On a makeshift pitch on the 22 acres, the York Centurions displayed plenty of effort and determination in going down 12-28 to the Lancaster Bombers in their first full American Football fixture.
The match ended two minutes early when York’s backup Quarterback, Lloyd Gunter, suffered what looked to be a potential neck injury. However, he was up and walking after only a few minutes, to the amusement of the other York players.
The game had already been shortened by a lengthy delay when the attending ambulance was forced to take York linebacker Jim Mckinlay to the hospital with a shredded forearm muscle, with BUAFL rules stipulating that no play is allowed without an ambulance present.
The outcome of the match hinged on a contentious fumble-recovery decision midway through the second quarter. York were leading 12-6 and riding high on adrenalin when they thought they had scored another touchdown after recovering a Lancaster fumble. However, the ball was spotted at the one yard line and York were given four downs to drive it into the endzone. Their failure to do so seemed to take all the wind out of their sails, and Lancaster‘s superior size and experience began to tell.
York’s defence recovered from a disappointing start to put up some great resistance, but they were unable to cope with Lancaster’s dominant running game, with most of their yards coming through the backs. The key players in defence were linebacker Steve Braid, who tackled any Lancaster player who came near him, defensive tackle Ben Adams, who held up well against the superior Lancaster offensive line, and defensive back Josh Baines, who showed why he is being scouted for Great Britain.
The offence suffered due to the line’s inability to give the quarterback any time to throw, or the running backs any holes to run through. Inevitably, York gained few yards through the air and had only slightly more success along the ground.
York’s two scores came in the first quarter, from a bulldozing 11-yard fullback dive from Nick Walter, and a superb 36-yard catch and run from wide receiver Tom Lee, showing what York’s passing game was capable of when York’s quarterback, Josh Hoult, was given time to throw.
However, York were always the underdogs against the established BUAFL Lancaster team, and can take a lot of pride from their first fixture to take into the league next year.
York’s Captain, Sam Asfahani, praised his players’ effort after the match, declaring that the ‘defence was amazing today, and I’m so proud of my boys’. He also claimed that ‘the size of the crowd and the great atmosphere, before the rain came down, means that the University has to stand up and take notice of our sport now’.