Pre-Season Training is underway

24 Jan

The Ouse Valley Eagles teams are back on the field for pre-season practice.

The senior team is training under new Head Coach Liam Cooke and his staff at Bedford International Athletics Stadium.

Team Practice is every Sunday morning from 09:30 – 13:00.

Positional coaches are working with their squads which includes getting returning veterans back into game speed and teaching our new batch of rookies the ropes.  The first three sessions this year have been well attended and The Eagles look forward to a competitive season in a new division SFC1E.

New players are welcome to come along and join in.  Our objective is that everyone who wants to try out or play American Football has the opportunity to do so.  It’s fine if you are experienced but if not we can provide playing equipment and all the coaching and encouragement you need to be successful.  Just drop by or, better still, get in touch through the ‘Contact Us’ section of this site.

Go Eagles!!

Eagles appoint Liam Cooke as Head Coach

19 Nov

The Ouse Valley Eagles are delighted to announce the appointment of Liam Cooke as senior team Head Coach becoming the fourth Head Coach in team history.

Liam will assume his duties when the team starts pre-season training in December.  He will work with the club’s existing coaching staff to install his playbook in advance of the 2019 season which sees the Eagles face some new opponents having been realigned to National League Division 1 Southern Football Conference – East.

H.C. Cooke takes over from club stalwart Neale McMaster who has accepted the position of Offensive Coordinator of the GB Lions U19 squad.   A Q&A with H.C. Cooke will follow shortly.

Try-Out Sessions every Sunday in November

11 Oct

Although we are in the off-season there’s no excuse for slacking!

We’re hosting taster sessions for all of you wishing to have a try at the game on every Sunday in November.   Doesn’t matter if you are youth (13-17), junior (16-19) or adult senior or flag (18+) please come along to any or all of them and run through drills and practices with our coaches.  It’s all free of charge and suitable for anyone interested in the game.  Look at the events or ‘Contact Us’ for more details.

NEWS | 2018 End of Season Awards Night

07 Sep

The Ouse Valley Eagles 2018 Player of the Year Awards take place tonight at the Slug and Lettuce, Milton Keynes.

A total of seventeen awards will be handed out to members of the Eagles senior team, Bedford Blackhawks (Flag) and Bedford Blackhawks Youth teams. We’ll announce the results over the weekend, but in the meantime here’s a reminder of the previous winners:

Bedford Blackhawks Youth

2017 Winners

MVP – Fin Jones
Coaches Player – Oliver Chester Lewis
Players Player – Sam Butterwick
Offensive MVP – Harrison Reed
Defensive MVP – Connor Perrett
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Alex Gedny
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Rom Dougla
Most Improved Player – Oliver Crampton
Dhesi Award – Harrison Smith

Bedford Blackhawks Flag

2017 Winners

MVP – Matthew Couldridge
Offensive MVP – Jake Cooper
Defensive MVP – Jed Parisi
Exceptional Contribution – Zech Smith

Ouse Valley Eagles Senior

2017 Winners

MVP – Kase Chibwe
Players Player – Kase Chibwe
Coaches Award – Stuart Cooper
Offensive MVP – Stuart Holland
Defensive MVP – Mike Turner
Special Teams MVP – Stuart Holland
Lineman of the Year – Stuart Holland
Rookie of the Year – Bobby Benney
Most Improved Player – Ryan Bowtell

2016 Winners

Players Player of the Year – Ross Hubbard and Danny Cousins
Most Valuable Player – Ross Hubbard
Defensive MVP – Gareth Pullen
Offensive MVP – Ross Hubbard
Lineman of the Year – John Rudgard
Rookie of the Year – Nathan Spencer
Most Improved Player – Rhian Shirley

2015 Winners

Players Player of the Year – Justin LaRoda
Most Valuable Player – Justin LaRoda
Defensive MVP – Gareth Pullen
Offensive MVP – Justin LaRoda
Lineman of the Year – John Rudgard
Rookie of the Year – Danny Cousins
Most Improved Player – Martin Day

2014 Winners

Players Player of the Year – Gareth Pullen and Darren Gregory.
Most Valuable Player – Chris Parr
Defensive MVP – Darren Gregory
Offensive MVP – Dale Hawes
Lineman of the Year – Andy Larwill
Rookie of the Year – John Rudgard
Most Improved Player – Vasco Dias

SENIOR | Head Coach Vacancy

08 Aug

Following last month’s announcement that Senior team Head Coach Neale McMaster will be stepping down at the end of the season, the club would like to invite applications for the position of senior team Head Coach from the 2019 season. It is hoped to select and appoint the successful candidate during the autumn of 2018 to allow for a full pre-season preparation.

About Us

The Eagles were formed in 2013 following a merger between the Milton Keynes Pathfinders and Bedfordshire Blue Raiders, initially as a Senior contact team based in Bedford offering football to those in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

The club also consists of the Bedford Blackhawks and Milton Keynes Redwings youth teams and Bedford Blackhawks senior flag team and aspire to develop the game throughout the region.

The senior team was promoted from Division 2 to Division 1 following the 2014 season and currently play in SFC1 Central.

