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.

PREVIEW | Blackhawks set for season opener

12 Apr

The Blackhawks Flag team kick off their 2018 campaign at Weston Favell Academy in Northampton this weekend with games against the Northants Titans Black and Coventry Panthers.

Both sides are new opponents for the Hawks, who go into the season full of confidence and looking for a positive start following a disappointing 2017.

Andy Mattacks and David Avellaneda are set to make their debuts.

The games will be hosted by the Titans and the day also features match ups involving the Coventry Cougars Ladies, Northants Titans White, Rugby Raccoons and Leicester Huntsmen.


The first games of the day kick off at 11am, with the Blackhawks taking on the Panthers on Pitch 1 and Titans Black vs Leicester on Pitch 2:

Pitch 1

  • 11am – Coventry Panthers vs Bedford Blackhawks
  • 12pm – Coventry Cougars Ladies vs Northants Titans White
  • 1pm – Bedford Blackhawks vs Northants Titans Black
  • 2pm – Coventry Cougars Ladies vs Rugby Raccoons

Pitch 2

  • 11am – Northants Titans Black vs Leicester Huntsmen
  • 12pm – Leicester Huntsmen vs Rugby Raccoons
  • 1pm – Northants Titans White vs Coventry Panthers

The games will take place at Weston Cavell Academy, Northampton NN3 3EZ:

Game Coverage

If you can’t make it to Northampton to watch the games we will be providing regular updates via the Blackhawks Twitter and Facebook pages.

See You Saturday

PREVIEW | Eagles ready to renew Solent rivalry

28 Apr

The Eagles are back in SFC1 Central action this weekend when they travel to the South Coast to meet the Solent Thrashers on Sunday (12.30pm).

It is the fourth meeting between the two sides, with the Thrashers running out winners in each of the first three contests – including eliminating the Eagles from the play-offs in 2014 and 2015.

In the first game of the season three weeks ago an under strength Eagles side ran out 14-12 winners in a competitive game away to South Wales Warriors.

The Thrashers meanwhile went down 23-0 at home to early pace-setters Sussex Thunder last weekend, and will be looking to bounce back in what is their second of three games in successive weeks.

Team News

Head Coach Neale McMaster reported no new injury concerns following the opening-day victory over the Warriors. A number of players who missed the Warriors game are set to make their first appearance of the season, including linebackers Gareth Pullen, Fabrizio Gargiulo and Paul Mountford, and wide receivers Troy Mayer, Ryan Bowtell, Chris Gains and Rich Batten.

Andrew Oliver and Gareth Thomas will be late decisions, but longer term absentees Peter Howgego, Raul Fernández, Oliver Latimer, Jack Noblest, John Rudgard and Darren Willison are still out.

Head Coach Neale McMaster

“Really excited to renew what has been a bit of a one-sided rivalry with Solent over the past few years. Given the changes both teams have gone through since we last played it’ll be interesting to see how teams have changed and improved.

“I’m excited by the improvements we’ve made ourselves since the South Wales game – continually focusing on developing our players – and I think we’re in a good position to get a ‘W’ for the first time against the Thrashers, although as is the case with all Steve Rains-coached teams I’m expecting it to be a tough fight.”


The Thrashers play their home games at Test Park, Lower Brownhill Road, Southampton SO16 9BP:

Game Coverage

If you can’t make it to Southampton to watch the games, we will be providing live play-by-play updates via our Twitter page.

REPORT | Eagles edge out Warriors in opener

13 Apr

The Eagles opened their 2017 BAFA National League campaign with a determined and gutsy 14-12 victory over the South Wales Warriors on Sunday afternoon.

Whilst the rest of the UK enjoyed BBQ weather, South Wales was overcast and windy which did not help either offence settle in their first outing this year. An uneventful first quarter was scoreless.

The Eagles offence established a foothold with their running game in the second quarter, but were frustrated by a spirited goal-line stand by the hosts when looking likely to score.

