American Football: Tarannau battle Muddogs in 8-0 victory.

SUNDAY 27th October saw American Footballers out in force both at Wembley Stadium and at Blaendolau playing fields. The Jacksonville Jaguars took on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL International Series game at Wembley.  Closer to home,  Tarannau Aberystwyth took on Bangor Muddogs in a pre-season warm up game.

American Football is slowly becoming more popular in the UK.  Wembley has been host to a number of sold-out events and Sky Sports are now broadcasting NFL games at a reasonable time of the day (not just repeated at 4am).  Tarannau President, Joshua Tumbridge,  told  The Courier: “We’ve had a big response this year after the Sports Fayre.  Tarannau now has approximately 60 members and we had a huge influx of Rookies.  There are several of them who have played previously at a  junior level and some who have never played before at all.  The jump from junior to university level is quite vast and can seem quite daunting at times but on Sunday,  the Rookies stepped up to the mark and I was incredibly pleased with the result.”

To the game then. This is one of the few chances that Tarannau get to take on rival university Bangor as the two teams play in different leagues during the Football season. There was a good spectator turnout on both sides and the Tarannau Cheerleaders were out in form supporting the boys despite the less than desirable weather.  Bangor’s team consisted largely of Rookies who also put up a good performance but it was the home team who took the victory, the final score 8-0.  Tarannau wide-receiver Luke Gorton scored a touchdown after a 3o yard pass for 6 points, the remaining two coming from the PAT (point after touchdown).  President Tumbridge said: “The score-line could have been bigger and there were a few fumbles but overall the performance was encouraging to see.” The team MVP (Most Valuable Player) award went to Joshua Mews who has played previously for The Colchester Gladiators. Mews played both centre and defensive end during the whole game and President Tumbridge said he earned the award for “making plays and being consistent throughout.” The Defensive MVP award went to Rookie Christian Faulkner, a 3rd year English Literature student taking part in his first game.

Despite being a ‘friendly’ varsity warm up, the was a hint of the rivalry between the two teams coming from Bangor Muddogs President, Tom Jump who said: “Aberystwyth gave us the great opportunity for a ‘friendly varsity’ game. Even though it was touch and go until the kick off, the game went ahead and proved most helpful for the Muddogs, even though flags were flying! Now we are definitely ready to take the Cup to it’s rightful home in April.”  The cup that Jump refers to is the Varsity cup that the two sides vie for every year.  At the moment it sits with Tarannau and President Tumbridge is adamant that it will stay where it belongs . He also said that Tarannau hope to be included in the annual university-wide Varsity tournament this year.

The future for Tarannau looks bright then.  They brought home the coveted Welsh Bowl trophy last season after defeating the Cardiff Cobras and again, Tumbridge is confident that it will be retained. He said “Obviously winning our league would be brilliant but I’d really like to see us hold on to both the Welsh Bowl trophy and the Varsity title. ” (There’s that Aber/Bangor rivalry again.) ” We are facing a tough challenge this season”, said Tumbridge, ” but that’s sport for you. I tell the team every game that we need to make sure each play is better than the last. We have some amazing people working with us. One of our coaches, Tim Macy, has recently recovered from a stroke but is now back with us – big thanks to him and the rest of the coaching staff.” President Tumbridge also told The Courier of the fantastic news that two of the Tarannau players, Curtis Williston and Josh Culling, have both made it in to the Great Britain Lions team and will now play at a national level.

Next on the cards is a home game on  November 10th against Plymouth Blitz, which Tumbridge said will be challenging but having seen the Rookies perform, he is confident it will be a good game. The game will take place on Blaendolau playing fields at 1pm.  Get yourselves down there and show some support! Tarannau #Let The Thunder Roll.