Johnson and Ziggy Ansah. Johnson was a high school quarterback turned tight end in college. He blew into a full-fledged tackle when his time at Oklahoma was complete. Ansah didn’t start playing football until 2010, because the basketball team cut him twice. That’s the only reason he started playing football.
SEC: 12 (37.5%)Here are the picks broken down by conference:
  • ACC: 6 (18.8%)
  • Pac-12: 5 (15.6%)
  • Big 12: 3 (9.4%)
  • Independent: 2 (6.3%)
  • Big Ten: 1 (3.1%)
  • Big East: 1 (3.1%)
  • C-USA: 1 (3.1%)
  • MAC: 1 (3.1%)

James Goddard’s Protein Project – Not Long till Judgment Day

The Maximuscle Protein Project has been an incredible experience and I can’t believe we’re less than two weeks away from the end. The winner is decided on Wednesday 8th May and I’m giving everything I have in this, the final push.

Training wise I have continued the intense conditioning along with a decreased carbohydrate and calorie nutrition plan which, altogether, is helping me strip fat. Whilst it’s tough coming to the end of such a great project it’s amazing seeing the results. With a lot of training plans your first six to seven weeks may not offer much in terms of change, I was told this when I first started, and it can be hard not to lose motivation but keep on powering through and the results start to become really obvious. I’m very happy with where I’m at now and looking forward to the final photo shoot.

This week’s training tip is to be done in a pair. The exercise again has a leg focus that will develop your quads and help transition into more speed and explosion on the field. 

Premiership Predictions

Premiership North
West Coast Trojans vs. Birmingham Bulls
The Birmingham Bulls get a long road journey to begin the season and will travel to new Premier League team the West Coast Trojans. West Coast lost the Division one final last year in a rained affected game, however teams must be wary of the powerful offence.

The Bulls will be coming into this game with a new coaching staff and an almost completely rookie offensive line, not the best game to be taking on then! This is a tough one to call, but I think the Bulls inevitable growing pains will be too much to overcome and the Trojans will win the game.
Trojans by 3 scores

Nottingham Caesars vs. Coventry Jets
Blink and you'll miss it, the Nottingham Caesars are 0-2 already after being on the wrong end of a series whitewash versus Doncaster. Although they were able to hold the Doncaster offence for a solid half of football, the other three halves of their two games were abysmal and they'll need to pick it up to contend.

Coventry will be without last years starting quarterback Joe Brammer, who is now plying his trade in Europe, but there are rumours of several key pickups at offensive line nad wide receiver that may benefit the team. A rematch between two of last years division one teams and we see this game finishing much the same in a close encounter.
Caesars welcome back their NTU players and win by a score

NFL Draft prank

National League Predictions

National Central

Lincolnshire Bombers vs. Chester Romans
The Lincolnshire Bombers started well, pushing Shropshire all the way until the fourth quarter, in their first game but then got destroyed last week by Manchester after their quarterback went down injured.
They’ll be looking to bounce back against Chester for sure, but the Romans will be looking to get off to a good start. Chester went to the playoffs last year and they’ll be hoping for the same this year but the division has gotten much tougher!

The Romans have developed well over the Summer, with some impressive rookies coming through and many second-year players having impressed in pre-season. The Bombers will push them but Chester will probably be too much in this one.

Prediction: Chester Romans to win by 2 scores

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Birmingham vs Hertfordshire Highlights

Highlights from a breathtaking BUCS University Final

DC Writers Mock Draft: Picks 26-32

The DC Writers mock reaches it's final stage in the build up to the NFL draft, Live at 12am Thursday on Sky Sports 1.

26th – Green Bay Packers – Matt Elam, S, Florida.
Pick by Tommy Gibbs

With the departure of Charles Woodson the Pack need a similar vein of player to mould into their versatile defensive chess piece, someone who can cover well, but also blitz and make plays in the backfield. 

Elam could well be that man, a physical and energetic playmaker who has experience playing close to the line of scrimmage a' la Woodson. Whilst perhaps not as complete as Cyprien, I think he better fits the Packers' mentality on defence.

Premiership South Power Rankings

Note - With only two teams playing in the Prem North, we won't be releasing a power ranking until next week.

1. London Blitz
While the Blitz are yet to play a home game, they have kicked off their EFAF cup campaign and in horrendous field conditions (rain and mud), they narrowly defeated the Copenhagen Towers who they will face off against again this Saturday. 

There were some notable players missing from the Blitz line up, obviously the two Bradley brothers absence was noted on both sides of the ball (although the addition of Marcus Thouant, a French national team linebacker did help ease the blow somewhat), as well as the absence of Gareth Dauley, Pete Sochart and Clive Palumbo on the offensive side of the ball, and Aaron-Sanders Percival and Martin Ray on the defensive side of the ball.

The Blitz won’t get underway until the 5th of May against the Aztecs, but that game should be a yardstick for the final rematch in August.