The breakthrough finally came after a Byron Chowles interception gave the Eagles great field position, and running back Ben Cockin was able to convert from five yards. Mike Turner added the extra-point to give the visitors the half-time lead.

True to form the Warriors opened the second half in determined fashion and soon replied with a rushing touchdown of their own. The extra point conversion attempt was blocked – crucially as it would turn out – so the Eagles retained a slender advantage.

The key offensive moment for Ouse Valley took place on the next drive when QB Justin LaRoda found wide-out Bob Benney in the corner of the end zone from 36-yards for a spectacular diving catch. Turner again converted the extra point to put the visitors up 14-6.

The Eagles then appeared to be content to keep their opponents at arm’s length playing ‘bend but not break’ defence. Spirited tackling from Harry Rackham and sacks by Ross Hubbard and Garvin Yarde continued to contain Warriors offence.

This effort was exemplified by Linebacker Kase Chibwe chasing down the opposing running back and tackling him inside the five-yard line when he looked certain to score. South Wales were unable to convert and were pushed back out of field goal range by an Eagles goal-line stand.

The fourth quarter was played out with both sides exchanging possession until the Warriors drove in the last two minutes. The Eagles may have thought they had closed it out with their opponents facing fourth down with one second of the game left, however the hosts brilliantly converted a scrambling play to score in the corner as time expired.

The Warriors’ ensuing two-point conversion attempt was snuffed out by a gang of Eagles tacklers leaving them to edge a close one by 14-12 and take the win back east.

Both teams should take credit for producing an exciting game played in a great spirit. The Eagles will be glad to get that one out of the way and will look forward to hosting the game five return in Bedford on Sunday 11 June.

The next challenge is another road trip, this time to Southampton to face the Solent Thrashers, on Sunday 30th April.

Photo courtesy of Daria Urban.

PREVIEW | Eagles go west for season opener

06 Apr

The Eagles kick off the 2017 season with a long trip west to take on the South Wales Warriors this Sunday afternoon in SFC1 Central (2.30pm).

It is the first ever meeting between the two sides, and the Warriors’ first game since making the difficult decision to accept a voluntary relegation from the Premiership at the end of last season.

The Eagles meanwhile head into the game on the back of posting a disappointing 4-6 regular season record in 2016, but with a new coaching staff and a strong group of rookies looking to leave their mark.

Head Coach Neale McMaster

“I’m incredibly excited to get this season kicked off and I feel the trip down the Wales is the perfect opportunity for us to start this campaign off the right way.

“Having just came down from the Premiership last season, the Warriors will pose a great test for us to kick off our season. They have the experience of the higher level, both mentally and physically, and will test us in both departments.

“With the league schedule coming out so late we’ll be travelling with a pretty depleted squad to kick off the season, but I firmly believe the guys have it in them to go out and execute to the best of our ability and come away with a win.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to is seeing our Special Teams units be unleashed on an opponent.

“In our two pre-season games we’ve not really been able to rep them due to our opponents, so seeing them live will be exciting. I’m absolutely positive they will make a difference in the game.”


The Warriors play their home games at Llanharan Rugby Club on Bridgend Road, Llanharan CF72 9RD:

Title picture copyright Rob Dummer 2016.

Eagles season ends in defeat against the Bulls

04 Aug

The Eagles’ 2016 season came to a disappointing end with a 41-28 defeat away to the Birmingham Bulls on Sunday, thanks in no small part to a disastrous third quarter.

The Bulls received the opening kick off and after a strong drive that included successfully converting a 4th and 6 attempt on the Eagles 15-yard line, opened the scoring following a complete pass from one-yard out.

On the Eagles’ first possession a big pass completion and gain from Ross Hubbard took the offense to the Bulls 37 but the drive stalled, and the hosts were backed up inside their five-yard line following the punt.

Birmingham managed to drive to around halfway before being forced to punt, and it was the Eagles’ turn to start inside their own five.

Strong running from Kase Chibwe and a catch from Alex Smith took the Eagles to up to their 41 at the end of the first quarter, and another catch from Hubbard to start the second period moved the ball into Bulls territory.

