Cambridgeshire Cats
Team logo
Established1984; 38 years ago (1984)
Based inCambridge, Cambridgeshire
Home stadiumColdhams Common
Head coachAndy Whiteoak
LeagueBAFA National Leagues
DivisionSouthern Football Conference 1 East
League titlesNone
Conference titles7 (1985, 1994, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2019, 2021)
Division titles2 (1994, 1995)
Current uniform
Helmet
Left arm
Body
Right arm
Trousers
Socks
Home
Helmet
Left arm
Body
Right arm
Trousers
Socks
Away

The Cambridgeshire Cats are an American football team competing in Southern Football Conference 1, East Division of the BAFA National Leagues (BAFA NL), with their home games played at Coldhams Common in Cambridge. The club was first formed in 1984, entered senior competition in 1985 and won two divisional titles in the 1990s as well appearing in the playoffs a further six times before folding in 1998. They reformed once again in 2002 and re-entered senior competition, gaining promotion in 2003 only to be relegated two seasons later. Most recently, they won the South East Conference of Division One before losing to the Solent Thrashers in the playoff final.

History

Original formation (1984 to 1990)

The club was first formed in December 1984 as the Cambridge County Cats following trials conducted in the city by the RAF Wyton Eagles, one of the first American football teams to be founded in the UK.[1][2] They joined the British American Football Federation for the 1985 season, where they competed in the A1 Division and finished top with a perfect 8–0 regular season record in front of crowds often in excess of 600, before losing to the Croydon Coyotes in the semi-final.[2][3]

The following year, they switched to the newly formed Budweiser League, where they were elected straight into the top division.[2] They finished with a 6–4 record and qualified for the playoffs where they lost in the first round away to the Wrekin Giants.[4] They were unable to repeat this success the following year—they finished bottom of their group with a 0–9–1 record and so were relegated.[5] They returned to winning ways in the lower division, recording eight consecutive wins on their way to finishing second in their group before losing 24–34 away to the Scottish champions, the Glasgow Diamonds.[6]

1989 was a year of change for the Cats. After securing a sponsorship deal with the Washington State Apple Commission, a Seattle-based apple export firm, they were renamed the Cambridge Crunchers.[2] They also left the Budweiser League to join the newly formed Combined Gridiron League where they were admitted into the top division, competing in the Central Conference of the Crown National Division. They finished second in the group behind the Colchester Gladiators, and qualified once again for the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were unable to progress, losing 3–27 at home to the Heathrow Jets.[7]

The following year saw a degree of turmoil for the club, beginning when their sponsors suddenly decided to withdraw their support forcing the club to change its name once again, becoming the Cambridge Wildcats.[2] They moved over to the NCMMA following the demise of the CGL and despite suffering from low team numbers, the team recorded a 6–3–1 season record and so qualified for the playoffs.[8] However, it was revealed that they hadn't paid the required league fees and so they were excluded from the post-season.[2] During the close season, they entered into merger negotiations with another local team, the Newmarket Hornets. However, it emerged that it was actually a take-over attempt by Newmarket, and the club chose to fold rather than lose its identity.[2]

Playoff successes (1992 to 1999)

After two years of inactivity, the club was reformed as the Cambridge Cats with a squad of over 40 players, half of whom came from the 1990 Wildcats team.[2] They joined the British National Gridiron League in 1993, where they played in the East Midlands conference of Division One. They reached the playoffs at the first attempt after finishing second in acampaign which saw them score more than 40 points in six of their ten games.[9] They were drawn away to the Derbyshire Braves in the wild-card round, who they beat to set up a tie against the Redditch Arrows. In a high-scoring game, they won by 54 points to 40 before losing their semi-final against the Lincoln Saints.[10]

They joined the British American Football Association in 1994, marking the start of the club's most successful spell. They entered the Midlands conference of Division Three and finished top, winning eight of their ten games. As in the previous season, they faced the Redditch Arrows, who they shut out whilst scoring 42 points. The semi-final saw them win away to the Chester Romans to set up their first play-off final. They secured their first divisional title by defeating the Crawley Raiders 25–14.[11]

As a result of their playoff win, the Cats were promoted to Division Two, where they competed in the North / Midlands conference and finished second with an 8–2 record. After beating the Chiefs in the playoff quarter-finals, they were drawn at home to the Lancashire Wolverines, who had been responsible for the Cats' only two defeats earlier in the season including 35-point shutout.[12] There was no repeat of that heavy defeat this time as the Cats won 42–23 to set up a final against the Plymouth Admirals. After falling 13 points behind, they eventually won 28–13 to secure their second consecutive divisional championship and promotion.[13]

