It is Super Bowl Sunday. So there is no better time to go back and look at the Cheetahs very own ‘super’ Bowls. The Cheetahs made the final in 1997, 2004, 2004 and finally 2018.
The First Cheetah Bowl – 1997 BSL Division 2 Final
The Cheetahs made their first Bowl appearance in their 11th season in 1997. The team started the season with two wins, but the good start was followed by three consecutive defeats to leave the Cheetahs 2-3 at the half way point of the season. Staring a losing season in the face, they managed to turn it around, winning their next five games, finishing second in their group and qualifying for the playoffs for only the second time in their history. An away win against the Leicester Huntsmen, 27-14, was followed by a 26–16 home win over the Yorkshire Rams in the semi-final, a result secured by two interception touchdowns. The team then travelled to play the Division 2 playoff final at the Saffron Lane Stadium in Leicester against the Bristol Aztecs.
The Aztecs had only conceded 32 points all season, but even though the Cheetahs were able to score, the Aztecs eventually ran out 6–27 winners.
So Close, Yet So Far – 2004 BSL Division 2 Final
2004 was one of the clubs most successful seasons ever. The team won all 10 regular season games in Division 2 South East (a feat only repeated by the 2014 Cheetahs, who lost in the Quarter Final). They finished top seeds in the division and secured home field advantage in the playoffs, scoring 235 points and only conceding 60 along the way. A 30–6 win over the South Wales Warriors in the quarter-final was followed by a 34–6 semi-final win over the Sussex Thunder. This set up their second playoff final, this time played at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield in front of 1440 spectators. However, they were unable to finish the season with another win, losing 16–32 to the Doncaster Mustangs.
Back-to-Back Heartbreak – 2005 BAFL Division 1A Final
Despite losing the final, the Cheetahs were promoted to Division 1A of the British American Football League. After winning their first match against the Southern Sundevils, they struggled at this higher level and only managed to win one more of their games, ultimately finishing third out of four teams in their group. However, this was still enough to gain a wild-card slot in the playoffs and they made the most of this opportunity, defeating the Staffordshire Surge, 18-12, and the London Blitz, 9-6, to gain a place in the final for the second successive season. As with their first playoff final eight years before, they played the Bristol Aztecs but lost 7-0.
The Curse is Broken – 2018 SFC2 Championship
2018 was finally the year of the Cheetah. After completing a dramatic 7-1 season, securing the SFC2 South Division title, the team secured the number three seed heading into the playoffs. They first swept aside the visiting Ipswich Cardinals, before travelling to the London Blitz as underdogs in the Semi Final. A hat-trick of touchdowns from Adam Adeniji and some inspired defensive play secured a romping 44-32 win against the Blitz ensuing promotion to Division 1 and a place in the SFC2 Final in Leicester. The Cheetahs however were not done and faced the familiar Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, a team they had beaten on the final day of the regular season to secure the division title in dramatic fashion. From the first offensive play, the Cheetahs took command eventually running out 24-7 winners and winning the clubs first ever bowl game.
The club are always looking to improve their roster and push for their second bowl win. If you are interested in playing, coaching, or volunteering for the club, please contact us on email@example.com.