The Chichester Sharks are one of the longest running and most successful Flag American Football Clubs in the UK. We've been playing since 2002 and have won more games than any other team in England during that time. We're always on the look out for new players. Anyone 16 and over can play, regardless of experience. Get in touch to find out when the next training session is being held. We'll see you on the field soon.
Sharks on three. Three, two, one... SHARKS!!!!!!!!!
The Chichester Sharks, win, lose or draw.
Chichester Sharks Defender, Ed Acton, gives his account of the 3rd weekend of games in the 2013 season.
So our long awaited trip to Plymouth was here, and it just happened to be the hottest day of the year so far – a toasty 35C with no breeze. Chichester had two games to play back to back in the midday sun and sadly were missing some key players on both sides of the ball.
Game 1 Chichester Sharks v Plymouth Extreme
The heat was sapping the energy of the young and fit, so I don’t need to explain what it was doing to us. Plymouth started the game on offense and nearly caught the Sharks napping with a solid drive all the way down the field. They missed out on the touchdown pass due to the quick hands play of Ed Acton and Tomas Geciauskas, leading to an interception. Early on the Sharks offense struggled, the heat really playing its part in that. Regardless, the ball began to move around and the points began to come.
The second half was a lot different as the Sharks finally adjusted and began to rack up the scores. Neil Henderson was on fire (not literally, but he was a little pink) throwing 7 touchdowns. The Sharks D also began to lock down the Extreme attack, with Elliott Harrison leading with 11 tackles.
Final Score Sharks 54 Extreme 7
Game 2 Chichester Sharks v London Rebels
To say we were tired from the sun would be an understatement, but we still had a job to do. The Rebels were unbeaten starting the day and after losing by 1 point in our first meeting this season, we were looking to get one over on them.
Sharks started on defense and found out quite quickly that the slick Rebels’ O was on form, as they marched swiftly down field on their first drive and in for the score. The Sharks first chance to answer went nowhere. The Rebels were on the drive again and looked solid, but a turn of luck gave Elliott Harrison a pick and gave the Sharks another go on offense. This time Neil Henderson connected on a perfectly timed pass to the Beast Geciauskas, which he took straight to the endzone.
The second half was where the Rebels found a little bit extra in the tank on this very hot day. Despite trying to keep it close and play their own game, the Sharks couldn’t stop London from pulling away with a couple of quick scores. The Sharks still played with heart but were lacking any more juice and big plays to mount a comeback.
Final Score Sharks 15 Rebels 33
Well done to all the players (and our spectators!) who made the long trip down to Plymouth. Everyone gave it there all and played well. A few notable stats to share:
Full season player stats can be found here.
The photo in this post was taken by Zita Racz. More great photos from Zita taken on the day can be viewed here on Facebook.
Chichester Sharks Defender, Ed Acton, gives his account of the 2nd weekend of games in the 2013 season.
The Chichester Sharks made a short journey up the road to Basingstoke on Sunday to play the next 3 games of the 2013 season. We would be without Jut Handley due a dislocated finger in the training session a week before, so we set about our first match against the Hackney Cougars with 8 players.
Game 1 – Chichester Sharks v Hackney Cougars
The previous 2 times the Sharks had played the Cougars we had lost, so we wanted to get out the gate early and set the tone. This is exactly what happened on the first play of the game, as QB Neil Henderson completed a short dump off pass to Phil Morris (who had managed to get out of bed this time) who ran it the length of the field for the first score. Henderson went onto spread the ball around the park and put up a lead, with the Cougars only managing to break through the Sharks stout D on 2 occasions. The Game finished Sharks 47 Cougars 13.
Next up a relaxing lunch break and a game off. Well that’s what we thought, it turns out after filling our faces and feeling a little bloated that we were indeed going straight back into a game with the Horde.
