Bournemouth has a history of American Football dating back to the 1980s, with a number of different names but always a passion for the sport. The current Bobcats were reformed in 2009 and are looking to build once more and are looking ahead with determination to 2018. Keith Barnes, the club’s General Manager, gives us an insight into the club and why you should come and join them!
- When was your club formed, where and by who?
The Bournemouth Bobcats were the premier American Football team on the South Coast between 1986 and 1991. The Bobcats won the Budweiser Premier Bowl in 1987, and competed at the top level of the game in the UK from 1988 to 1991. At the end of 1991, the Bobcats folded and a new team, the Bournemouth Buccaneers arose in their place. The Bucs won the BNGL National Bowl in 1993.
In 2009 the Bobcats were reformed by Tim Iles and in 2010 they entered the newly founded British American Football Association Community League (BAFCL) as association team where they played 5 games (2-3). They concluded their association year with a 38 – 0 win over the Plymouth Spirit and 34-12 away win over Bristol Apache and successfully qualified to enter the league in 2011.
2012 saw the Bobcats re-enter the British leagues after 20 years with a new Head Coach, Derek Burridge. It was an excellent inaugural season that ended up with and exceptional 4 and 6 record with wins against 3 out of the 5 clubs in the division.
2013 saw Mark Newell take over the role as Head Coach. However 2013 was a disappointing year for the team with them ending up with a 1 and 9 season. The only win being a hard fought last game of the season against rookie team Swindon Storm resulting in a 14 – 13 win.
2014 and 2015 seasons were successful in some ways and disappointing in others. Led by Head Coach Tim Iles, who took on a multitude of responsibilities, The Bobcats went 4-6 last season with wins home and away against Portsmouth and Hastings. The away win at Hastings was one of the most courageous performances of the Bobcats who travelled light in squad numbers, had a number of key players either missing or playing both ways and also had to wait for an hour after one of the Bobcats players received treatment for a serious leg injury.
The 2016 season saw a change within the coaching staff. Simon Mclean became the head coach, supported by Rich Ackroyd, Pat Bedford and Sam Williams. The season saw the Bobcats playing in the SFC II South division with old foes Hastings and Portsmouth as well as new rivals the Maidstone Pumas, Berkshire Renegades and the East Kent Mavericks.The Bobcats finished the season 7-3 and missed out on the play offs by a quarter after leading against the East Kent Mavericks with 15 minutes to play. Unfortunately an ejection of the Bobcat QB meant the Bobcats were unable to hold on for the win.
The 2017 season can be summed up simply as ‘the year everyone got injured’.
The upcoming season sees a change within the management of the club with myself, Keith Barnes, taking up the mantel of General Manager with Simon McLean as Head Coach and Pat Bedford and Sam Williams as Defensive Co-ordinators.
- What teams do you currently have?
We currently have a seniors team and have close links with the towns university team the BU Bobcats. We have the resources to run a youth team but low numbers over the last few seasons have meant we have been unable to run a full team. This is something we would love to run in the future.
- Where and when do you train?
We train twice a week with strength and conditioning on a Tuesday evening on a flood-lit field and a full training session on Saturday mornings.
- What are your plans for the next twelve months?
We will be holding open sessions in January with a view to add new members to the Bobcat family and compete in the 2018 BAFA season, solely with the goal to make the play-offs.
- Why should people get into American Football?
American football is a game that does not discriminate against size, speed or strength. There is a role for all who have the passion to play a game that commands you play as a team and protect and support your brother. There is no other game that brings the explosive speed, power and mental aptitude like American football which is effectively chess on steroids.
- What would you consider the clubs greatest achievement?
We are a team steeped in history but are also a team that is built on family and regardless of what happens on the scoreboard, we stick together through every and all games.
- Do you have any players and coaches of note – past or present?
In 2009, Tim Iles set up the current incarnation of the club and single-handedly built a family. As a full-back, he was the hardest hitting SOB in the league and regulary ran over players on his way to multiple 80+ yard TD’s.
- Why should people join the Bournemouth Bobcats?
We are a growing club who have benefited from grants and sponsors (shout out to the Grosvenor Casino Bournemouth) which have enabled us to buy new training equipment and resource a potential partnership with a local rugby club which will see us have access to a flood-lit field, clubhouse and game day provisions such as hot food and a bouncy castle.
We are a club that found its stride with a strong Quarterback, vicious defence and clear vision.
- What would be your favourite football moment ever – either domestic or international?
OBJ lighting up the league with his one handed catch that reignited a lot of peoples passion of the flair of the game.
- Please sum up your club in 25 words or less!
More than a club, a family (who love to run hard, play quick and hit even harder).
- Can you provide contact details for people wishing to join the club
Youtube: Bournemouth Bobcats