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Lincolnshire Bombers
Lincolnshire Bombers Helmet Logo.png
Founded1984
2005 (reformed)
LeagueBAFA National Leagues
DivisionNFC South 2
LocationNorth Hykeham, Lincolnshire
StadiumNorth Hykeham RUFC, Memorial Hall
ColoursBlack Helmets
Red and Black Jerseys
Black Pants
Head coachMichael Etheridge
General managerBarry Howorth
Division titles1993
Playoff berths1988, 1989, 1993, 2018, 2019
Websitewww.lincolnshirebombers.co.uk

The Lincolnshire Bombers are a British American football team based in North Hykeham, Lincolnshire, England.[1] The team in its current form was founded in 2005.[1] They currently play in the BAFA NFC South 2 for the 2019 season.[2] The original team the Lincoln Bombers were formed in the late 1980s and in 1992 the team was renamed the Lincoln Saints.[3] The Saints were 1993 National First Division champions. Following several mergers with other regional clubs The Saints disbanded leaving the county without an American Football team until the club reformed in 2005.

History

Early history

American football was first played in Lincolnshire in the early 1980s, with sides such as the Scunthorpe Steelers, Boston Blitz and Lincoln Bombers being the county's first exponents of the sport. The 1990s saw a period of change after Scunthorpe's demise, the Lincoln Bombers became the Lincoln Saints, going on to achieve glory by lifting the BNGL First Division title in 1993; the Boston/South Lincs Blitz would eventually merge with nearby teams in King's Lynn and Peterborough to form the North Sea Hurricanes. Both teams would eventually disappear in the mid nineties; however a strong youth presence would be maintained in the county with the Haven/UCLA club in Boston and the Lincoln/Doncaster merger in the UDL Longhorns.

The Lincoln Saints, who evolved from the Bombers' original incarnation, participated in the British National Gridiron League between 1992 and 1993. The side won the 1993 BNGL First Division Bowl with a 51–14 win against Redbridge Fire.[4] The Haven/UCLA outfit converted to senior football at the turn of the millennium and would become known as the East Midland Saxons senior team. Having lost their facilities in 2002 the team moved to Spalding for two seasons and then, after reorganisation, moved out of the county to Peterborough. In 2005 Lincolnshire was effectively without gridiron of any sort until the arrival of team founder Iain Bushell. Iain had played previously for the Manchester Titans and Teesside Cougars clubs and on his relocation to Lincoln was keen to revive the sport in the county.

Reformation

The name "Bombers" was resurrected due to the county's continuing links with the Royal Air Force, and Bushell's personal links with the RAF Waddington base. He was initially helped in his task by former Bombers and Saints kicker, Nigel Smith. He then recruited former Haven/UCLA & East Midland GM and head coach Pat Megginson who was looking for a new challenge since leaving the (now) Peterborough-based Saxons. A healthy squad started to take shape featuring ex-Nottingham Caesars players – and one-time Lincoln juniors – Ian Askew and Neil Armitage plus former Haven/UCLA and East Midland Saxons players Nige Epton, Mat Dean and Chris Henry. Former Saints coach Tony Hughes, Herts University player/coach Jeremy Brown, Dale Bridges and David Quincey (returning to football from the old Boston Blitz organisation) helped strengthen the club off the pitch, along with a highly professional management team. The Bombers are now a truly county wide team, with members now representing a number of towns across Lincolnshire putting the county firmly back on the Gridiron map.

2012 season

After one of the longest losing streaks in British league history, the Bombers finally won on the opening day of the 2012 season against the Durham County Presidents.[5] The 2012 season will go down as one of the worst seasons, weather-wise, for British American football. Having the season shortened due to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics was issue enough but then persistent rain only made things worse when trying to reschedule matches. Unfortunately, the Bombers had to accept a 1–1 draw for their home match against the Sheffield Predators due first to a waterlogged pitch and then the inability of BAFRA to provide referees for the rescheduled match. Crewe Railroaders visited RAF Cranwell on 8 July and were soundly beaten by the Bombers, 53–8. An eleventh-hour save by the management teams at Staffordshire Surge, Lincolnshire Bombers and Crewe Railroaders allowed the return fixture between the Railroaders and the Bombers to take place at the Longton Rugby Club on 15 July, after the weather left Crewe with a waterlogged pitch. The result of this match was a 30–30 tie. The Bombers closed out their best season to date with a win over the DC Presidents with the final score of 39–9.[6]

The American revolution

In 2013 Texas native Michael Etheridge took over as head coach and the following year the team would go on to add fellow Americans to the roster. Laron Worsley (RB), Eddie Parliman (LB), Michael Brewer (DL) and Jonathan Culver (WR) The star performer would be Culver, who could operate at quarterback and running back if called upon. The team were voted the "BAFA Underdog of the Year" for the 2014 season following a 4–5–1 record in which the team pulled off impressive victories over the Oxford Saints, Sandwell Steelers, Peterborough Saxons and the Shropshire Revolution. At the end of the season Jonathan Culver scooped the end of season awards but was the only American player retained for 2015, although he would be joined by quarterback Taylor Umland.