Another completed pass to Smith took the Eagles to the 36 but a fumble on the next play was recovered by the Bulls and returned to the Eagles 28, where only a last-ditch tackle from QB Zach Wodaege prevented the lead being extended.

The Bulls got as far as the 14 before having to settle for a field goal attempt, but after the snap was fumbled the Eagles regained possession on halfway thanks to Mal Stevenson.

More strong running eventually resulted in first and goal on the four, and Chibwe crossed the line to reduce the deficit to 7-6 after the unsuccessful PAT attempt.

Andy Larwill’s fumble recovery got the Eagles the ball back quickly just inside the Bulls half, and when Wodaege connected with Smith from 36 yards out – running backwards – the Eagles had the lead.

The Bulls drove to halfway at the two-minute warning and down to the 18-yard line soon after, but Tony Ledger’s interception killed the momentum and the Eagles were unable to capitalise before the half, despite several quick first downs.

Half-Time: Bulls 7 Eagles 12

The Eagles received the kick off to start the second half but the drive stalled in the Bulls half and they regained possession on their ten-yard line after Ross Hubbard’s punt.

A 23-yard run and 14-yard pass took the Bulls to midfield, and a 53-yard pass over the top unlocked the Eagles secondary to regain the lead, the PAT attempt making the score 14-12.

The Bulls forced a fumble on the kick return and returned it for a touchdown, converted a two-point attempt to extend their lead to 22-12, and capitalised on another fumble on fourth and short on the Eagles’ next possession to take the score to 28-12 after an unsuccessful two-point attempt.

When the Eagles fumbled another kick off return to hand the ball back to the Bulls they wasted no time in punching the ball in again to make it 27 unanswered points in a horrific third period from an Eagles perspective.

The fourth quarter started with a strong offensive drive from the Eagles that was ended by a five-yard touchdown run by Chibwe and two-point conversion to cut the score to 34-20, but any chances of an unlikely comeback were put to bed on the Bulls’ next possession (41-20).

The final touchdown of the game came from departing QB Wodaege who ran the ball in for the Eagles from inside the five, and Gareth “Tish” Pullen trundled across the line for the two-point conversion to make the final score 41-28 to the Bulls.

After the game Interim Head Coach Darren Hill informed the team that he would not be putting himself forward for the position on a regular basis. Further details will be announced in due course.

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PREVIEW | Blackhawks set for season finale

29 Jul

The Blackhawks bring the curtain down on their inaugural season against Reading Lions in the BAFA Flag Southeastern Conference tomorrow.

Aylesbury Vale Spartans – who also face the Lions – are hosting the game. The ‘Hawks were also due to meet the Solent Thrashers but unfortunately they will not be attending.

The Blackhawks have their full squad available and will at full strength for the game, and Jed Parisi says the team are still pushing for an unlikely place in the post-season:

It’s the last gameday of the season and the guys are looking to close the season on a high. We are against some tough opposition but still not mathematically out of a playoff spot.


The first game of the day will kick off at 10am, and pairs the Spartans with the Lions. After Highflyers pulled out of the league the reduced schedule for the morning is:

  • Aylesbury Vale Spartans vs Reading Lions
  • Bedford Blackhawks vs Reading Lions

The games will take place at Fairford Leys Pitches, Coldharbour Way (off Oxford Road), Aylesbury HP17 8QQ:

Game Coverage

If you can’t make it to Sandy to watch the games we will be providing regular updates via the Blackhawks Twitter and Facebook pages.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news, squad details and events with out new mobile app for iOS and Android:

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Doncaster game postponed

16 Jul

Please be aware that due to circumstances out of our control, tomorrow’s game vs Doncaster Mustangs has been postponed.

We are doing what we can to get the game rearranged, and will publish any further information once confirmed.

