Chester Romans head coach Simon Wainwright has expressed his disappointment at their 34-25 opening day defeat to Leeds Bobcats.
The Romans led deep into the third quarter but were unable to stop a late Bobcats fightback against a new-look Chester side and the well-drilled visitors beat a team filled with rookies as the hosts found themselves ruing mistakes late in the game.
Wainwright said: "It was a tough loss to take, especially as we were leading well into the third quarter. However we have a lot of rookies and this was their first game, so they were still finding their feet. Leeds are a highly disciplined, well drilled squad and in the end our own mistakes were our undoing."
Having started the season with a loss, Wainwright isn’t setting any expectations for the 2016 campaign and intends on letting the team gel before mapping out targets.
He said: "We have lots of new players and new playbooks. It will take a little time for it all to gel together, but with the coaches we have and the talent on the team, we will improve with practice and more games.
“I don’t tend to set targets or have expectations. I just want the team to win as many games as possible and enjoy this great sport.
"In the end it’s about having fun, we don’t get any financial gain so it’s just for the love of the game. If we perform how I know we can, the results will take care of themselves."
Chester welcome Halton Spartans to The Cheshire County Sports Club on Sunday (2.30pm) and Wainwright insists the players are determined to bounce back in their next game.
He said: "There are no certainties and the next game is against our closest rivals. However we have done all the preparation and it’s just a case of putting it into practice on the day. The guys were very disappointed after our first loss so we will be looking to put things right this weekend."
With American football growing in popularity in the UK, Wainwright has noticed an increase of interest with the Romans and a rise in the quality of play within the sport.
He said: "In the last two years especially we have had great responses to our open days, and our squad has changed immensely because of the influx of new players. Our youth and junior teams are also flourishing, which bodes well for the team’s future.
"The quality of the sport has improved a great deal. Players are a lot more switched onto the game now. It used to be a case of just turning up on the Sunday and play. Nowadays the players are taking much better care of themselves, hitting the gym and spending time studying game film and learning more complicated playbooks than ever before."
Wainwright, who has been the club's head coach for two seasons, said the Romans encourage anyone interested in the sport to get involved.
He said: "Whether you are strong, fast, can catch well, throw well; there is a position for you somewhere on the team, there aren’t many other sports that can say that.
"It’s one of the reasons the teams need so many players. The thing is to just give it a try, most people are pleasantly surprised and end up loving the game, going on to play the sport for years.
“American Football is a fantastic sport, and not as complicated as you may first believe. It is one of the only true squad sports that use more players than any other game. Coupled with the fact that so many different skill sets are required, it’s ideal for all types.
"We have had many players who have stated that they had tried lots of sports, but American football is the first one where they felt they had belonged.
"As for the Chester Romans in particular, we pride ourselves in having a great club to play for. The guys are good friends and players all feel they are part of the Romans family.
"I just love being around the sport, and when it was time to hang up the boots I always wanted to get into coaching. Once you get involved with the sport it is hard to let go."
For more details about the Romans, including information on training and matches, go to www.chesterromans.net.
Tough time for Romans Juniors as Titans complete shut-out
Chester Romans Juniors began their inaugural season with a trip to Manchester Titans.
It proved a tough initiation against a more experienced side who are considered one of the best junior teams in the north west but although the final score was 32-0 to the Titians, the Romans gave them a good fight with some good completions and power running in the second-half.
MVPs were Cai Danks for his work at defensive end, disrupting the Titans offence and making some big tackles behind the line, Toby Fensome on special teams for his work as a gunner on punt team and decleating players twice his size, and Ryan McGeagh on offence for some aggressive running and effort all game.
The return leg takes place on Sunday at The Cheshire County Sports Club at 12.30pm prior to the senior game between Romans and Halton Spartans.