Following a monumental 41-0 win against the Bangor Mud Dogs on Sunday, the University of Liverpool Raptors sit with a 1-1 record in BUCS Division 2A North. With the season now well underway, we’re bringing you an insight into this year’s team through the first edition of ‘Meet the Players’.
We were lucky enough to chat with defence players, Dafydd Sion Roberts and Tom Hyne.
How long have you been playing American football and how did you originally start?
Tom: I’m currently heading into my third year of playing American Football, my third season at the Raptors and fourth overall. I was walking around the Freshers Fair and my current coach threw a ball at me and I ended up signing up to the team.
Dafydd: I’ve been playing American Football for just over a year now. I started because I moved into a house with people who were already involved in the sport and they encouraged me to go.
What attracted you to play in your current position?
Tom: In my first season at the Raptors, I played offensive line and spent the majority of my time reacting to other players. I found it a very passive position and wanted to play a bit more of an aggressive part in the team, so I moved to the other side of the ball and onto the defensive line.
Dafydd: I was attracted to playing linebacker because tackling is my strength.
What’s been your best moment playing football?
Tom: During the summer, in my first season playing for the Merseyside Nighthawks, we 41-44 down to the Manchester Titans with one second left on the clock. Quarterback Ben Robinson threw a 40-yard touchdown pass that was juggled in the end zone. We won the game and the whole team ran onto the pitch- the feeling was indescribable, and it was days before I could believe what had happened.
Dafydd: My best moment of playing Football is being named MVP against Aberystwyth; I felt really valued by all of my teammates.
What’s been the worst moment of your football career?
Tom: In the Raptors first ever playoff game last season, I got stiff-armed on an outside run on the first play of the game and the running back made a huge gain downfield. This was a moment that defined the game for me and I wasn’t much better for the rest of it- certainly a taste of more physical football.
Dafydd: The worst moment in my football career was when I had a disallowed TD against Keele.
Who’s one player in the NFL you really admire?
Tom: Definitely Cam Wake, as he plays my position for the Miami Dolphins (the team I support). He’s 36 now, so is a senior player on the team and a leader to a lot of younger players. That’s definitely something to aspire to.
Dafydd: The NFL player I really admire is Andre Hal, who plays for the Texans. He recently made a comeback against the Jacksonville Jaguars after being diagnosed and overcoming Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
What’s one thing you really want to achieve in a Raptors jersey this year?
Tom: I’d love to reach the playoffs again. The intensity in the playoffs is much higher too, everyone is well rested and works really hard to get into the next round so it’s bound to be a great game whoever you play.
Dafydd: The one thing I want to achieve in a Raptors jersey is a touchdown, to make up for the one that I was denied last year.
So, that’s it for our first edition in the Meet the Players series. We’d like to say thank you to Tom and Dafydd for taking part.
The Raptors will be travelling to Edge Hill on Sunday the 2nd of December for their third game of the season, before hosting the Lancaster Bulldogs on December the 9th.
We’ll be bringing you further insight from inside the camp throughout the coming weeks.