They struggled in their first season at this higher level, the top flight of the newly renamed British Senior League (BSL), after many the top players decided to retire before the season started. To make matters worse, the head coach and several players walked out after only a couple of games. Cambridge's dismal season ended abruptly when they could not afford to play their final two home games.[2] After winning just two of their ten games, they finished fourth out of the five teams which made up the North Conference.[14] They once again finished second from bottom the following year, (ahead of the Northants Storm who folded after just three games),[2][15][16] and once again in 1998.[17] The Cats finally folded prior to the start of the 1999 season.[2]

Present-day Cats (2002 to present)

Three years later, the club was reformed under their present name of the Cambridgeshire Cats by Chris Wallis, and they entered the Division Two South of the BSL, where they qualified for the playoffs at the first attempt by finishing third out of nine teams, before losing to the Plymouth Admirals in the quarter-final.[18][19] 2003 saw them perform even better, recording a perfect 10–0 regular season record and finishing top of the South East Conference. They were drawn at home to the Southern Sundevils in their quarter-final, and needed two periods of overtime before eventually beating them 9–6. However, they lost their semi-final at home to the Bristol Aztecs.[20]

Despite this disappointment, they were awarded promotion to the new Division 1A, where they finished third in their group and earned a wild-card playoff slot only to lose once again to the Aztecs, this time by a single point.[21] 2005 saw them struggle with player moes and two changes at head coach. Winning only one game and scoring just 40 points, they were bottom of the South conference, resulting in them being relegated to Division Two.[22]

2006 saw them surge back to success under Head Coach Rick Bice, finishing with a 5–4–1 record,[23] barely missing out on the playoffs. In 2007, further success saw them qualify for the playoffs after finishing second in the South East conference with a 7–3 record before losing away to the South Wales Warriors 13–7 in the quarter-final.[24]

In 2008, the Cats were moved into the Eastern Conference and recorded their strongest showing since 2003, finishing top with a 9–1 record and achieving an automatic spot in the playoff quarter-finals by virtue of one of South Wales Warriors nine wins coming by way of forfeit. They met the Warriors at home and beat them 21–12 to set up an away semi-final at the London Cobras, a team who had won their group with a perfect 10–0 record and conceded just nine points all season. The strength of their London opponents proved too much, with the Cobras winning 32–0.

2009 saw a change in leadership as Coach Rick Bice handed the head coaching reins over to Bob Shaw.

