I've been shooting the University of Hertfordshire Hurricanes for six years now. In that time I have covered almost every game, both home and away.
The Hurricanes are one of the best teams in the country. They play in the British University American Football League with, at present - 79 other teams. They regularly reach the final or semi final every year and have won 5 national championships, more than any other team.
The league was restructured last season; there are now three tiers of American football in the University league, tier two, tier one and the Premier League.
Hertfordshire are in the Premier League which is split into two divisions each containing 5 teams. They play each team in their division twice, which means there are 8 regular season games. The playoffs are held at the end of the season which culminate in semi-finals and a final.
The first game of the 2015/16 season took place on Sunday 1st November. The Hurricanes travelled down to Surrey to take on the Kingston Cougars.
Kingston were promoted to the top league last season as a result of winning their division. It is fair to say they are not as experienced in the top levels of university football as Hertfordshire.For the previous six seasons I have come to expect Hertfordshire to roll over almost every team they play in the league. The only exception is generally when they play the Birmingham Lions, something of a grudge opponent. They have been the only team to beat Hertfordshire for several years. Birmingham and Hertfordshire usually meet in the semi-final or the final and it can be anyone's guess as to who wins.
So I wasn't expecting the game against Kingston to be any different from most of the other games I've seen Hertfordshire play.
Boy was I wrong. Kingston came out firing on all cylinders. Much to my shock they managed to put two scores on the board without any reply from the Hurricanes. Whilst Hertfordshire did manage to score twice, Kingston also scored twice more, they ran out 26 - 13 victors pulling off what most people will regard as a shock upset and sending Hertfordshire home to think again.
Shooting conditions were awful; bright winter sunlight, one team playing in white while the other played in black, just about the worst combination of colours for perfect and consistent exposures. This was made all the worse by the fact that my screen on the 1D MkIV doesn't work, so I have to work out my exposures without the benefit of seeing the results on the back of the camera.