New Morecambe Bay American football team set for historic league opener
The district's new American football club play their first competitive game this Sunday.
The Morecambe Bay Storm head to the Northumberland Lightning for their first Northern Central Division II fixture a little more than 12 months after forming.
A squad of 45 players has been developed since the first meeting about the formation of a new club at the Vale of Lune Rugby Club on January 16 2016.
The first practice came at the end of February last year with all roads leading to this first game.
“It all starts this Sunday, our rookie campaign,” said coach Don ‘Scud’ Fairhurst.
“Excited doesn’t really cover it for me.
“It’s great to start a project off and then see it progress.
“We’ve come through quite a few milestones along the way.
“We played our three games, got in the league, we’ve just got a Sport England grant that will allow us to buy more equipment and increase the squad even more.
“It’s another step on the way to having an American football academy in North West Lancashire.”
The conference also includes the Walney Terriers, Gatehead Senators, Carlisle Sentinels, Leeds Bobcats and the Knottingley Raiders with the Storm playing five games on the road and five at the their Trimpell Sports and Social Club home.
“A winning season would be brilliant but we’ve got to be realistic,” said Scud.
“Getting the first win itself is going to be a huge milestone.
“Some teams go years without winning.
“The team’s got a lot of potential though and we go up to Northumberland looking to win.
“They’ve put the effort in and there’s no reason why we can’t.”
With the majority of the squad not having played the sport before linking up with the new club, their coach has been hugely impressed with what he’s seen and is confident they will only go from strength to strength.
There is some experience with quarterback Chris Mayne having played for the Gateshead Senators and Yorkshire Rams and linebacker Rob Bainbridge having arrived from the Manchester Titans with defensive co-ordinator Jim Waite, who lives in Carnforth.
“We’ve come a huge distance and everyone has done really well,” he said.
“We’ve got a good bunch of guys and some good athletes, all they’re lacking is experience and they’re going to get that from next week onwards.”