The Gloucester Centurions american football team kick off their national south west season this Sunday with a trip to rivals Cornish Sharks, 2:30pmkick off.
Games between the two over recent seasons have been fiery affairs with the Centurions winning both meetings in a two week double header in June, ending last season with a 14-10 win in Cornwall.
Gloucester have once again strengthened the squad during pre-season with head coach Mark Hopkins pleased to be bringing in two big name signings, linebacker and Great Britain international Sean Hopkins, and defensive back Nick Jones, from last years Britbowl runners-up and five time Britbowl winners London Blitz, who play in the countries top division, premiership south.
Hopkins was born and raised in Cheltenham and attended Chosen Hill school, he started playing American football at the age of 16 and has gone on to have a highly decorated playing career both domestically and internationally. Sean is the most capped GB Lion of all time and highlights of his international career include the GB Lions 2004 European Championships win and being named the Defensive MVP of the 2012 European Championships.
Nick Jones has played semi pro in Spain, Norway and most recently Germany with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions. They join up with the already experienced squad who will be wanting to go one better than last season where they finished 3rd in the National South, missing out on the playoffs to local rivals Bristol Apache.
Fourteen rookies have made the cut to be a part of the squad for the upcoming season, again showing that American Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Gloucester are growing with it as the sport improves its professionalism every year, the Centurions do too. They have re-shuffled their behind the scenes roles appointing a general manager and a new media manager. As well as that they have switched their home ground to Plock Court, one of the cities busiest sports centres and hope the Gloucester public will come out and support them at their new home.
The first home fixture for the Centurions is May 4th when Solent Thrashers visit, this is after trips to Bristol and this weekends opening game of the season at Cornish Sharks, which you can follow live on the Gloucester Centurions twitter account, @GlosCents on Sunday afternoon.