East Essex Sabres head coach Lee Joseph has admitted that his side endured a ‘tough’ opening season in British American Football Association South Football Conference Division Two, but maintained that he was proud of their efforts.
The Sabres’ first campaign at this level was ended with a 44-12 defeat to league leaders Wembley Stallions, which left the Sabres in last place.
And although the Sabres could only muster one win out of nine regular season clashes, Joseph is overwhelmed by how far his side have come since the club launched two years ago.
Joseph said: “It’s been a very busy two years since we launched the team.
“Obviously it has been a tough season for many of our players as they not only had to learn their own individual roles but also learn the game.
“Overall I am happy with the progress of the team.
“I explained to the team during last year’s off-season that if we were accepted into the league everyone’s work ethic and study time would need to go up a level.”
The Sabres’ season began with narrow losses to Essex Spartans and Ipswich Cardinals.
But Joseph was not despondent after conceding late points.
“In our first two games we lost on the final play,” added the head coach.
“Lack of concentration can be the difference between winning and losing but that was all part of the learning process this year.
“We are already planning for next season.
“I know exactly how I want the team to play next year.
“Our coaching staff will be meeting over the next few weeks to set out our strategy and begin the preparation for 2018.
“The team has to play at a higher level next term.
“This year was all about the team surviving the season but next year I want to win our division, which means every coach and every player needs to prepare correctly in the off-season.
“We will also need to add some more players to our roster, while we now have more knowledge and hunger going into next season.”
In their final clash of the season, the Sabres fell to a 13-0 deficit against the undefeated Wembley Stallions inside the first quarter.
But Kyle Bury scored a touchdown to give the Sabres hope going into the second half.
Although the home side scored a second touchdown, they could not end the season on a high as they lost 44-12.
All photos courtesy of Ex Sabres player Kelvin Reed.