National League Power Rankings

1. Farnham Knights
Farnham haven’t played a game yet this year but they stay atop the rankings on potential. We have to see them in action before we can move them down.

Cecil Martin visits the Manchester Titans

On Tuesday 9th April for NFL Full-Back and Sky Sports presenter Cecil Martin visited the Manchester Titans to run a training session and Q&A for Under 18s in the local area who are interested in American Football.  The event held in association with club sponsors Manchester Printers was at the Titans home ground of Salford City Stadium.

The former Phillidelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers player provided a high energy, hands on training session that all those taking part thoroughly enjoyed.

Manchester Titans visit Manchester City

On Wednesday 17th April the Manchester Titans held an American Football demonstration before and during the Manchester City home game versus Wigan Athletic.

Invited down by City to provide pre-game entertainment at City Square, the fan-zone at the Etihad Stadium, the Titans gave demonstrations, skills workshops, photo opportunities and ran a half-time competition on the pitch, all the time promoting the club and American Football to a large audience.

Joined by players from the MMU Eagles and club sponsors Manchester Printers, the Titans gave fans the opportunity to try on shoulder pads and a helmet and have a photograph taken with Titans and Eagles players.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Birmingham Lions vs Hertfordshire Hurricanes VIDEO

Full game video

Interview with winning head coach Wayne Hill

Interview with GITV and DC MVP Johnny Glover

Interview with Official MVP and League MVP Dan Conroy

See in slow motion

Epic video from the finals c/o Gridiron Video Production

Elite Squad Announced

By Marcus Gambrill
The Elite Womens Programme for flag American football have announced their squad for the upcoming Big Bowl VII in Frankfurt. This is the first trip abroad for any female-only squad.
The eleven-strong squad will be captained once again by Louise Lee whilst Tendai Chieza and Chloe Baton take the assistant captain roles.
Captain Louise Lee

Surge halted as Revolution improve to 2-0

By David Butler

Three key first half turnovers forced by the Shropshire Defense and a second consecutive 100 yard rushing game from Leigh French were the key ingredients in a scrappy 26 – 12 away win over bitter rivals Staffordshire Surge.

Aiming for a fifth straight win in a series between the two bordering counties which began in 2009, the visitors making the short trip to Stoke on Trent got off to the perfect start when on the first Surge possession Defensive End Simon Dunkerley striped the ball free, Linebacker Mark Lingwood securing the recovery inside Staffordshire territory.

Running Back Leigh French ensured the away side would take full advantage by strutting in for score from 6 yards out to cap off a short drive. French had another Defensive End Andy Barnett to thank for his second score, Barnett hauled down the Staffordshire Punter just short of the end zone turning the ball over in the process. French walked in for another Touchdown on the next play which opened the second quarter, Adam Harris connected on both conversions to make the score 14-0. The Home side struck back when Quarterback Richard Large hit Moses Ogundeji at Midfield, the elusive Wide Out would out sprint defenders to get the Surge on the score sheet.

Not to be outdone Revolution signal caller Warren Thomas returning to his former club fired a pair of touchdown passes either side of half time to give the visitors a comfortable lead, Thomas found Receivers Sean Austin and Adam Harris with near identical close range passes to complete the scoring for the men in Purple at 26-6. Large found Wide Receiver Sam Podmore from 18 yards out for a consolation score in the fourth quarter to put an end to the day’s scoring.

 Shropshire Head Coach Dave Reid bemoaned his sides lackluster second half display which was littered with penalties and mistakes “When you break it down we spent most of the second half scoreless and that falls short of the standards we set ourselves” Reid had kinder words for his Special Teams Unit “I was really pleased with our special teams play, Rookie Kingsley Brown punted brilliantly all day, we covered and tackled with real tenacity whilst our returners gave us fantastic field position I thought this was a huge difference between the teams today”.

 Revolution now have a week off to prepare for the visit of the Merseyside Nighthawks on the 5th of May Kick off 2.30 pm at Oakengates Leisure Centre.

DC Writers Mock Draft: Picks 21-25

Ther DC Writers mock continues in the build up to the NFL draft, Live at 12am Thursday on Sky Sports 1.

21st – Cincinnati Bengals – Eric Read, FS, LSU.
Picked by Tom Snee

He's visited this week and saw the sights of sin-suh-nat-uh (grim), which is enough for me to make this grand statement - Eric Reid could be the man to take the Bengals to the next level. The LSU prospect has the physical size and strength to instantly upgrade a team that has youth on their side.

A king-pin of one of college football's best defences, Reid is more physical than your average free safety and could be moved to the strong-side without much hassle, which is especially pertinent given the rise of the receiving tight end over the last couple of years.

Reid's biggest asset in my opinion is his ability to read run and come downhill for the tackle. In a strong class of safeties, the 21-year old's ability to get to the line with pace, panache and power is what sets him apart.

Marvin Lewis must be licking his lips...

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