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Johnno swaps sports this Monday

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This Bank Holiday Monday, May 28, Welford Road will swap rugby for American Football as it plays host to the Matt Hampson Bowl.

With the season now officially over, Tigers' famous stadium will be taken over by scrimmage not scrummage as the Leicester Panthers face the Loughborough Aces in a fixture designed to raise much-needed funds for Matt.

"As a team, the Leicester Panthers just disbanded in 1996," says Dave Hagger, one of the key figures behind the game. "It's taken six months to get people fit and ready to go but it's gone really well. People like David Lloyd and Next Generation Gyms have given us free membership for six months and we've had a fitness instructor from the Police Force training everybody. I wish we'd done a sponsored weight loss because two or three guys have lost three or four stone and we've been training really hard."

The Panthers, who were Senior National League Champions in 1996, include former Tigers captain Martin Johnson in their squad for what they hope might be the start of something a little more regular.

"We'll never say never again and there is talk of the Panthers reforming," says Hagger. "I'd certainly like to set things up again. We've all got the bug back but must of us are all too old! Some of the guys are 35/36 and can still play at a decent level but most of us are probably north of 40. We could play one game, but we could never play a 10-game season because we'd run out of legs and we'd struggle injury-wise.

"We might just end up having a throw about down at Victoria Park on a Sunday afternoon but I'd like to see it start up again. I'd like to think we can get a nucleus of the players who could go on to coach the team and bring in some youngsters. The game is quite popular now for players between 15 and 18. There were 500,000 applications for tickets in just one weekend for the NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants at Wembley on October 28. This game will probably be the second-biggest American Football matcjh in the country this year - obviously, if the NFL wasn't pitching up in October, we'd be number one!"

The match kicks-off at 3pm, with tickets just £5 and 14s and under getting in free.

Tickets can be purchased in person from the Welford Road ticket office or by calling 08701 28 34 30.

For more information, check out http://www.leicesterpanthers.co.uk/