Lancashire Academy Celebrates in Style

The Lancashire Academy turned on the style on and off the field as they celebrated their 15 year anniversary.

The Colts welcomed special guest Pat Smith, a Vice President of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, to Blackburn Rugby Club to kick off the celebrations.

Smith, who has extensive experience working with many sports, was effusive in his praise of the Wolverines organisation. 'The event epitomised what community sport is about. There were great performances on the field, from players and officials; and there was considerable effort off it ensuring the event was a success'.

On the field, the Colts kicked off the day with an exhilarating 86-8 win over local rivals the Manchester Titans. In front of a packed out crowd that included many ex-Colts, the Wolverines’ Senior team also claimed a victory 17-6 over the Chester Romans, making the prospect of an unbeaten regular season a very real possibility with one fixture remaining.

Off the field saw the largest attendance of the season with spectators enjoying the amenities surrounding the two featured games. The bar and barbeque, as well as the Colts team history and merchandise stalls went down a treat whilst younger attendees enjoyed the bouncy castle. The Colts two most successful head coaches, Geoff Leigh and Paul Day later announced their much anticipated Colts All-star teams.

Both on and off the field the day was a huge success and a great celebration of 15 years of Colts football. The publicity that the event received in Lancashire media outlets and the scale of the celebration was also testament to something further - that the Lancashire Academy of American Football is growing, thriving and promising a successful future.

Game Reports from the events:

After 15 years of great football the current Colts were challenged by their coaching staff to serve up a performance that reflected the team’s glorious tradition. They certainly didn’t disappoint with their sensational 86-8 win over the Titans. The victory also meant that for the third consecutive season the Colts were crowned North Division winners.

Colts All-Star member Jonny Frayne got the Colts off to a fast start by scoring within minutes of the kick-off and his early score set a menacing tone. With the Colts defence creating multiple turnovers, on several occasions the offence found itself in great starting field position and capitalised to a great extent. The offence put together many effective drives in its highest scoring performance of the season. Colts All-Star tight end Seb Kerridge and running back Jake Hodgkinson capped these series with multiple touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Defensive end Mark Balcombe recovered a loose ball after a mishap in the Manchester end-zone for a touchdown and in addition the defence forced two safeties to complete the Colts first half scoring. At the break the hosts held a staggering 50-0 lead.

In the second half Kerridge would add to his tally, first with a weaving running score and then as the recipient of another gracefully thrown pass by James Slack. The Colts quarterback would finish the day with four touchdown passes and in the second half added a rushing touchdown of his own from three yards out.

Despite a defensive mix up that resulted in Manchester scoring their lone touchdown, the Colts continued to force turnovers and generate good field position. Krit Duffy and Joni Gordon intercepted Matt Blinkhorn passes whilst Tom Jump, Jake Hodgkinson, Casey McArdle and James Robbins each brought the Titans quarterback crashing down to the turf for sacks that had field position implications.

Jake Hodgkinson tallied two further rushing touchdowns from 5 and 24 yards out to complete the Colts lofty scoring as the final score was pushed to a fantastic 86-8. The emphatic win gives the Colts excellent momentum heading into the playoffs buoyed by impressive outing by both their offence and defence and proved tremendously fitting for the celebration of 15 years of Colts football.

VENI, VIDI, VICI – Wolverines defeat Romans
In the second game of the anniversary day double-header the Lancashire Wolverines moved a step closer to an unbeaten regular season and continued their push for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with victory over the Chester Romans. The 17-6 score-line was reflective of a game in which the home team largely remained in control but was made to work for their win.

Danny Morton saw his 19-yard field goal blocked as the Wolverines attempted to put up early points. Instead, on a day when he was named quarterback of the Colts all-star team, it was fitting that ex-Colt Adam Purcell gave the Wolverines the lead by returning an interception for a touchdown from the 26-yard line. Purcell picked off the attempted pass over the middle before reversing field and hurdling into the endzone. Morton’s extra point was good to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
Although the Wolverines showed some glimpses of promise on offence they couldn’t quite manage to punch the ball into the endzone in the first half. On the other hand, an interception by cornerback Chris Anderson and a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Tony Stephenson ensured that Chester were also unable to answer offensively.

In the second half the visitors found some success but not before linebacker Carl Rimmer, another ex-Colts standout and member of its announced all-star team, provided a timely interception which he returned to the Chester 21-yard line. From here the Wolverines offence did score as David Mead (another member announced as part of the all-star team) threw an eight yard pass to wide receiver Neil Sullivan. Danny Morton again tacked on the extra point to extend the Wolverine lead to 14-0.

Chester aimed to counter and a long successful drive was capped off with a four yards rushing touchdown by James Tootle. However, the visitors in looking to close the deficit were unsuccessful in their 2 point conversion attempt. Late in the third quarter the Wolverines countered as Danny Morton impressively connected on a 33-yard field goal attempt and the 17-6 lead remained after a scoreless fourth quarter.

The fact that many ex-Colts are amongst the ranks of the Wolverines and contributing to their current unbeaten record was yet another fitting theme for the anniversary event.

By Christopher Ollett.