Game 2 – Chichester Sharks v Basingstoke Zombie Horde
So, full of lunch we headed back onto the field to play. The Sharks and Horde have a good history and have played many close games over the last 3 years. This however, turned out very different. With an almost identical play, Henderson dumped the ball of to Morris and he ran the length of the field for the opening score. Then it was time for the Sharks D to show what it could do. Racking up 7 interceptions it shut down Basingstoke’s aerial attack and made it hard for the Horde’s QB and WRs all game. The offense was flowing nicely putting up points on nearly every drive. It was a dominant performance both sides of the ball and finished Sharks 61 Horde 0.
Straight up next were Plymouth Extreme, who in their earlier games had looked much improved from the side that played last year.
Game 3 – Chichester Sharks v Plymouth Extreme
You don’t need to be a mind reader to work out what the Sharks first play on offense was – Henderson dumped it off to Morris who looked like he was going to go to the house again. Alas no, he was going so quick he fell over his own feet. This did not change the mind set from the first 2 games – the Sharks offense came out punching and put quick scores on the board. The D had another massive game, shutting Plymouth down with Pete Busson recording 5 sacks. This game was much the same as our last with Chichester dominant both sides of the ball and finished Sharks 66 Extreme 6.
A great road trip and pretty much mistake free set of games from the Sharks.
Some notable performances from the 3 games:
Next up a long old drive down to Plymouth to play the Extreme and the Rebels in July.
Chichester Sharks Defender, Ed Acton, gives his account of the opening weekend games of the 2013 season.
This is what we had been training for all through winter, the inaugural games of the 2013 BAFA Flag Football season. The journey would take us to the home of the London Rebels to face stiff competition – the Rebels and the new look Welsh team, the Cardiff Hurricanes. After the fun and excitement of checking everybody’s pictures on the rosters, it was time to get down to business.
The game started off slowly, as each team got a feel for each other, and before we knew it halftime was here and it was scoreless. The second half started much the same as the first, with each team giving up turnovers on offense. The deadlock was broken when the Hurricanes QB threw a great post pattern pass to the WR for the first score of the game.Londonthen got into gear and scored a TD of their own but missed the XP leaving the score 7-6 toCardiffwith a minute and a half left on the clock. All Cardiff needed to do was run out the clock and avoid turning over the ball. Unfortunately, the second pass of the drive was an interception that was run back for a TD. It was all over – Rebels 13 Hurricanes 7
So the Sharks only had 8 players due to one WR oversleeping and missing his lift – we won’t mention any names to save embarrassment. The Sharks started on offense, mainly made up by defensive regulars due to Phil Morris sleeping in. And what a start it was, as Neil Henderson threw a long pass to Mike Thompson, which he took all the way for the opening score. The Rebels were quick to respond, working the ball up the field on their first drive and came away with a score of their own. The two teams were very evenly matched, with the Sharks pulling ahead 20-14 late in the game following scores by Gary Robinson and a second from Thompson.
In the final few minutes of the game, the Rebels were driving. After a questionable officiating decision moved London into scoring range, the Rebels managed to get into the end zone and convert the XP to take a 21-20 lead, leaving the Sharks just 25 seconds to work a miracle. The Sharks marched right up the field. It would come down to one last play in the final seconds….the ball was snapped, but the Rebels’ blitz made it very difficult for Neil to make a pass. Sadly it fell incomplete and the game ended. Final Score Rebels 21 Sharks 20.
The final game of the day was upon us and the Sharks were up against the Cardiff Hurricanes. The game played out much like a mash up of the first 2 games with Sharks and Hurricanes going toe to toe on scoring all the way up to the final two minutes (Sharks’ scores from Thompson (x2) and Justin Handley). With the Hurricanes leading 21-19, the Sharks had the ball and looked to be driving for a winning score. Sadly, this would not be the case as the Hurricanes D held strong and Sharks turned the ball over on downs just shy of the endzone.
So it came down to the same scenario as Game 1, the Hurricanes had the lead and the ball and an opportunity to run down the final 20 seconds off the clock. The ball was snapped but the Hurricanes’ QB abandoned the called run play when he saw a chance to end the game with a quick pass. He didn’t count on Elliott Harrison turning into a superhero and plucking the ball out of the air for the interception. Requiring a score to win, Elliott needed to run the 10 yards back to the Hurricanes endzone. In a blink of an eye, dodging 3 players on the way, Elliott made it in for the score and the Sharks were victorious. Final score Sharks 25 Hurricanes 21
A great day and three really good hard fought games, the Southern Conference will be a tough one this year. Next stop Basingstoke in June to play the Horde and Plymouth Extreme.
