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VARSITY BOWL Coldham’s Common Saturday 17 May 2014 th

VIII KO 13:00

Cambridge Pythons Vs. Oxford Lancers

Pythons.org.uk

@PythonsAFC

/CambridgePythons


CREDITS EDITOR

Steve Guy

ASSISTANT EDITORS

Tom Carr, Guy Peters, Martin Steers, Jack Tavener

PHOTOGRAPHY

Rob Guy, Garry Neesam, Chris Moore, Jatinder Sahota

DESIGN

Tom Carr

CAMBRIDGE PYTHONS SEASON 2013/14 www.pythons.org.uk www.facebook.com/CambridgePythons Twitter: @PythonsAFC Email: info@pythons.org.uk Head Coach & Def. Coordinator: Julian Fuller Asst. Head Coach & Off. Coordinator: Len Scott Assistant Coach: Craig Driver Assistant Coach: Gary Villiers Team President: Guy Peters Co-General Manager: Steve Guy Co-General Manager: Martin Steers Gameday Manager: Peter Baker

With the support of

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Welcome

from the President

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ello and welcome to the 8th American Football Varsity game, affectionately known as the Varsity Bowl. It is Cambridge’s honor to hold the game on their home pitch of Coldham’s Common this year. Varsity is the biggest day in most sporting calendars for both Oxford and Cambridge students. The stakes are high. With an 800 year rivalry comes an intense atmosphere of pride, competition, and camaraderie whenever these two sides meet. This season has seen stalwarts of the 2012/13 Pythons squad depleted. With only a small contingent of returning players it seemed that the team would struggle before the season had even started. The tireless efforts of the players over the first weeks of term saw an influx of strong athletic talent into the team, ensuring the success of the Pythons for future years. Together the team grew from a small side of only 18 men, playing against tough competition, to a powerhouse that would go on to win 7 consecutive victories. The losses incurred in the first and last games of the season against national finalists were to highlight improvements for the future. Overall the season was an incredible feat, and one that I hope will be eclipsed in the next. I am extremely impressed with the range of talent that I have witnessed both on and off the field. This year also saw the departure of captain, ex-president, and re-founder Thomas Piachaud. Leaving part way through the season he has left a considerable hole in the team which no one could fill. A friend to us all, the club and I wish him all the best as he continues his time teaching and travelling in China.

Guy Peters

President Cambridge Pythons American Football Club

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A Season of Success BUAFL South Central Conference W L Herfordshire Hurricanes 8 0 Cambridge Pythons 7 1 Kent Falcons 5 2 UEA Pirates 5 3 Northampton Nemisis 4 3 BNU Buccaneers 3 5 Canterbury Chargers 1 6 Anglia Ruskin Rhinos 1 7 Essex Blades 0 7

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he 2013/14 season was the third and most successful so far for the Pythons since reforming. Although the campaign opened with a shutout defeat in Hatfield against the highly-fancied Herts team, the season for the Pythons truly started with their own dominant shutout win away at Kent (this would be the first of four clean sheets for the Pythons this season). The first home game of the season, and the last game of 2013, saw a crucial victory over Northampton secured with a Jack Tavener field goal with 20 seconds left on the clock. Following a long interval over Christmas the first game of 2014 took place on Super Bowl Sunday, as the Pythons dismantled cross-town rivals Anglia Ruskin 52-0. Essex were the next to feel the Python power as a season-high 62 points were scored. The key victory of the season was the hard-fought 22-6 win over playoff rival UEA (a long-standing rivalry dating back to the early 1990s). The final home game of the season saw Canterbury heavily defeated before the Pythons travelled to BNU for a final shutout victory – the seventh victory in a row.

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A 7-1 regular season record was good enough for second place in the South Central Conference, qualification into the National Playoffs ranked #13 in the country and an away playoff game against the reigning national champion Birmingham Lions. This proved a bridge too far for the Pythons with a 55-0 defeat – no shame against such a powerful team as Birmingham who would eventually finish runners-up to Stirling in the National Championship Game. The Pythons learnt a great deal from this match and look forward to building on this and their excellent season for 2014/15.

