Playoff football first!
|11-08-2003||BAFL Div 2 Quarter-Final v Bristol Aztecs||AWAY||L||12||-||27|
The 2003 season really started to show the results of the backroom restructure of the club, as they once again fielded a youth flag team, but also reaped the dividends of good relationships with the local press, and the launch of the official club website.
The roster grew hugely, and former Great Britain and Manchester Spartan Player Phil Wood took the reins as head coach. Perhaps the turning points on the pitch though were the reruitment of a backup running back from the Merseyside Nighthawks, Stewart Muir, and a former American college quarterback who was working in the UK, Matt Duncan. Both of who flourished in the Exiles offence, and provided two potent weopens.
The year started with a loss in an exciting shootout with the experienced Cambridge Cats, but that showed the Exiles they were capable of competing, and set them up for the rest of the season with confidence. A 7-2-1 record was the result, only losing to the Maidstone Pumas in a meaningless game on the last day of the regular season, and having to call off the game against the Spartans, which was awarded a tie, due to only 2 officials being available on game day. That was a dissapointing day for all involved as Exiles player Duncan Martin (a qualified official) offered to not play and officiate, but the Spartans declined in the hope they would be awarded the win, and keep their very slim play-off hopes alive.
So the Exiles travelled to Bristol for their first ever play-off appearance to play the Aztecs, but without star quarterback Duncan who had ruptured a cruciate ligament the week before the game playing football on the beach whilst back in the USA. Simon Mackerill stepped in, and performed admirably, and the Exiles went down fighting in a losing effort.
|Nene Valley Hybrids||5||5||0||0.500|
END OF SEASON AWARDS
Players player of the year: Stewart Muir
Coaches player of the year: Stewart Muir
Offensive player of the year: Stewart Muir
runner up: Matt Duncan
Defensive player of the year: Aaron Alexis
runner up: Steve Collison
Special Teams player of the year: Michael Turner
runner up: Mat Tompsett
Lineman of the year: Justin Daniels
runner up: Tony Bainbridge
Rookie of the year: Stephen Johnson
runner up: Stuart Page