... a bit Suffolk
|we 10 May|
The Bury Saints played London Blitz Sunday as the Saints' first home game in the Premiership . They were on a different pitch with a decent sized scoreboard, tiered seating, an announcer/commentator, programmes and the black van of True Wings who had a permanent queue until they sold out though a mercy dash soon restocked them. The Saints scored first with a converted touch down but eventually lost 36-07. For us the difference was the running game with the Saints RBs often being stopped at the line of scrimmage whilst the opposing backs found holes. The Saints are at home again this coming Sunday, a bit of a drive from near the coast but an excellent free day out.
|mo 24 Apr|
Sunday near Norwich the Iceni Spears were training for the autumn's Opal flag football series. Flag football is no (hopefully) contact American football where you're tackled if an opponent can grab a flag from your waist. The flags can be just football socks tucked into your waistband or like the Spears yellow streamers held in place by plastic poppers. The Spears have an everybody welcome flag rookie day next month.
|sa 15 Apr|
The toilet cubicle we patronised at the Deanes Sports Centre near Rayleigh had a door that passed so close to the toilet bowl that careful planning was needed to get in and out. There was something distasteful looking smeared on a wall and the hand drier didn't work but at reception there was a cheerful young woman and a proper coffee machine plus the Ipswich Cardinals v hosts East Essex Sabres was a cracker.
Regrettably the Sabres' starting quarterback was injured in Q1 and didn't return. After a Cards disallowed touch down (holding ... it's always holding) and two missed field goals and the Sabres getting to yard and goal without result it looked like a nil-nil draw. After the two minute warning an impressive Sabres run took them into the Cards' half, the officials scurried to get another play off and the forward pass was Cards intercepted and run in for the td (a proper journalist would have got the player's name). Very pleased for the Cardinals but sympathy to the Sabres who lost their first game back in the league last week in the final twenty seconds.
|th 23 Mar|
|mo 6 Mar|
Yesterday near Norwich we watched Iceni Spears women's American football walk through some plays in the changing room and then go outside to practice in icy rain ... that's commitment. The season long Sapphire series for women is five or seven a side. We couldn't imagine how a sport that normally has eleven (twelve in Canada) on the pitch players per team could work with five but watching the Spears routine a play we saw that with just five everybody really has to know what they should be doing. Looking forward to seeing these impressive ladies compete this coming weekend in Peterborough.
|th 9 Feb|
The UEA Pirates lost 6-9 to the Cambridge Pythons in Norwich Sunday as their last home game in the BUCS South East. A not entirely satisfactory game but the Pirates single touchdown was a high bomb to a wide receiver dramatically at a flying full stretch ... and we didn't snap it ...
|we 14 Dec|
Over the past couple of weekends we've seen in Norwich our first university American football. Weekend before last the UEA Pirates hosted the Kent Falcons and we were surprised how much the pass featured, were impressed by the commitment of the Falcons' two woman cheer team and noted wayward long snapping. Sunday we again noted wayward long snapping in the close UEA Pirates 07-12 Imperial Immortals match and learnt two new penalties we didn't know existed. We'll be back in February for the Pirates next home game.
|tu 8 Nov|
An absolutely cutting east wind across the Northgate playing field Sunday but a very encouraging 53 seniors and juniors for the Ipswich Cardinals new players session. These American football prospects try out both offensive and defensive drills with just a little padded contact. The Cards are doing it again next Sunday.
|mo 10 Oct|
Despite hints of rain and a wind that made our camera holding hands a touch painful some 30 at the Bury Saints new player session yesterday in Stowmarket. No contact until January and the players divide themselves in to defence and offence. A second Bury new player session next weekend in the Bury leisure centre (been there for roller derby) and nearer to the ntc homeland Ipswich Cardinals have two newbie sessions next month.
|mo 29 Aug|
Yesterday at the South Leeds Stadium home of rugby league team the Hunslet Hawks the Bury Saints beat Edinburgh Wolves 21-13 to become Division One champions. Annoyances were no scoreboard, the ref not wired to the pa and only vending machines for catering but though somewhat dwarfed by the stadium both sets of supporters were totally committed as was the play. A magnificent and sporting game that we can only hope will be the Premiership final next year.
|su 14 Aug|
Last month we saw the Saints beat the Colchester Gladiators to win home field advantage. On the adjacent pitch there was a motor bike show and such a scorcher that the visiting bench briefly run out of water.
