YOUTH | Blackhawks schedule confirmed

16 Apr

The Bedford Blackhawks Youth schedule has been confirmed, and sees the young Hawks kicking off the season next week hosting Berkshire Renegades, Buckinghamshire Wolves and Solent Seahawks.

A fortnight later they travel to Farnham to meet the Knights, Cobham Cougars Blue and the Wolves, before mini-tournaments hosted by Cobham Cougars Blue on 10th June and Buckingham Wolves on 22nd July.

Bedford Blackhawks Youth (U17) 2017 South Conference Regular Season Schedule

Saturday 22nd April (hosted by Bedford Blackhawks)
vs Berkshire Renegades
vs Buckinghamshire Wolves
vs Solent Seahawks

Saturday 6th May (hosted by Farnham Knights)
vs Cobham Cougars Blue
vs Buckinghamshire Wolves
vs Farnham Knights

Saturday 10th June (hosted by Cobham Cougars Blue)
vs Cobham Cougars Blue
vs Farnham Knights
vs Solent Seahawks

Saturday 22nd July (hosted by Buckinghamshire Wolves)
vs Buckinghamshire Wolves
vs Sussex Thunder
vs Swindon Storm

FLAG | Stratford named Blackhawks Head Coach

14 Apr

The Club are delighted to announce that Jonny Stratford has been named the new Head Coach of the Bedford Blackhawks adult flag team.

Stratford claimed the vacant spot having previously been held temporarily by Coach Ian Papworth, and says he can’t wait to get to work:

“It’s a great privilege to be named as the new Head Coach of such a great bunch of players. The potential which I have seen throughout the squad we have can I believe lead to great things for the club.

“I featured last year as a player and I’m delighted to make the move into building a coaching team to take us to new heights. The team chemistry is amazing and I can’t wait to get started on what I believe is going to be a great season for the Blackhawks!”

Jonny began his affiliation with the Blackhawks last year playing the entire debut season in the crucial linebacker role. Despite playing such a fundamental role within the Blackhawks defensive set up, Jonny also managed to put up three touchdowns in his debut season.

Speaking on the appointment, Flag Football Coordinator Jake Cooper said:

“Jonny possesses incredible amounts of natural raw talent which we are extremely looking forward to seeing implemented on the team. Despite being relatively new to the sport it was clear to see that Jonny has great ability to read the game and implement strategical changes to suit.

“We would like to thank him on the magnificent season he put up for the Blackhawks last season.”

The 2017 season gets underway for the Blackhawks this weekend when they travel to the West Essex Showboats, where they will also play Aylesbury Vale Spartans and Ware Wolves.

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.”

Directions

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

Title picture copyright Rob Dummer 2016.

SENIOR | 2017 Captains Named

20 Mar

The Eagles captains for the 2017 season have been confirmed following a vote by the players.

Gareth Pullen has been named Team Captain, Danny Cousins is the new Offensive Captain, Ross Hubbard is Defensive Captain and Fabrizio Gargiulo is Special Teams Captain.

Linebacker Gareth “Tish” Pullen is a returning captain, having previously captained the team in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He was named the Eagles’ Defensive MVP in 2015 and 2016, Player’s Player of the Year in 2014, and is a former Bedfordshire Blue Raiders MVP, Players Player and Defensive MVP:

Offensive Lineman Danny Cousins is in his third year with the Club. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, and was named Joint Players Player of the Year in 2016.

Ross Hubbard is also in his third year with the Eagles and is the current Joint Players Player, Most Valuable Player and Offensive MVP, having played Tight End in previous seasons.

Linebacker Fab Gargiulo is a vastly experienced player in his first year with the Club, having joined from the London Blitz.

Commenting on the appointments, Head Coach Neale McMaster said:

“I’m incredibly proud of these guys for being leaders to their team-mates, but also love the team for recognising the hardest working guys on our team as the people they want to follow.

“There’s a number of guys that they could have selected, but the players chose to single them out.

“There isn’t a finer person to have as Team Captain than Gareth, he is the epitome of what we look for as an Eagle.

“Danny as Offensive Captain is a great choice as he really understands football, and works well with Justin, who is our vocal leader on offense to really push the whole unit forward.

“Ross continues to be recognised by his teammates as a leader and having moved from offense to defense, has maintained his high standards and pushes people continuously.

“Having Fab as our Special Teams Captain is a huge statement by the players, as I don’t think you’ll find anyone more passionate about special teams in the UK. He has instilled a real pride in a unit we expect to produce a lot of points this year, and obviously the players are buying into it.”

The first game of the season takes place on Sunday 9th April away to South Wales Warriors. The first home game of the year is against the Solent Thrashers on Sunday 21st May.

FLAG | Blackhawks looking for a Head Coach

13 Mar

The Bedford Blackhawks Senior Flag Team, who currently play home games in Sandy, are looking to appoint a new Head Coach to lead the team and take them forward.

The Blackhawks were formed ahead of the 2016 season and are aimed at players aged 16 and over. In the 2017 season they will play in the SEC North Division alongside Aylesbury Vale Spartans, Ware Wolves and West Essex Showboats.