Senior team season records

Season Division Wins Losses Ties PF PA Final Position Playoff Record Notes
1985 British American Football Federation, A1 Division 8 0 0 350 68 1 / 4 Lost 8–20 to Croydon Coyotes in semi-final Team entered league as Cambridge County Cats
Conference champions
1986 Budweiser League, Atlantic Premier Division 6 4 0 130 198 3 / 6 Lost 16–24 to Wrekin Giants in first round
1987 Budweiser League, National League, Eastern 0 9 1 150 361 5 / 5 Relegated to Premier Division
1988 Budweiser League, Premier Division, East Midlands 8 2 0 287 157 2 / 6 Lost 24–34 to Glasgow Diamonds in first round.
1989 Combined Gridiron League, National Division, Central 7 3 0 192 194 2 / 6 Lost 3–27 to Heathrow Jets in quarter final
Team changed name to Cambridge Crunchers before start of season
1990 NCMMA, Midland Conference 6 3 1 273 208 2 / 5 Team changed name to Cambridge Wildcats before start of season
Team expelled from playoffs due to non-payment of league fees
1991 to 1992 DID NOT COMPETE
1993 BNGL, First Division, East Midlands 8 1 1 339 71 2 / 4 Beat Derbyshire Braves 30–13 in wild-card playoff
Beat Redditch Arrows 54–40 in quarter-final
Lost 27–31 to Lincoln Saints in semi-final
Team re-entered league as Cambridge Cats
Promoted to Division Three
1994 BAFA, Division Three, Midlands 8 2 0 321 134 1 / 6 Beat Redditch Arrows 43–0 in quarter-final
Beat Chester Romans 36–19 in semi-final
Beat Crawley Raiders 25–14 in final
Conference champions
Division Three champions
Promoted to Division Two
1995 BAFA Division Two, North / Midlands 8 2 0 284 136 2 / 5 Beat Chiefs 26–20 in quarter-final
Beat Lancashire Wolverines 42–23 in semi-final
Beat Plymouth Admirals 28–13 in final
Division Two Champions
Promoted to Division One
1996 BSL, Division One, North 2 8 0 107 190 4 / 5
1997 BSL, Division One, South East & Midlands 4 6 0 136 183 5 / 6
1998 BSL, Division One, South East 2 8 0 63 236 5 / 6
1999 to 2001 DID NOT COMPETE
2002 BSL, Division Two, South 6 3 0 107 102 3 / 9 Lost 25–36 to Plymouth Admirals Team re-entered league as Cambridgeshire Cats
2003 BSL, Division Two, South East 10 0 0 289 64 1 / 8 Beat Southern Sundevils 9–6 in quarter-final (2 x OT)
Lost 12–14 to Bristol Aztecs in semi-final
Conference champions
Promoted to Division 1A
2004 BSL, Division 1A, South 3 7 0 87 290 3 / 4 Lost 12–13 to Bristol Aztecs in wild-card playoff
2005 BAFL, Division 1A, South 1 9 0 40 364 4 / 4 Relegated to Division Two
2006 BAFL, Division Two, East 5 4 1 185 159 3 / 4
2007 BAFL, Division Two, South East 7 3 0 307 43 2 / 6 Lost 7–13 to South Wales Warriors in quarter-final
2008 BAFL, Division Two, East 9 1 0 336 45 1 / 5 Beat South Wales Warriors 21–12 in quarter-final
Lost 0–32 to London Cobras in semi-final
Conference champions
Promoted to Division One
2009 BAFL, Division One, South East 7 3 0 373 281 2 / 6 Beat Oxford Saints 25–13 in quarter-final
Lost 6–22 to London Cobras in semi-final
2010 BAFACL, Division One, South East 9 1 0 368 182 1 / 6 Beat Oxford Saints 13–7 in quarter-final
Lost 7–49 to Tamworth Phoenix in semi-final
Conference champions
2011 BAFACL, Division One, Central 5 5 0 106 195 4 / 6
2012 BAFNL, Division One, Central & South East 5 5 0 270 210 5 / 8 Promoted to Premiership
2013 BAFNL, Premiership, South 5 5 0 292 279 6 / 11
2014 BAFNL, Premiership, South 2 6 0 135 252 7 / 9 Relegated to SFC1
2015 BAFANL, Southern Football Conference 1, North 0 10 0 60 289 8 / 8 Relegated to SFC2
2016 BAFANL, Southern Football Conference, 2 East 7 3 0 167 99 2 / 6 Beat Berkshire Renegades 27–13 in quarter-final
Beat London Hornets 9–0 in semi-final
Lost 2–24 to Oxford Saints in final
Promoted to SFC1
2017 BAFANL, Southern Football Conference 1, East 5 5 0 156 147 4 / 5
2018 BAFANL, Southern Football Conference 1, East 7 3 0 236 144 3 / 6
2019 BAFANL, Southern Football Conference 1, East 9 1 0 211 74 1 / 6 Beat Sussex Thunder 27–15 in quarter-final
Lost 13–20 to Solent Thrashers in semi-final
Conference Champions
2020 BAFANL season cancelled due to Covid-19
2021 BAFANL, East Anglia Conference 8 0 0 279 65 1 / 6 No BAFANL playoffs contested this season. Conference Champions

Head Coach Records

Name Nationality Wins Losses Ties Playoff Record Tenure
George Zentner American 14 4 0 0-2 Full seasons: 1985, 1986
Paul Ware American 0 7 1 - First 8 games of 1987
Mike Johnson American 2 3 0 - Final 2 games of 1987
First 3 games of 1988
Charles Broadway American 13 4 0 0-1 Final 7 games of 1988
Full season: 1989
John Spangler American 6 3 1 - Full season: 1990
Team did not compete, 1991-1992
Chris Wallis* British 14 3 1 5-1 Full seasons: 1993, 1994
Rick Hoskins American 7 4 0 3-0 Full season: 1995
First 2 games of 1996
Chris Wallis* British 2 4 0 - Final 6 games of 1996
Jonathan Smith British 3 6 0 - Full season: 1997
Chris Wallis* British 2 8 0 - Full season: 1998
Team did not compete, 1999-2001
Chris Wallis* British 16 3 0 1-2 Full seasons: 2002, 2003
Simon Hatcher British 3 7 0 0-1 Full season: 2004
James Mitchell American 0 2 0 - First 2 games of 2005
Rick Bice American 22 15 1 1-2 Final 8 games of 2005
Full seasons: 2006, 2007, 2008
Bob Shaw British 20 9 0 2-2 Full seasons: 2009, 2010, 2011
Brian Jelley British 12 16 0 - Full seasons: 2012, 2013, 2014
Marco Fasulo British 35 22 0 3-2 Full seasons: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021