The Bombers' 2015 campaign was hit and miss with a substantial amount of injuries effecting a promising and play-off chasing season. The team would finish the year with a 4–6 record in the newly formed BAFA NFC 2. Offensive Linemen Mikey Gray, a former local wrestler would scoop all the major awards at the end of the season, while the departing Jonathan Culver was inducted into the Bombers' Hall of Fame. In 2016 The Bombers suffered an exodus of playing staff during the off-season which culminated in the loss of some of the club's better players. A fresh-faced Bombers unit heavily loaded with rookies battled to a 0-10 record.

Winning season

The 2017 season saw the Lincolnshire Bombers post up their first ever winning season. Victories over the Staffordshire Surge and Halton Spartans as well as double wins over Humber Warhawks and Crewe Railroaders saw the Bombers finish with a 6-4 record. A final day 15–9 defeat to the Chester Romans was the only thing preventing them from making their first ever play-off appearance.

Bombers making history

After the denial of a chance of the playoffs in the previous season, the Lincolnshire Bombers defied the odds. Going in to the middle of the 2018 season with a 0-4 record, both losses to the recently relegated Birmingham Bulls (American football) and eventual Division 2 South champions Staffordshire Surge, it was questionable as to whether they would appear. Then after an inspiring speech from their head coach, Michael Etheridge, the Bombers got their much needed first win against the Knottingley Raiders. This provided the momentum to give their next three wins against Crewe Railroaders, Humber Warhawks and second win against Knottingley Raiders to bring their record to 4-4. The 50-26 win against the Knottingley Raiders made the Bombers the highest scoring team in the BAFANL Division 2 South, scoring 241 points making an average of 30.125 ppg.[7] The first playoff match in their 13 year history was met with defeat from the Chester Romans with a final score of 6-46.

The 2019 season saw another progression for the Bombers. A return to the play-offs would ensue following a regular season best 6-2 finish including home and away victories over the 2018 Divisional Champions Staffordshire Surge. The post-season campaign would fall short at the hands of the eventual Division 2 North Champions Inverclyde Goliaths 22-18 in the Bombers first-ever home play-off game after reforming.

Name

The Bombers take their name from "Bomber County" the nickname given to Lincolnshire during World War II which was home to a large concentration of Royal Air Force and USAAF bomber stations. The Bombers were initially just called the Lincoln Bombers but prior to finding out whether or not they had made it into the BAFL for 2007, it was decided that they would, from then on, be known as the Lincolnshire Bombers. Reasons include media coverage throughout the county, and the desire to represent the home towns of many of the players.

Bombers Youths

The Lincolnshire Bombers Youth team, ages 14–19 began operating in the 2015 season under the stewardship of club founder, Iain Bushell. The Bombers U17 side became North East champions in 2016 and qualified for the national play-offs.[8]

Home ground

Between 1992 and 1993, The Lincoln Saints played their home games at Mulsanne Park, the home ground of association football club Nettleham F.C. Having been reformed in 2005, The Bombers played their home games at RAF Cranwell near Sleaford but moved to operate from Christ's Hospital School close to Lincoln Cathedral. In 2018 the club moved to Memorial Hall in North Hykeham. The club's current training ground is the Rugby field at HMP Lincoln Prison having previously trained in the town of North Hykeham.

Hall of Fame

Former Head Coach, Tony Hughes was inducted into the Bombers Hall of Fame in 2014 as well as General Manager Mark Harrison. Also inducted was Quarter Back and club founder Iain Bushell and in 2015 American wide receiver Jonathan Culver was also inducted.[9]
England Iain Bushell (QB) 2005-2014
United States Jonathan Culver (WR) 2013-2015
England Mark Harrison (DL) 2005-2011
England Tony Hughes (Head Coach) 1987-1989
England Michael Sharp (OL) 2010-2016

Coaching staff

Role Name
Head Coach United States Michael Etheridge
Offensive Coordinator England Nich Bagnall
Defensive Coordinator United States Michael Etheridge
Defensive Backs Coach England Maurice Maynard
Defensive Assistant Coach England Tony Hughes
Offensive Line Coach England Chris George
Running Backs Coach Republic of Ireland Jay Clinton
Assistant Coach England Tom Crabtree
Assistant Offensive Line Coach England Toby Wilcock
Special Teams Coach Republic of Ireland Jay Clinton
Youth Team Head Coach England Tony Marflitt
Youth Team Coach England Scott Harrington
Youth Team Coach England Barry Howorth
Youth Team Coach England Ryan Dean
Youth Team Coach England Wayne Rodger
Assistant Coach England Toby Wilcock
Youth Team Coach England Alan Chambers

Roster

Quarterbacks

  • England Andy Bagnall
  • England Lewis Colver
  • England Mike Sison

Running Backs & Full Backs

  • England Jamie Ewens
  • England Jordan Hukin
  • England Jack Paddison
  • England Ross Wheatley
  • England Rich Brooksby
  • England Nathan Haymer-Bates