Flag football is a non-contact version of American Football where tackles are made by pulling a flag off an opposing player. The game retains the same principles as the contact form, but in a 5v5 non-contact arena with a maximum of 12 players per squad, and is a tremendous way to increase passing and catching fundamentals.

It is the fastest growing format of the game in Great Britain, encompassing schools, colleges, universities and community football.

The Role

As Head Coach of the Blackhawks Flag Team, you will be responsible for the development and implementation of training sessions specifically suited to Flag Football.

You will maintain and develop a team playbook as well as a player depth chart, and be responsible for the in-game play calling and substitutions.

Player retention, recruitment and development is central to the role. As such you will be expected to work alongside our Senior and Youth Team coaches in order to facilitate the transition of youth players into the adult program, and from contact to flag football (and vice versa) as appropriate, demonstrating and promoting the values of the Club at all levels.

The Head Coach will collaborate with the Club Committee on all matters impacting on-field activities related to Flag Football.

Requirements

The ideal candidate will hold a Level 1 BAFCA Coaching Qualification in American Football and have previous coaching experience.

They will be available for practice sessions and games, be highly organised, able to communicate effectively, have a forward-thinking approach to Flag Football, a positive attitude and a passion for developing talent.

Application Process

Shortlisted candidates will be requested to interview for the role by the current Committee. To apply for this voluntary position or enquire further, complete the form below before 5pm on Friday 31st March 2017.

All correspondence will be treated in confidence.

YOUTH | League Alignment and 2017 opponents updated

Blackhawks
08 Mar

Following a review by the British American Football Association (BAFA) the Blackhawks will now play in the BAFA Regional U17 Outer London Conference.

They are joined in the updated Conference by Berkshire Renegades, Buckinghamshire Wolves, Cobham Cougars Blue and Farnham Knights.

After receiving feedback from a number of teams concerned about large travel distances and associated costs, BAFA have removed all inter-conference games from the schedule. As a result of that change, the Young Hawks will just face their divisional opponents in a number of mini tournaments that make up the regular season.

The full schedule will be published here once confirmed by BAFA.

BAFA Regional U17 Outer London Conference

Bedford Blackhawks
Berkshire Renegades
Buckinghamshire Wolves
Cobham Cougars Blue
Farnham Knights

SENIOR | Eagles 2017 Schedule Released

07 Mar

The Eagles’ 2017 regular season schedule has been confirmed, and sees the team kicking off away to South Wales Warriors in SFC1 Central on Sunday 9th April.

It is the first ever meeting between the two sides and is followed three weeks later by a trip to Solent Thrashers on 30th April, and the first of two visits to Oxford Saints on Sunday 7th May.

The first home game of the season takes place on Sunday 21st May when we welcome the Thrashers to BIAS, and the return game against the Warriors on 11th June is the first of three games in successive weeks (away to Sussex Thunder on 18th June and home to the Thrashers again on 25th June).

The Saints come to town on 9th July, and the season is rounded off against Sussex Thunder at home on 23rd July and away to Oxford on 30th July.

Ouse Valley Eagles 2017 Regular Season Schedule

Sunday 9th April @ South Wales Warriors
Sunday 30th April @ Solent Thrashers
Sunday 7th May @ Oxford Saints
Sunday 21st May vs Solent Thrashers
Sunday 11th June vs South Wales Warriors
Sunday 18th June @ Sussex Thunder
Sunday 25th June vs Solent Thrashers
Sunday 9th July vs Oxford Saints
Sunday 23rd July vs Sussex Thunder
Sunday 30th July @ Oxford Saints

Kick-off times to be confirmed.

Play-Off Structure

For the 2017 season the top eight teams in Division 1 will progress to the play-offs, which will consist of the top two teams in each of the four conferences (NFC1 North, NFC1 South, SFC1 Central and SFC1 East).

The first round of the play-offs will see the #1 seed in the SFC/NFC face and #4 seed, and the #2 seed meet the #3 ranked team.

The Division 1 Championship will be decided between the NFC1 and SFC1 winners.

YOUTH | League Alignment and 2017 Opponents Confirmed

06 Feb

The British American Football Association (BAFA) have confirmed that the Blackhawks Youth Team will play in U17 Conference E in the 2017 season.

They are joined in the Conference by Buckinghamshire Wolves, Cobham Cougars, Cobham Cougars Varsity and Farnham Knights.

The Young Hawks will face their divisional opponents in a number of mini tournaments that make up the season, and will also come up against Kent Exiles Rebels, Essex Spartans, Sussex Thunder and Cornish Sharks during the regular season.

The full schedule is expected to be confirmed by BAFA in the next couple of weeks.

FLAG | Blackhawks Preseason Schedule confirmed

Blackhawks
27 Jan

The Blackhawk’s 2017 preseason schedule has been confirmed, and includes come and try sessions, training camps and warm-up games.

‘Come and Try’ sessions for new players will take place at Sunderland Road, Sandy this Sunday (29th January) and Sunday 12th February, either side of friendly games against Aylesbury Vale Spartans and Northampton Phantoms in Aylesbury.

Three training camps (location to be confirmed) will take place on 19th February, 12th March and 2nd April.