*Totals for Chris Wallis

34

18

1

6-3

-

Current Team

Coaches

Cambridgeshire Cats 2022 coaches

Senior Coaches

  • Andy Whiteoak (Head Coach)
  • Brian Jelley (Assistant Head Coach)
  • Steve Playford (Offensive Co-ordinator)
  • Ben Abbott (Defensive Co-ordinator)

Assistant Coaches

  • John Beckham
  • Adam Blowers
  • Dave Brignell
  • Ethan Harlan
  • Kurt Karlson
  • Dan Lloyd
  • AJ Richards
  • Leigh Sessions

Player Roster

Cambridgeshire Cats 2022 roster

Quarterbacks

  • 6 Mark Rivett
  • 10 Neil Dempsey
  • 18 James Horne

Running Backs

  • 12 Ruben Suarez
  • 24 Mark Womble
  • 28 Andrew Evans
  • 32 Clayton Latimer

Wide Receivers

  • 3 Tyrik Tucker
  • 4 Michael Johnson
  • 7 Thabiso Mpofu
  • 9 William Browning
  • 10 Neil Dempsey
  • 13 Ben Bingham
  • 14 Lewis Harvey
  • 16 Daniel Costello
  • 17 Kayode Dennis
  • 81 Ryan Smith
  • 83 Kurtis Pye

Offensive Line

  • 63 Oliver Howes
  • 64 Jess Guthrie
  • 65 James Abraham
  • 66 Jamie Carter
  • 68 Ady Queripel
  • 73 Dion Duke
  • 75 Jonathan Williams
  • 77 Mark Finbow

Defensive Line

  • 55 Mike Lee
  • 61 Chris Fenton
  • 64 Jess Guthrie
  • 69 Jack Harness
  • 72 Chris Pike
  • 79 Callum Laing
  • 91 Callum O'Connor
  • 92 Victoria Ware
  • 93 Michal Leszewski
  • 97 Tyrone Green-Molloy

Linebackers

  • 5 Jonny Hodgson
  • 25 Chris Carter
  • 40 Dan Smith
  • 45 Ben Beales
  • 48 Kieron McKeough
  • 56 Hayden Whiffen
  • 57 Ben Bailey

Defensive Backs

  • 1 Tom Mann
  • 19 Gregg Prettyjohns
  • 20 Brett Hartley
  • 22 Ethan Harlan
  • 44 Mikey McLaughlin
  • 45 Ben Beales
  • 85 Guy Milne
  • 87 Maleek Addae

Kickers & Punters

  • 9 William Browning
  • 25 Chris Carter
  • 77 Mark Finbow

See also

References

  1. ^ "Club History: RAF Wyton Eagles". Britball Now. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Club History: Cambridge County Cats". Britball Now. Archived from the original on 30 October 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  3. ^ "1985 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  4. ^ "1986 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  5. ^ "1987 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 26 November 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  6. ^ "1988 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  7. ^ "1989 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 31 August 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  8. ^ "1990 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  9. ^ "1993 League Results". Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  10. ^ "1993 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  11. ^ "1994 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  12. ^ "1995 League Results". Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  13. ^ "1995 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  14. ^ "1996 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 13 April 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  15. ^ "1997 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  16. ^ "1997 League Results". Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 23 May 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  17. ^ "1998 League Standings" (XLS). Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  18. ^ "Club History: Cambridgeshire Cats". Archived from the original on 10 June 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  19. ^ "2002 League Standings". Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  20. ^ "2003 League Standings". Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  21. ^ "2004 League Standings". Britball Now. 20 December 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  22. ^ "2005 League Standings". Britball Now. 2 January 2006. Archived from the original (XLS) on 10 February 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  23. ^ "2006 League Standings". Britball Now. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original (XLS) on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  24. ^ "2007 League Standings". Britball Now. 17 November 2007. Archived from the original (XLS) on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2008.