AFTER a long winter break, Lanarkshire Longhorns junior American football team are ready to go with their opening game of the 2012 campaign coming up on Sunday, April 15 at Beltane, Wishaw.
The Lanarkshire side enter their third season in the British American Football Association National League as once again the only Scottish team playing in the 16 to under 19 age group.
After finishing third then joint second in the Junior North Division, the target for this year is most definitely a play-off spot with the chance of progression to the Britbowl National Finals in Sheffield at the end of August. There will be no easy path to the final, however, with divisional rivals Lancashire Wolverines and Gateshead Senators both looking to return to the Britbowl, each having lost out in one of the past four junior finals.
The Longhorns’ opponents on Sunday will be Manchester Titans, a team against who they have a 100 per cent winning record.
After a season rebuilding their squad last year the Titans will be travelling north with something to prove, so this weekend’s fixture promises to be an action packed contest.
The Longhorns themselves have a new look about them with over 20 new players representing the team in the opening game. With a mixture of experience from youth level and absolute rookies the squad will have to be at their best to repeat the performances of last season’s team. A core of returning players will ensure the new recruits know exactly what’s expected of them when they step on to the gridiron on Sunday. Home field advantage and enthusiasm will be no substitute for teamwork and discipline.
The Longhorns would benefit from as much support as they can muster for their season opener, and would encourage anyone who hasn’t watched American football first hand or who already follows the sport, to get along to Beltane playing fields in Wishaw this Sunday and cheer them on. Kick-off 12 noon.