Colonials bank on American football boom

Back on track: Lincoln Colonials on the up after defeating Hull.

When you watch the two walls of players crash into each other, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were watching a brawl rather than a sport. But this dynamic collision is second nature to members of the Lincoln Colonials — University of Lincoln’s American football team.

The Colonials, who formed back in 2003, are part of the British Universities American Football League and currently play in Conference Two South — a division which they currently prop up. After five straight losses this season and 177 points conceded, it looked as if the Colonials season was destined to be a disappointment.

However, the recent 20-14 victory over their fierce rivals, the Hull University team UCH Sharks, has given President Sam Deakin and his team mates a much-needed boost. Speaking after a midweek training session, wide receiver Sam Hunt said that the win over Hull had given the team a huge lift.

“It definitely relieves the tension,” said Hunt, a second year Media Production student. “It makes us feel better about ourselves as a team and we can take the enthusiasm we have into the games we have left.”

There was a time when American football was something of an unknown entity on this side of the Atlantic with the majority of British sports fans seeing the game as too lengthy, complicated and tedious.

But with the success of NFL London and increased coverage on television giving more exposure to American football, its popularity is now rapidly growing. It is not uncommon for passers-by to stop at the astro turf on Tuesday evenings and watch the Colonials train, grimacing as helmets clash and bodies slam into the ground.

Hunt believes that the growing status of the sport has definitely benefited the team. “There was a huge turnout for try-outs this year and we now have loads of new players,” continued Hunt.

“We also had a party for the Super Bowl where around 200 people attended, so interest is definitely growing.” It looks as if the Colonials are growing too, it would certainly take a brave person to argue against it.

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