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2017 A season review

Bobcats season ends with mixed emotions

The Bobcats 2017 season has come to an end, a season that started with high expectations after a very successful 2016 season. This time round it ended in positives but with a negative overtone. The 2017 season finished for the Bobcats with a record of 3-7 (negative overtone), but the performances produced by the players with little numbers and through injury spoke a thousand words (positives).

With a rather large 11 season ending injuries across both defense and offence 6 of which being starters, the Bobcats had to really dig into the depth chart this season. Recruiting in the off-season brought in a large amount of rookies this year that stepped up and made a name for themselves this season to push on for starting spots for the start of 2018.

The Bobcats season did not get off to the start they expected against the much improved Portsmouth Dreadnoughts. A very close affair ended in defeat and the Bobcats started their season in a place they did not expect to be 0-1 and on the back foot.

 

Game 2 of the season and the Bobcats were facing the Hasting Conquerors whom fought hard with a small squad but the touchdown wizard that is QB Macdonald #1 managed to pound his way into the end zone FIVE times!!!! (Spoiler alert!! Macdonald even broke the Bobcats single season touchdown record by hammering home 13!! Touchdowns congratulations!!) This put the Bobcats 1-1 for the season high again on confidence after getting a shutout and scoring big, but they were to face and unfamiliar opponent next the newly demoted Hertfordshire Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs a very disciplined and hard hitting side proved a difficult outfit for the Bobcats. Only managing to find the end zone once after some intricate planning, the game ended in a second loss for the Bobcats taking their season to 1-2.

This left the Bobcats a month free to lick their wounds and try to fix what went wrong in those first two losses. In which they did when facing the Maidstone pumas and putting up another high scoring shut out the record 2-2. Living off the high of beating the Pumas the lows began and the injuries started to mount. This was felt when in game 5 against a Cheetahs side looking for a division title came to Bournemouth Electric. Managing to put up 54 points on what had been a water tight Bobcats defense all season really hit home hard and the target of play-off football started to slip at 2-3.

The now battered and bruised Bobcats travelled to the Dreadnoughts and for the first time in the season were unable to find the end zone. After 6 games the season record was now an unforgiving 2-4, but the message from the Bobcats coaches keep positive and continue to fight on.

This was hard to do knowing the next game was against the 2016 conference champions the Berkshire Renegades. The Bobcats started this game strong putting the Renegades onto the back foot scoring first and having a lead at the half time break. Injuries again began to pop up and the game slipped away from the Bobcats, what started as such a promising game ended in a loss and the season was now 2-5 the last hope of post season football gone.

As if the season wasn’t already difficult enough, the part of the schedule everyone was dreading the three (two really far away) away fixtures. This period did not get off to the best start as a really small Bobcats squad traveled to Hastings for a good old fashioned shoot out. Unfortunately the Bobcats were unable to keep scoring and coughed up the sixth loss of the season.

Injuries piling up for the next game the long ole trip to Maidstone and the Bobcats were looking bleak for numbers. But a roll call of some old and new Bobcats gathered together and made a squad to make the trip. An excellent performance from every player on the pitch got the Bobcats back into winning ways and the season was now 3-6, only one game to go the Berkshire Renegades.

With the Renegades looking to win, to be crowned conference champions and the Bobcats playing for pride it turned into an interesting affair. The Bobcats again got the Renegades onto the back foot taking the lead and holding it through to the half. This time keeping the game closer the Bobcats were unfortunately unable to keep going as hard for as long and lost to the fitting double conference champions.

The Bournemouth Bobcats finished the season with a less than stellar 3-7 record, but the effort from all and the family spirit that had been shown throughout the season was phenomenal. The Bobcats will be keeping an eye on the play-offs, but will be moving on to preparing and working towards a better 2018.

Head Coach Simon McClean had this to say about the season and the future:

‘The 2017 season didn’t go quite the way myself or the rest of the Bobcats had hoped following on from our 7-3 campaign the previous year. A flood of injuries and personal commitments made fielding a full strength team very difficult at times.

Having said that, what did shine through this year was the team’s resilience and heart. No matter the obstacle, the team stood tall and never gave up. There is lots of work to be done in the off season, but with an increase in the coaching staff and a clear plan for next season; we will look to be in the playoff mix again’.

 

And that boys and girls is it, here at the Bobcats we would like to thank all of the supporters who watched our home games and those that traveled to away games. To all of the chain crew ball boy/girls that helped out throughout the season we hope to see you again next season. A thank you to our sponsor Grovesnor Casino and all of our other sponsors for the support and Bournemouth Electric for making all of us feel at home in our new surroundings.

That is it for the season I leave you to look at the pictures, a selection of club photographer Chris Coope’s favorites of the season (with one of my faves at the end). Keep an eye out here, on facebook, twitter and Instagram for updates and news on our 2018 pre-season schedule.

This is receiver #89 signing out!!!