Regular Season 17/11/13 @ Hertfordshire L 0-49 24/11/13 @ Kent W 20-0 30/11/13 v Northampton W 9-6 02/02/14 @ Anglia Ruskin W 52-0 09/02/14 v Essex W 62-0 16/02/14 v UEA W 22-6 23/02/14 v Canterbury W 44-6 02/03/14 @ BNU W 34-0 Playoffs 09/03/14 @ Birmingham L 0-55

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Meet the Pythons

1 Yusuf Parray - Before coming to Cambridge to study his Masters, the Californian played football for the University of Michigan. Injury limited his appearances this season. 3 Sebastian Funk – See interview (pages 11-12) 5 Taki Kokbuku – Played football in his native Japan before coming to Cambridge. The highlight of his season was recovering an onside kick in the Anglia Ruskin game. 6 Nick Roope – A key contributor in the 2011/12 & 2012/13 seasons. A serious injury meant he did not take to the field in the 2013/14 regular season. 8 Joseph Yarwood – Starting quarterback for the Pythons for each of the past three seasons. The Londoner had never played the game prior to joining the Pythons. 9 Kevin Maloney – Played high school football to a high level in his native Oregon before making the football team at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. 10 Jaason Geerts – A Canadian of Dutch descent studying for a PhD at Cambridge. The oldest player in the squad and a vocal team leader. A physical presence at wide receiver. 13 Jonty Richardson – His conversion from wide receiver to running back has been one of the success stories of the Pythons season with some powerful performances. 14 Akilesh Mulay –Aki has played at both quarterback and wide receiver in his first season with the team. In the first year of a medical degree, so should be around a while yet. 15 Jack Stafford – A solid and reliable linebacker from Devon studying Architecture. A keen surfer and snowboarder. 20 Joe Moore – A rookie sensation this season at running back. His electrifying speed was too much for many opposition teams to handle. 25 Tom Carr – Previously played for the University of Westminster. Primarily a blitzing linebacker with an eye for the big play, but he also made some key plays on offense. 29 Sam Thompson – This defensive back from Kent is instantly recognizable with his long mane of hair. A big fan of heavy metal and all Boston sports teams. 30 Hao Wang – Defensive back and a native of China. Studying chemistry at Cambridge. Prior to coming here he studied in America. 32 Jack Tavener –Multi-purpose running back, defensive back and kicker before injury meant he missed a large part of this season. 35 Tom Reynolds – Dependable Cornish linebacker studying his masters at Cambridge. A keen rower. This will be his last game as a Python. 36 Brad Idzik – Prior to coming to Cambridge he played for Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Football is the family business, with both his father (executive) and grandfather (coach) having jobs in the NFL. 42 Guy Peters – Current team president. Now in his third season with the team. Leads the team with 5 interceptions this season.

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47 Alex Brew – Ex Cardiff University running back. Also played linebacker this season with a huge performance versus Kent (2 interceptions and 1 rushing touchdown). 49 Richard Hobbs – A rookie who joined the team mid-season. Another heavy metal fan and another Londoner. 51 Thomas Piachaud – Team founder and also president for the first two seasons. A dominant lineman on both offense and defense. He was voted on to the 2011/12 Double Coverage All-BUAFL team as a defensive lineman. Threw a touchdown pass vs Anglia Ruskin! 52 Sam Alderson – Rookie defensive lineman who has made a big impact as a pass rusher. Scored a touchdown after sacking the quarterback and stripping the ball against BNU. 54 George Bickers – Rookie defensive lineman from Essex. Easily recognisable as he is the only Python player with a beard. This will be his last game as a Python. 56 Brendan Loftus – Playmaking defensive lineman from Illinois. His touchdown against Essex where he sacked the quarterback, stripped the ball then ran 20 yards to cap a 62-0 victory was a highlight of the season. 57 Ed Cozens – Now in his third year with the team, an injury picked up in the first game of the season against Herts meant very little action this season for this explosive lineman. 61 Stefan Arridge – Primarily an offensive lineman. In his three seasons with the team he has proved himself a dependable presence. Also plays for the Watford Cheetahs in the senior league. 68 Peter Campbell – The only Scot on the current roster. He has taken very well to his role as a lineman in his rookie season. 70 Oliver Tattersall – Dependable offensive lineman from Chester. Now in his third season with the team. Wore #69 for his first two seasons. 75 Tim Allen – Pass rushing defensive lineman and PhD student. Scored a fumble recovery touchdown in the game last season away to Westminster. 77 Brahma Mohanty – Offensive lineman from Manchester. Previously played for the University of Exeter. This will be his last game as a Python. 78 Ram Sarujan – A fan of the St Louis Rams (appropriately!). Played most of this season at center. Previously wore #50. This will be his last game as a Python. 80 James Stratford – Rookie wide receiver from Essex studying Engineering at Cambridge. Has improved with every game this season. 83 Alistair Gempf – Wide receiver in his first season with the team. Injury has limited his appearances so far. Plays with Stefan Arridge at the Watford Cheetahs. 91 Tom Southern – Another one of the heavy metal fans. A rookie from London who joined the team mid-season. 94 Jake Moore – The Pennsylvanian has made big plays on both sides of the ball this season as a wide receiver and defensive back. No relation to Joe Moore. 97 Adrian Ball – A rookie linebacker with a background in rugby who has made a real impact on the team in his short time with us as a special teams gunner.