The Sharks 2012 season came to an end in the first round of Finals Day, falling to the Basingstoke Zombie Horde in a closely fought contest.
London Rebels went on to represent the Southern Conference in the Finals playing the forever unbeaten Kirkcaldy Bulls in their final match before disbanding. Fittingly, the Bulls romped to another title in a convincing victory over the Rebels.
On to next season!
The Chichester Sharks will be heading to Sheffield this weekend to compete in the 2012 Flag Finals.
When I last posted news (yes I know, it has been a long time) the Sharks were 5-3 and in contention for one of the two playoff spots (Two losses to Basingstoke more or less ruled us out of grabbing the group top spot and automatic qualification).
As a lot of time has passed since then (yes, I know), here is a quick summary of how the rest of the season unfolded:
Fixtures in Basingstoke (June 24th)…
Chichester Sharks 66 – 18 Aylesbury Spartans
Summary: new team, nice bunch, good banter, pink shirts, TD passes aplenty
Chichester Sharks 54 – 13 Coventry Jets
Summary: old rivalry, slow start, 2nd half dominance, TD passes aplenty
Chichester Sharks 48 – 0 Leicester Eagles
Summary: another old rivalry, outstanding defensive performance, TD passes aplenty
Overall, it was an outstanding team performance, with the results going the way you’d expect based on form. Both sides of the ball did very well, resulting in hand ache for Neil recording all the personal player stats. Sharks moved to 8-3 on the season.
Fixtures in Chichester (July 22nd)…
Chichester Sharks 1 – 0 London Blitz
Summary: Blitz forfeited the game, leaving the Sharks in a position of needing to win just 1 of their remaining two games.
Chichester Sharks 46 – 0 Essex Showboats
Summary: Scoring early, tempers flairing, TDs aplenty, smiles that said ‘We’re in the Playoffs’
Chichester Sharks 32 – 40 London Rebels
Summary: boo, rebels trying to rain on our parade, close 1st half, comeback late, not quite enough
So, Sharks finish the season at 10-4 and now we’re off to Sheffield! GO SHARKS!!
In yet another wet day in the Flag ‘Summer‘ league, the Chichester Sharks secured an important victory and came very close to nabbing another.
Chichester started the day at 4-2 and realistically in the race for one of the two wildcard spots within the Southern Conference. Having lost to Basingstoke twice, it would require a number of unexpected losses by the Horde for the Sharks to claim the top spot.
That meant that games against the other wildcard contending teams – currently the Steel City Knights and the Essex Showboats – would be crucial. The first of those – against the Knights – came on a very wet day in Coventry on Saturday.
It was an unusual day, in that for the first time in many, many years, Neil Henderson was not at QB for the Sharks. Unavailable on the day, he was replaced in the line up by Justin Handley.
First up was a game against Woodham Warriors. The conditions were poor, with a consistent heavy rain impacting the play of both teams. The Offenses struggled the most, with both teams struggling to complete drives. To compound it, the Sharks first score on the board was wiped out by penalty.
The Warriors short, efficient passing game eventually broke the deadlock, putting up a score before the half. The Sharks O hit a TD in reply (Handley to Mike Thompson), but sloppy receiving play ended any chance of building a lead.
The Sharks came out strong after the break, snatching the lead from the Warriors on a 2nd TD pass to Thompson. The D was playing extremely well – Toby Chopra had 3 sacks in the game and Tomele Geciauskas 2 – but eventually Woodham found the endzone for a 13-12 lead.
With little time left in the game, the Sharks were unable to string together a final winning drive. The Warriors closed out the game with a late score to seal the 20-12 victory.
Despite the loss it was a very strong performance by the Sharks, coming close to upsetting the favourites with a make-shift offense.