Sincere apologies for all inconvenience caused, especially to our friends at the Mustangs.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news, squad details and events with out new mobile app for iOS and Android:

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PREVIEW | Doncaster Mustangs (H)

15 Jul

The Eagles’ fourth and final home game of the 2016 season takes place this Sunday as we welcome the Doncaster Mustangs to Bedford International Athletics Stadium in the Midlands Football Conference (12pm).

TThe Mustangs were formed in 2002 by Mark Blyth, Doug McLean and James Berry, who had grown tired of driving to Merseyside to coach and play for the Nighthawks each weekend.

In the team’s second year they won the BAFL Division 2 title following an undefeated season which culminated in a 32-13 win over the Chiltern (now Hertfordshire) Cheetahs at the Don Valley Stadium in the bowl game.

The team made it back to the play-offs in 2005, and in 2007 moved to the newly-opened Keepmoat Stadium.

After three seasons in the Premier Division North between 2012 and 2014 where they posted successive records of 6-3-1, 6-4 and 0-9, the Mustangs were relegated to the restructured Northern Football Conference 1.

Last season the Mustangs went 4-6 to finish eighth in NFC 1, which included a strong finish to the campaign that saw them win their last three games.

Their first game of the season was the 13-12 defeat against the Eagles on 17th April, and they picked up their first win two weeks later against the Birmingham Bulls (20-13).

Since then they beat the impressive Sandwell Steelers 6-3, lost at the Nottingham Caesars (16-12) before getting their revenge at home (36-19).

In their last two games they completed the double over the Bulls thanks to a convincing 30-12 win at the Keepmoat, but in their last game went down 48-0 away to the Steelers.

After Peterborough pulled out of the league Sunday is the Mustangs’ last game of the season, and a win should be good enough to secure a play-off place.

The Eagles meanwhile come into the game on the back of an impressive 40-19 victory over the Nottingham Caesars last month to move to 4-4 for the season, with a place in the play-offs still a possibility.

Team News

The Eagles will be without Kevin Kong, Miguel Alvarez-Frias, Nathaniel Ashby and Oliver Lattimer, as well as long-term injury victims defensive back Vasco Dias (knee), offensive lineman James Busby (leg) and defensive lineman Anthony Ogunleye (shoulder).


In this week’s Programme

This week’s programme cover features Chairman and Offensive Coordinator Neale McMaster.

Inside we hear from McMaster, Interim Head Coach Darren Hill and Rookie of the Week Nathan Spencer.

We also have a feature on our visitors the Doncaster Mustangs, a Spectator Guide and more.

The programme is free with admission (£2 each for adults or free for under-18s).


Our home games are played at Bedford International Athletics Stadium, Barkers Lane, Bedford MK41 9SB.

The Bedford River Festival is taking place this weekend which means there may be some road closures in place around the Embankment, so please ensure you leave extra time to get to BIAS for the game:

Keep up-to-date with the latest news, squad details and events with out new mobile app for iOS and Android:

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PREVIEW | Blackhawks host the Wolves and Panthers

14 Jul

The Blackhawks are back in action this weekend for the next round of BAFA Flag Southeastern Conference games.

The matches take place on Saturday, are hosted by the ‘Hawks and also feature Ware Wolves and Victoria Park Panthers. Bishop’s Stortford HighFlyers have withdrawn.

The Blackhawks have their full squad available and will at full strength for the game, and Jed Parisi is looking forward to making a final push for a place in the post-season:

It is the penultimate gameday of the season for us and with a team in our division dropping out it tightens everything up again, and a second win against Ware will really help us to push to make the play-offs this year.


The first game of the day will kick off at 10am, and pairs the Blackhawks with the Wolves. After Highflyers pulled out of the league the reduced schedule for the morning is:

  • Bedford Blackhawks vs Ware Wolves
  • Ware Wolves vs Victoria Park Panthers

The games will take place at Sunderland Road Recreation Ground, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 1QY:

Game Coverage

If you can’t make it to Sandy to watch the games we will be providing regular updates via the Blackhawks Twitter and Facebook pages.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news, squad details and events with out new mobile app for iOS and Android:

  • App Store
  • Google Play Store