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Team Roster

Cambridge

1 3 5 8 9 10 13 14 15 20 25 29 30 32 35 36 42 47 49 51 52 54 56 57 61 68 70 75 77 78 80 83 91 94 97

Yusuf Parray Sebastian Funk Taki Kokbuku Joseph Yarwood Kevin Maloney Jaason Geerts Jonty Richardson Akilesh Mulay Jack Stafford Joe Moore Tom Carr Sam Thompson Hao Wang Jack Tavener Tom Reynolds Brad Idzik Guy Peters Alex Brew Richard Hobbs Thomas Piachaud Sam Alderson George Bickers Brendan Loftus Ed Cozens Stefan Arridge Peter Campbell Oliver Tattersall Tim Allen Brahma Mohanty Ram Sarujan James Stratford Alistair Gempf Tom Southern Jacob Moore Adrian Ball

C SC

C

P

C

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Team Roster Oxford

1 5 6 8 10 12 15 17 19 21 22 23 27 32 33 38 45 52 54 55 66 68 69 70 77 79 84 85 88

Steven Patch Daniel Vasquez Ryan Davies Panayiotis Christoforou Massoud Nezam William Szymanski Benjamin Schanker Thomas Mattinson Billy Hupp Stuart Sanders Benjamin Gronvold Ian Simester Benedict Shillito Thomas Fox Nick Cooper Jonathan Brooks-Bartlett Ilia Onischenko Benjamin Lacey Joseph Edwards Elliot Neale Joe Sorrell Oliver Carnell Ben Dobson Thomas Posa Matthew English Michael Gowland James Crooks Jason Cheverton Kieran Keel Jamie Papasavvas Gareth Pease

C

C

C SC/P

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The Rivals BUAFL South Coastal Conference W L Brighton Tsunami 8 0 Southampton Stags 7 1 Portsmouth Destroyers 6 2 Surrey Stingers 5 3 OBU Panthers 4 4 Reading Knights 2 5 Solent Redhawks 2 6 Sussex Saxons 1 6 Oxford Lancers 0 8

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xford have now completed two seasons in the BUAFL since they reformed but have not yet logged a victory. The glory days for Oxford University American football of the early noughties (2001 National Champions, then 2002 runner-up in the National Championship game) must seem like a long time ago after two consecutive winless seasons. Regular Season 10/11/13 v Brighton L 0-48 24/11/13 @ Sussex L 40-18 01/12/13 @ Portsmouth L 40-7 06/12/13 v Reading L 0-30 02/02/14 v OBU L 0-16 16/02/14 @ Southampton L 6-63 23/02/14 @ Surrey L 0-1 (Forfeit) 02/03/14 @ Solent L 0-56

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The Dark Blues go into today’s game as serious underdogs against a Cambridge team that finished the season ranked #13 in the country, but have shown in the previous two Varsity Bowls that they can more than give Cambridge a game – the 2012 game was a 14-14 tie and last year they ran the Light Blues close in a 20-13 defeat, so expect the formbook to go out of the window with today’s game.