The Role

The Head Coach of the OVE Senior Team is responsible all senior team football preparation, development and outcomes. This will include, but is not be limited to:

  • The development and implementation of the pre-season programme
  • The appointment of co-ordinators and positional coaches including from the existing coaching group
  • Practices scheduling, frequency and format
  • Player evaluation, retention and recruitment
  • Player coaching and development
  • Developing youth / junior pathways into the senior team
  • Playbooks
  • Off field activities e.g. game film evaluation, team film study, gym, workouts
  • Game day coaching
  • Building appropriate football relationships and networks
  • Liaison with coaching staff and Club Management Team

The Head Coach of the OVE Senior Team is responsible all senior team football preparation, development and outcomes. This will include, but is not be limited to:

  • Proof of Level 1 BAFCA Coaching Qualification in American Football – essential
  • Proof of Level 2 BAFCA Coaching Qualification in American Football – preferable
  • Previous experience as a Head Coach or Co-ordinator
  • Presence for practice and games
  • Priority focus on Ouse Valley Eagles senior team
Selection Process

A short-list will be created. An interview panel will be convened for those short-listed. We’d like any interview to be a free form discussion about football and your approach. Please be prepared to talk about:

  • Your football philosophy
  • How you would improve Ouse Valley Eagles
  • How you structure your approach to games, practices
  • Your expectations of the players in terms of capability, effort, work / life balance
  • Expectations of remit, autonomy and Management Team support
  • Your football experience and network
  • How you work with and develop players
  • How you run game-day
  • Thoughts about recruiting and developing players
  • Year 1 programme plan
  • 3 year development plan
Application Process

Please mail in the first instance to declare your interest. All correspondence will be treated in confidence.

FLAG | Blackhawks confirm post-season place

29 Jul

The last regular season game day of 2018 offered up a touchdown fest for the “Bombastic” Blackhawks…

Blackhawks 54-0 Coventry Cougars Ladies

The first game of the day was against friends of the team the Cougar ladies. Never a game you can take lightly but the Blackhawks came out firing on all cylinders producing another biggest points total in successive game days.

Blackhawks 47-19 Leicester Huntsmen

The second and final game of the day saw the Hawks face off against the Huntsmen. The Blackhawks offense soared through the game dominating the Huntsmen for the second time this season. The Hawks #18 Callum Papworth dropped bombs all over the Huntsmen’s struggling defence and despite scoring 19 points never felt threatened.

Thank you to the Cougars for hosting.

That closes the book on a memorable 2018 regular season and third year as a team finishing 9-3. Thank you for everyone who has supported us this season but we aren’t done yet.

Playoffs baby!


Bedford River Festival 2018

12 Jul

Players, coaches and officials from the Eagles, Blackhawks and Redwings teams are going to be attending the 40th Anniversary Bedford River Festival this weekend (14th and 15th July) in the Sports Village.

Recognised as one of the largest outdoor events of its kind in the UK, the 2016 festival saw over a quarter of a million people enjoy the events, entertainments and activities on Bedford’s beautiful Embankment.

Programme of Events

To have an insight into the layout of the site before you arrive, to locate your favourite stage or to plan your festival weekend hour by hour, take a look at the 2018 River Festival programme here.

For full details on the River Festival click here.

Win an NFL Hat

Would you like to win your favourite NFL team’s hat? Visit us in the Sports Village and complete one of your entry forms to enter a free prize draw.

When you complete the form we will ask for consent to contact you regarding upcoming events. For more information about how we use your personal data, please read our privacy notices here.

SENIOR | McMaster to step down as Head Coach

09 Jul

Eagles Head Coach Neale McMaster has announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the season.

Following a successful playing career in Scotland with the University of Glasgow Tigers and East Kilbride Pirates, McMaster moved south of the border in 2012 and joined the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders initially as a player, before becoming Offensive Line coach ahead of the 2013 season.

He became Chairman of the newly-formed Eagles following the merger between the Blue Raiders and Milton Keynes Pathfinders, and was named Offensive Coordinator by former Head Coach Will White.

In Neale’s three seasons as OC the Eagles posted a combined 19-11 record which included a record 75-6 win against the Ipswich Cardinals in 2014 and play-off appearances in 2014 and 2015.

He became senior team Head Coach ahead of the 2017 season going 4-6 in his debut year, and has an overall record as HC of 6-11 heading into this weekend’s visit to Solent Thrashers.

Speaking on the decision, Neale said:

“After 5 years with Ouse Valley, 3 as Chairman and 2 as HC, I’ll be stepping away from the club after this season. We have had a progressively worse winning %, year on year, within that 5 years, so it’s time for someone else to step up and drive the club forward.

“What I am pleased about is that I’m leaving a tremendous group of guys, who are very tight knit, and love a bit of hard graft, so whoever takes over will be in a very fortunate position.

“Whilst our winning percentage hasn’t been great, I remain incredibly proud of what we have accomplished at OVE, and will fondly remember my time with them.”

PREVIEW | Eagles vs Sussex Thunder

20 Apr

The Eagles kick off the 2018 season at home to the Sussex Thunder on Sunday afternoon at Bedford International Athletics Stadium.

After going 10-0 in the regular season last year the Thunder unexpectedly went down 26-9 against the Berkshire Renegades last weekend, and head into the game eager to get back to winning ways.

The Eagles meanwhile come into the 2018 campaign following back-to-back 4-6 seasons, looking to rebuild again with a small but highly committed squad of players keen to cause a few surprises along the way.

The game kicks off at 1pm, with free admission for all.

Team News

Head Coach Neale McMaster will be missing LB/TE Darren Willison due to a back injury. WR Troy Mayer has a thumb injury and will be a game-time decision, but QB Martin Day is back making his first start since 2015 following a serious knee injury.

Head Coach Neale McMaster

“We’re excited to finally get back to playing football after a long preseason.

“With a small squad and a fair percentage of rookies, we’ll be looking to have an exciting and testing offense, complemented by an attacking defensive and special teams units that will allow us to challenge for that first elusive playoff victory this year.”


Game Coverage

If you can’t make it to Bedford to watch the games, we will be providing score updates via our Twitter and Facebook pages.