Next up was the important game against the Steel City Knights. Chichester had never played against the Knights nor seen them in action. Their results to date in the league spoke for themselves, however, and it was clear that being ‘new’ did not mean they were uncompetitive.
This was to be no score-fest, as the rain made play very difficult. The teams exchanged several unsuccessful drives, before the stalemate was broken on an unusual play. On a hook to the left of the field, the slippery ball bounced off the hands of Chichester’s Pete Busson and into the arms of Center Gary Robinson who took it in for the score.
The Knights were struggling to move the ball against the rain and Sharks defense, but managed to break the goal line on a strong drive before the half, setting the score at 6-6 at the half.
As the second half progressed, the players could have been forgiven to be happy with a draw (and to find somewhere warm and dry). Little was working offensively. With time ticking away, Handley went back to a play designed to attack a weakness identified in the first half (which despite repeated attempts couldn’t be capitalised on). Sending the Center on a slant and go up the left, Handley lofted a perfectly timed pass over the head of the defender and into the hands (okay, technically it was the ear) of Robinson. Chichester couldn’t convert the extra point and so led 12-6 inside the 2 minute warning and the ball now in the Knights’ hands.
All day the Knights had been targeting their athletic #1 receiver and it was clear where the ball was going on this final drive. Each play sent him medium or long and each time Mike Thompson, playing Man, stuck to him like glue and batted the ball away. 4 downs later, the Sharks had their victory and a crucial tiebreaker in the playoff race.
Well done to all players who competed on Saturday – it was a great team effort. A special nod, however, to Jut for stepping up and playing QB and also to Mike, who played both ways and made so many plays to keep us in games and secure the victory.
Next up on Sunday: Coventry Jets, Leicester Eagles and Aylesbury Spartans
See all the Sharks results this year
Check out all the player stats
So after the Sharks managed to get dry after the opening games in Cardiff, the next set of fixtures for the 2012 BAFA Flag Season were quickly upon us, the destination Plymouth.
The Sharks set off at an ungodly hour with 9 players, 4 of which were rookies. The fixtures ahead were going to be tough.
The opening game was to be the Chichester Sharks taking on the new Plymouth Pirates team. Chichester won the toss and started the day on offense, with Neil Henderson leading the Sharks to a very quick start against the rookie Plymouth defense with multiple touchdown throws to Mike Thompson.
The Sharks defense were to close to locking down the fledgling offense of Plymouth and Justin Handley made the Pirates QB’s life hell as he intercepted 4 passes, 2 of which he ran back for TDs. The Pirates did finally manage to get into the endzone after putting together some very good drives and improved solidly throughout the day.
Final Score : Chichester 63 – 6 Plymouth
The Sharks next game was against the undefeated Basingstoke Zombie Horde. This was set to be a tough matchup, as Horde and the Sharks are very evenly matched on both sides of the ball.
The game started off at a reasonably slow pace with possession going back and forth in the first few drives, until the Horde managed to find an opening and scored a couple of quick touchdowns back to back.
The Sharks defense was being pushing back again toward their own endzone and were looking likely to go 3 scores down, but luckily the Horde QB made an error and underthrew a pass which was intercepted by rookie Ed Acton. This looked likely to go all the way back for a TD, but there was a heavy collision between Acton and the Horde QB. The Sharks finished the half with no points on the board and were upset with the way they had played.
The Sharks started slow again in the 2nd half and went two quick scores down, this fired the team up and they put two quick scores up themselves and had the Horde defense on the back foot. Unfortunately the clock was against the Sharks and time ran down – a painful loss, but a strong finish to establish the right mindset for the next difficult game.
Final Score : Chichester 14 – 34 Basingstoke
In the last game of the day for the Sharks they would go up against the very good South Wales Warriors.
The game started evenly and there were quick scores for each team, but Sharks player Tomas ‘Beast’ Geciauskas made his presence felt on the O and the D and the Sharks soon took a good lead.
In the 2nd half Sharks defense came out swinging with Toby ‘Primetime’ Chopra getting a pick which helped put the game away. The final whistle went and a long day of games had finally come to an end.
