Leicester Panthers look forward to first home game after rebirth

By Rian Fearnehough

The Leicester Panthers are set to return to Leicester for their first game in 27 years when they take on Tamworth Phoenix on May 7. 

The Panthers are competing in the Premier North division of the British American Football Association (BAFA), so you can expect to see a tough game involving some of the best players in the country.

The Panthers lost their first game back, up in Edinburgh, against the Edinburgh Wolves but will be hoping for a winning return to Leicester. 

Head coach Stuart Franklin said after the game: “Of course we are disappointed with the loss, but there were a lot of positives to take from this weekend.” 

Locked in: coach Franklin instructs his players

The team will be hoping to bounce back when they take on Tamworth who are local rivals and a traditional BritBall powerhouse team; having reached the national semi-finals last year.  

The Panthers will be playing at Leicester Forest Rugby Club for the upcoming season. 

Tickets for the game are available now if you’ve ever wondered what American football is all about come and support your returning Panthers on May 7.

Tickets for the game are available now here. https://bit.ly/3oancjY

Leicester Panthers return after hiatus 

By Rian Fearnehough

Leicester Panthers prepare for their first game in 27 years as they take on Edinburgh Wolves in both team’s opening game of the British American Football Association premiership season. 

The Leicester Panthers have returned after disbanding in 1996 and are looking forward to their first game back as they face the trip up to Edinburgh to play the Wolves. 

The Panthers and Wolves will both be hoping to get their seasons off to a strong start and send a message to the rest of the division.

Panthers head coach Stuart Franklin said: “I’m extremely excited by the return of the Panthers. I hope the whole city of Leicester will celebrate the Panthers return by coming to support us this season.”

Focused: Coach Franklin on a match day

The Panthers will be hoping to build on the success of the Falcons last season as they won the NFC South going unbeaten throughout the season. 

Despite the strong season, the Falcons lost to the East Kilbride Pirates 29-21 in the playoffs. However, winning the NFC South promoted the Falcons to the Premiership for the first time since 2019. 

The Edinburgh Wolves finished the 2021-22 season with a record of 4-4 in the BAFA premiership north. 

The Wolves will be hoping they can make it into the playoffs for the first time since 2016 as they head into the 2023 season. 

Coach Franklin added: “Edinburgh are an established top 6 team in the Premier division in British American Football. They are well-coached and are always physical.

“It’s tough as it’s both team’s first game of the season and you just hope you’ve prepared enough to give a strong performance on the day.”

The game will take place in Edinburgh at Peffermill playing fields at 2 pm on Sunday.

Croatian DMU international student endures World Cup semi-final misery

By Rian Fearnehough

It was Croatia’s second World Cup semi-final in a row and Orsat Moretić was nervous.

In action: Orsat Moretić on the pitch for the DMU Lions

Croatia were taking on Argentina in the semi-finals of the World Cup and were looking to reach their second consecutive final.

Orsat is a DMU student from Croatia and recalled his previous World Cup experience as “heartbreaking”. 

The one thing he knew was: “I don’t want to play France in the final again.” 

But to reach that final, his side had to beat Argentina in their semi-final. Orsat was nervous but confident in Croatia’s ability.

“I think the game will be 0-0 with Croatia winning on penalties,” he predicted during the build-up to the game. 

Orsat plays for the DMU Lions American football side and watched the semi-final during a squad film session, glued to his phone but unable to react. 

His confidence changed when Argentina got a penalty in the 34th minute after Julian Alvarez collided with Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. 

The decision was contentious and Orsat was not happy with it, saying: “How is that a penalty.” 

Orsat with his DMU Lions team-mates

The penalty was emphatically scored by Lionel Messi causing Orsat to shake his head in frustration. 

The game didn’t get any better for Croatia, who conceded a second when Alvarez ran through the defence after some shocking defending. 

At that point, Orsat accepted it wouldn’t be Croatia’s day, saying Argentina had scored “two lucky goals.”

The second half involved more of the same, with the game being killed off in the 69th minute when Alvarez scored again, to end Croatia’s incredible journey with a disappointing semi-final defeat. 

After the game, Orsat said: “Why did I watch that, what was the point.”

Despite the defeat, Orsat added: “I’m proud of the team as they showed fight throughout the tournament.” 

Orsat is now heading home to Croatia for Christmas, disappointed after dreaming for a while that he might watch Croatia in Sunday’s final, surrounded by his family just like he had in 2018. 

Orsat back home in Croatia