Historic results - Home team listed first 1991 Cambridge 26 - 12 Oxford 1992 Oxford 6 - 35 Cambridge 1993 Oxford 0 - 28 Cambridge 1994 Oxford 20 - 8 Cambridge 1995 Cambridge 33 - 7 Oxford 2012 Cambridge 14 - 14 Oxford 2013 Oxford 13 - Cambridge 20

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Life with the Pythons Name: Sebastian Funk College: Churchill, Subject: Computer Science, 3rd year (final year) Hometown: Freiburg, Germany What is your usual playing position? “In Germany, I started out as WR but quickly moved to QB and played that position for four years until joining the Pythons. Over the last three years with the Pythons, I’ve mostly played slotback on offense and, as of this year, linebacker on defense (as well as various special teams). I really enjoyed being able to see the game from different positions and get a feel for what “the other side” is doing.” What is the best thing about being a Python? “For me it’s the way everybody pulls together in this team. As we’re quite a young team, a lot of things that other teams take for granted need to be built up and organized. From mid-week practice sessions to game day equipment to advertising and recruiting to stepping up in the game. I’m really impressed with the effort every Python puts in on and off the field to make all of this work so successfully. I think this team has shown its impressive potential on the field to everyone. But that’s not all it takes to build a long-standing tradition around the club. We are on the right path to becoming an established institution for American Football in Cambridge. This willingness to stand up for the team across the board is what makes the Pythons unique.” Have you found it difficult being the only German in the team? “Not at all. I have always felt very integrated. I remember on the morning of one away game last season, where a few Americans unexpectedly didn’t show up, the team decided to just win “UK-style and oh, with the one German”. And even the famous WWII speeches by Coach Fuller have never failed to get me hyped for a game!”

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What has been your personal highlights/best memories in your time with the team so far? “This season’s game against Northampton was amongst my favorite games I’ve ever played. We went into this game, low on numbers and as underdogs against an undefeated team who was sure of winning. Nevertheless, we faced the odds and beat them 9-6 in a hard-fought game. I think it was at this point that I realized how much strength lies in the Pythons as a team, where everyone is willing to step in for someone else and help out.” The team went 7-1 this season and was ranked #13 nationally. This is a great achievement for what is a program in its third year. What would be a realistic goal for next season? “I think with good recruitment early in the year we can definitely aim to make the playoffs again and advance further this time. After this season we don’t have to be afraid to take on any team, no matter how established, long-running or big it is!” Oxford come into this game on after a winless season. Do they come into this game with any chance of an upset? “The varsity game always has been a game completely on its own, where previous results from the season barely matter. It will be 11 on 11 out there, with both teams wanting to win every play. I expect a good fight from Oxford this year.”

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American Football

in Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire Cats

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Formed: 1984 Home Field: Coldhams’ Common Conference: Premiership South Cambridgeshirecats.com Facebook.com/cambridgeshirecats

ormed in the mid 80’s the Cambridgshire Cats held several divisional titles and appeared in numerous playoff games before folding in 1998. The team reformed in 2002, going on to win the South East Division One title before being eventually knocked out of the National title competition by Tamworth Phoenix. Currently the club fields both a Senior and Junior team, with the latter catering for players between the ages of 16 to 18. The Senior squad competes in the Premiership South Division at the highest level of British American Football.

Anglia Ruskin Rhinos

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Formed: 2012 Home Field: Coldhams’ Common Conference: BUAFL South Central Facebook.com/RuskinRhinos

he recently formed Anglia Ruskin University team shares both home field and BUCS conference with the Pythons. The cross-town rivalry has culminated for the last two years in the Coldham’s Bowl. The stakes are high, with both bragging rights and conference position on the line. So far the Pythons have convincingly won both games and as such lead the series 2-0. With full Student Union support the team is likely to grow and improve in the future.

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Our tribute to

#93 Nick Robbins

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t was with great sadness that the Pythons recently learnt that a former Pythons player, Nick Robbins, has been receiving care in a hospice for (as he put it) “a nasty case of terminal cancer� – a testament to Nick and his attitude toward life, which made him a hugely likeable member of the team. A former defensive lineman at the Pythons, he played in the 1990s and was part of the team that reached College Bowl IX (the National Final) before embarking upon a career with the RAF. When chatting to us he described the fantastic comradery of his playing days; the only other place he has found anything similar was on Ops in Afghanistan. Coaches and players alike have described him as an allround nice guy who they were delighted to have as part of the team. The entire Pythons squad is thinking of you Nick and wishes you and all your family the very best. We hope to do all we can in the coming months to keep your Pythons spirit high and today all players will be wearing #93 on their helmets so you are here with us as we step out onto the field.

We want to get in touch with our alumni and help people reconnect and keep up to date with the Pythons. We our launching our alumni newsletter soon, to register or share your news email alumni@pythons.org.uk or head to pythons.org.uk/alumni

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Varsity bowl 2014