Three weeks later we saw Bury beat the Yorkshire Rams 35-00 in the quarter-finals on another roasting day but this time a black van was serving chicken wings and fries.
Today we saw the Bury Saints beat the Sandwell Stealers 42-13 achieving promotion to the Premiership and progression to the Division One final in Leeds on the 28th.
|fr 15 Jul|
One of the Ipswich Cardinals' supporters can advise the refs what they're doing wrong in a voice loud enough the whole ground can hear. Sunday just before kick off we heard TESTING! TESTING! 123. There were only some 20 Cards and in the second half they lost to injury the player punting amongst other jobs ... but they stuck at it, you have to admire them.
|th 30 Jun|
The announcer got a penalty at Ipswich Cardinals v Essex Spartans American football Sunday.
|mo 20 Jun|
Yesterday not surprisingly Ipswich Cardinals outnumbered some three to one lost 41-12 to visitors Wembley Stallions. Usual entertaining combination of excellent plays contrasted with fumbled snaps and dropped punt returns. Unintended humour when at a play end pile up a giant lineman cried I can't move! Ref called for a medic before it became apparent he couldn't move because of the bodies on top of him ...
|tu 7 Jun|
Six hours of British American football at Colchester Rugby Club Sunday. A very rewarding tuck stall, a scoreboard (we do find it hard keeping up with the score especially when it's not clear whether a point after at the other end was good or not) and half time entertainment from twirlers carrying as many injuries as a roller derby league. Hosts Colchester Gladiator's defence started strongly but the very short handed team faded to a 40-00 whitewash from the Bury Saints. In the second game Kent Exiles came from behind for a 28-14 win over Herts Cheetahs. Enjoyed it all and thankfully no overtime.
|tu 3 May|
The weekend before last we saw Bury Saints beat Solent Thrashers 19-6 at home. A scrappy match that in the spirit of Shakespeare's anniversary might be described as a Comedy of Errors. For us the most surprising moment was when the visiting defensive coach was warned for unsportsmanlike conduct because one of his hand signals to his own players could be interpreted as threatening (NFL Rules Section 3 Article 1b). This Sunday the Saints play the Herts Cheetahs, free admission.
|su 10 Apr|
Despite a pleasant morning here in near the coast we suspect that this year's Paris-Roubaix could be a muddy one. Either way we won't be chasing it around the Internet because we'll be near Thetford snapping the Bury Saints v Sussex Thunder rematch that was such an outstanding semi-final last year ... it's free admission.
|mo 9 Nov|
As most of the grass near the coast was sodden Saturday we expected Thetford rugby club to be the same but either the pitch is remarkably well drained or it's been drier in that there Norfolk. Despite a 31-0 shut out on international visitors the Rotterdam Trojans the Trojans sportingly played a final post game rush where hosts the Bury Saints brought on a tiny running back who took it in for a TD.
|we 9 Sep|
We knew the NFL had changed the rules about overtime but were very confused when they were needed Sunday near Thetford. It took nearly an hour but as a playoff there couldn't be a draw. In the end the Sussex Thunder couldn't get in for two points to match the Bury Saints who progressed to the final and will meet Bristol Apache near Leicester this Saturday.
|mo 10 Aug|
|th 2 Jul|
After decades of watching American football on tv saw our first live match Sunday. Not surprisingly being outnumbered at least two to one the Ipswich Cardinals lost to the Wembley Stallions 19-44 but an honourable loss. We were surprised how difficult it is to follow the ball at ground level and in this soccer obsessed country how hit and miss the kicking was. We're looking forward to last match of the season against Bury (St Edmunds) Saints who reputedly are mostly US military.
|mo 6 Oct|
Cecil Martin played for four years as a Philadelphia Eagle in the NFL. Though there may be an element of professional bonhomie in his manner it was a great pleasure meeting him yesterday in Ipswich leaving us a bit stunned we've actually met a one time pro American football player ... even if we're still a bit confused about full/tail backs:) Cecil will be back publicly coaching at the Ipswich Cardinals at the end of next month, if you have any interest in the sport grab the chance.