Bury Saints have their eyes fixed firmly on a place among the UK’s top American Football teams.
Having just completed a second unbeaten regular season in the British American Football Association National League One, they go into the play-offs on Sunday with a home quarter-final tie against Yorkshire Rams at Thetford RFC (2pm).
The Saints are seeded second, behind Edinburgh, after winning their conference, and victory over the Rams would earn them a home semi-final tie.
Victory then would mean a final at Leeds, with the prize a place in the Premiership.
Head coach Christian Cantrill is taking nothing for granted: “We will take it one game at a time,” he said.
“We’ve done a lot of scouting, and a lot of preparation for Sunday’s game. Leeds will offer us different challenges.”
He also plays down the team’s remarkable record. The Saints were formed just four years ago, and began playing competitively in their second year.
“A lot of teams have had two unbeaten seasons,” he added. “Merseyside Nighthawks went two and a half seasons without losing a game.”
Saints have won nine and tied one of their regular season games.
Cantrill and his staff have their eyes fixed on the future.
“We are building to stay up and to sustain the club going forward.,” he said.
“If we get to the Premiership, we don’t want to come straight back down, as other teams have.”
With that in mind the Saints have placed great emphasis on a youth policy which will bring players through.
Saints brought down the curtain on the regular season with a 44-7 victory at Hertfordshire Cheetahs. After a one-sided first half Saints were 31-0 up at the break.
Dmont Herring opened the score with an interception, running in from 44 yards. Saints then added a two-point conversion.
Joe Hill scored two touchdowns, and Aaron Whalley one. Another two-point conversion, one extra point from Pauly Bowers, and a safety by Danny Wise meant Saints could rotate their squad for the second half.
Cheetahs scored the first touchdown after the interval, but Chris May and Oren Hemphill (interception) stretched the lead, with Bowers adding one point to May’s score.