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

  • England Adam Bailey
  • England Connor Facey
  • England Stu Fletcher
  • England Tom Goodey
  • England Russell Moore
  • England Stuart Morgan
  • England Morgan Page
  • England Ryan Wakeling
  • England Josh Owens
  • England Kyle Deans
  • England Jordan Hancock

Offensive Linemen

  • England James Benson
  • England Martin Brearley
  • England Mark Drury-Bould
  • England Mikey Gray
  • Northern Ireland Johnny Johnston
  • England Dan Hickson
  • England Tony Marflitt
  • England Ricky Smart
  • England Toby Wilcock
  • Ghana Charles Osei
  • England Callum Restall

Defensive Linemen

  • England Kris Ashton
  • England Mathew Benson
  • England George Gaunt
  • England Buffalo Bailey
  • England Joe Hickson
  • England Neil Jefferson
  • United States CJ McAllister
  • England Owen Firth
  • Scotland Kyle Black
  • England Jason Cole
  • England Ben Pardey

Linebackers

  • England Ben Beales
  • England Scott Harrington
  • England Ben Harris
  • England Alex Garrow
  • England Graham Owens
  • England Simon Piggott
  • United States Korey Rankin
  • England Joe Pinkstone
  • England Adam Simeoni
  • England Liam Stephenson

Defensive Backs

  • Lithuania Robertas Benuisis
  • England James Burgin
  • England Rob Farr
  • England Matt Hale
  • England Ryan Hicks
  • England Callum Huckle
  • England Luke Pearson
  • England Ben Price
  • England Wayne Rodger
  • England Ben Smith
  • England Chris Wilson

Player of the Season

Year Player's Player of the Year Coaches Player of the Year
2013 England Scott Harrington (LB) England Tom Hutchinson (DB)
2014 United States Jonathan Culver (WR) England Kevan Woollas (DL)
2015 England Mikey Gray (OL) England Mikey Gray (OL)
2016 Ghana Charles Osei (OL) Ghana Charles Osei (OL)
2017 England Andy Bagnall (QB) England Jack Paddison (RB)

Team Records

Regular season

Complete records for the club under all three identities. 1987 to 1989 as Lincoln Bombers, 1992 to 1993 as Lincoln Saints and 2006 to present day for Lincolnshire Bombers.[10]

Year Division Wins Lossess Ties Percentage
1987 UKAFL Central B 8 2 0 0.800
1988 Budweiser
League
Division 1 7 3 0 0.700
1989
Duke League
Premier Division 7 3 0 0.700
1992
BNGL
Division 1 North Midlands 4 6 0 0.400
1993
BNGL
Division 1 North 9 1 0 0.900
2006
BAFL
Division Two Northern 0 10 0 0.000
2007
BAFL
Eastern Conference Two 1 9 0 0.100
2008
BAFL
Eastern Conference Two 0 10 0 0.000
2009
BAFL
Eastern Conference Two 0 10 0 0.000
2010
BAFL
Eastern Conference Two 0 10 0 0.000
2011 BAFANL Eastern Conference Two 0 10 0 0.000
2012 BAFANL Central Conference 2 4 4 2 0.500
2013 BAFANL National Central 0 10 0 0.000
2014 BAFANL National Central 4 5 1 0.455
2015 BAFANL Northern Conference South 2 4 6 0 0.400
2016 BAFANL Northern Conference South 2 0 10 0 0.000
2017 BAFANL Northern Conference South 2 6 4 0 0.600
2018 BAFANL Northern Conference South 2 4 4 0 0.500
2019 BAFANL Northern Conference South 2 6 2 0 0.750
2020 BAFANL Northern Conference South 2 - - - -
2021 BAFANL Central East 2 6 0 0.200

Playoffs

[10]

Year Stage Opponent W/L Score
1988 Budweiser Division 1 Quarter Final Ipswich Cardinals Loss 14-62
1989 Duke Premier Division Quarter Final KL Rebels Loss 3-18
1993 BNGL Division 1 Quarter Final Yorkshire Rams Won 21-13
1993 BNGL Division 1 Semi Final Cambridge Cats Won 31-27
1993 BNGL Division 1 Final Redbridge Fire Won 51-14
2018 BAFANL Division 2 Quarter Final Chester Romans Loss 6-46
2019 BAFANL Division 2 Quarter Final Inverclyde Goliaths Loss 18-22

Honours

References

  1. ^ a b "American football in Lincolnshire". BBC.co.uk. BBC News. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Standings 15". dblcoverage.com. Double Coverage. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  3. ^ "LINCOLN BOMBERS". britballnow.co.uk. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Lincoln Saints". Britballnow.co.uk.
  5. ^ DC Presidents at Lincolnshire Bombers, 15 April 2012
  6. ^ Hill, John. "Bombers blast past Presidents for big win". Double Coverage. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  7. ^ http://dblcoverage.com/adult/bafa-nl-nfc-2-south/
  8. ^ "About".
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2015-10-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b "Historical League Tables in the UK | BritballNow".