Varsity 2013: Barracuda Fear Nobody

Can the Bristol Barracuda record a first-ever victory over the UWE Bullets?

After a long wait, the biggest game of the American Football season is nearly upon us.

No, not the Superbowl. This titanic grudge match will be much closer to home. In two weeks, Varsity 2013 officially begins as Bristol Barracuda line up against the UWE Bullets looking for their first ever Varsity win.

Last season UWE claimed a convincing 25-12 victory over the ‘Cuda, ensuring bragging rights remained with the South Western champions. The Bullets have never lost this fixture and team captain Craig McLeod warns “there are no plans to start now”.

“Every year the match against Bristol is something special. All we can think about is winning”, McLeod added. And with star running back Jack Austin on top form, it’s not hard to see why the Bullets captain is confident. “His presence makes everyone step up their game”.

Beware the Bullets

Despite suffering a number of injuries, the Bullets sit second in the South Western Atlantic Conference, their only defeat coming to Bath in their last match 21-20. The scoreline though could so easily have been very different.

Having trailed 21-0 with just the 4th quarter to go, the Bullets mounted an astonishing comeback, scoring three unanswered touchdowns. Rather than kick an extra point to tie the game at 21-21, with under two minutes to go the Bullets tried unsuccessfully for a 2 point conversion.

The Bullets did manage to recover the ball for one last drive, but a 46 yard field goal kicked into a strong wind failed to make the distance.

Bristol Barracuda will hope this defeat has taken some of the wind out of UWE’s sails. Sam Farley, defensive linesman, certainly fancies his team’s chances.

‘We’ll be taking it very seriously. It’s the most important game of the year. We’ve never beaten UWE, but we plan to do it this time’.

Is this the year of the Barracuda?

Bristol certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. They’ve started the season well, winning two of their three games (a fourth game against Aberystwyth was postponed). Should the Barracuda beat Exeter this afternoon, they’ll be breathing down the becks of their city rivals come match day.

For Barracuda to break their Varsity duck, big performances will be needed from captain, Stuart Tabberer, quarter-back Jack Scott and ‘running-back machine’ Mike McDowell.

Farley also revealed his team have been identifying UWE’s tactical weaknesses in their training sessions. ‘We always study our opponents on film and try to pick weaknesses’.

Whether it will be enough to condemn the Bullets to their first ever Varsity defeat, there’s  only one way to find out. Sunday 10th February, 2pm, Filton College. We’ll see you there.