Bury Saints commence 2016 preparations

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RoseBowl champions the Bury Saints – the 2015 Invincibles – have begun preparations for their 2016 campaign, which commences in April.

With their title came promotion to the BAFA National League One Southern Conference, and a host of newer, tougher opposition.

But the ultimate prize of a place in the Premier Division awaits them and their opposition includes old rivals the Hertfordshire Cheetahs and Sussex Thunder – their opposition during the epic semi-final last September.

Thetford Rugby Club has become the club’s full-time venue, while there have been a number of comings-and-goings on the playing front.

Some experienced players have left, with Adam Griffin, Jesse Carlos and left tackle Ken Kelly all retiring, while RoseBowl MVP running back Jake Swisher is expecting to miss the majority of the season due to shoulder surgery.

Team manager and defensive co-ordinator Neil Van Holland said: “The improvement from year one to two was excellent, better than we could have ever imagined.

“As with all teams we have to roll with the changes. Losing experienced players to retirement is something every team deals with, but we are confident of a good season.

“We have a deep squad and should see further improvements from our younger players this season.”

On the offensive side of the ball, former GB quarterback Fred Boyle returns to lead the unit.

The Green and Gold are buoyed by having a strong stable of running backs, strengthened further by the addition of Cory Jenkins who ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns on his debut against Rotterdam.

Van Holland added: “Jake and Ken were important pieces in the offence last year, but we have recruited some promising new linemen, and the backfield is deep.

“SFC 1 looks super competitive and is going to be a big step up. We need everyone to chip in and share the workload to be successful.”

The set up of youth teams, with Will Cullum an integral part of it, has been another huge step forward for the team.

Cullum said: “We couldn’t be any happier with the enthusiasm and potential we have seen so far.”

Anyone wishing to get involved with the organisation, be it playing, coaching or volunteering, can contact the team via their website at www.burysaints.com or by the team’s Facebook page Bury Saints American Football Team.