Final Score : Chichester 48 – 18 South Wales
There was only one more obstacle to overcome, that was finding Maccy D’s on the way home – and in the spirit of the day, after a few wrong turns, we eventually were victorious.
- Ed Acton
The start of the 2012 BAFA Flag Football season was held on a day that few would associate with a SUMMER football league. Despite heavy rain and a waterlogged pitch, the Chichester Sharks, Basingstoke Zombie Horde and South Wales Warriors did battle in Cardiff last Sunday.
The Sharks travelled with 7 players, 3 of which were rookies, to match up with two teams who are perennially playoff contenders.
The Sharks kicked off the day with a game against Basingstoke, followed by a match up with South Wales. The Horde and Warriors rounded out the fixture list.
From the get go it quickly became apparent that there would be no ariel passing masterclasses this day. The strong wind and wet ball reduced the offensive attack of all teams down to short passes and yes, believe it or not in a flag league, the running game. Tackling played a crucial role, as the rain reduced any grip on the wet vinyl flags.
The Sharks vs Horde game was exceptionally close, with Chichester holding the lead inside the final two minutes. Basingstoke had just too much time and managed to punch the ball into the endzone to snatch away the victory. It was a painful loss for the Sharks as too many opportunities were missed, but a valuable learning experience for the rookies playing their first competitive game.
Final Score: Chichester 25 – 26 Basingstoke
Despite the loss, the Sharks thankfully came out strong against the Warriors. Chichester’s games against South Wales are always highly competitive and the scoreline close. This game was no different. The Sharks took the early lead, ahead by 2 scores at the half, but lost focus early in the 2nd half letting the Warriors get back into the game on the back of a strong running game.
The teams battled back and forth but it wasn’t until Pete Steel picked up a 1st down on a 4th down pass from Neil Henderson inside the final minute that the victory was assured (it’s debatable what was more dramatic – getting the catch in that scenario or Pete’s 20 foot slide through the mud with a trailing spray of water?).
Final Score: Chichester 32 – 30 South Wales
In the last game of the series Basingstoke beat South Wales 18 – 0.
It’s hard to get a gauge on what this means for the season, as the weather completely changed each team’s usual gameplan. The results could be completely different when we meet up again next month. But what we could see is that all 3 teams are in the hunt again this year.
Neil Henderson: 8 x TD, 3 x 1pt XP, 2 x INT
Gary Robinson: 3 x TD
Phil Morris: 2 x TD, 1 x 1pt XP
Pete Steel: 1 x TD, 1 x 1pt XP
Tomas Geciauskas: 1 x TD rec, 1 x 1pt XP rec
Pete Busson: 1 x TD
Neil Henderson: 2 x INT
Phil Morris: 1 x INT (for a TD)
Toby Chopra: 2 x sack
Flag football returned to Chichester last weekend, with the Sharks hosting the Basingstoke Zombie Horde and Peter Symonds Sabres for friendlies.
The Sharks, preparing for the 2012 season starting next month, got a chance to check out the new rookies who joined the club over the off-season. And if first impressions count, then the Sharks have strengthened their squad for the upcoming campaign.
All four rookies – Ed Acton, Pete Busson, Tomele Geciauskas and Phil Morris – got on the score board in their first game, a 61-33 victory over the Sabres. In fact, Geciauskas made his mark immediately, picking off two errant Sabre passes, returning one for the score.
All four had extensive playing time on both sides of the ball, with a number of veterans yet to return from other off-season responsibilities.
Chichester’s 2nd game was against BAFA league rival, Basingstoke, an established, well drilled team with a lot of offensive firepower. It was a closely matched game throughout, with the new-look defensive playing admirably in just its second outing. The game went down to the wire, with a late Horde score giving the Sharks less than a minute to get into the endzone. Unfortunately, the Sharks fell 4 yards short on a 4th down pass and run and the game ended 45-37 to the Horde.
Well done to all Sharks that played Sunday – it was a lot of fun and extremely useful preparation for the season
Check the photos taken on the day (thanks Kymie!)
Next up March Madness in London…