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Womens European American Football Championships

Women’s American football

Some of you may be familiar with the more well-known flavours of American Football. The NFL, Canadian Football League and maybe even the UK men’s britball programme.

Less well known but about to be thrust into the spotlight is Women’s American Football. The full-contact version in the UK is normally played over the winter in the Sapphire series made up of 7 a side teams playing multiple games at each venue. Last year I was lucky enough to attend 2 of the 11 a side games in Birmingham when the Birmingham Lions played the Helsinki Wolverines and the New York Sharks in a round-robin competition. The standard is high and the crowd really got into the spectacle hosted by Birmingham University.

The images illustrating this piece are taken from those games

Birmingham #81 Kim Tsiga attempts to wrap up a Wolverines runner

Birmingham Wide receiver #81 Kim Tsiga ( now retired)attempts to wrap up a Wolverines runner

 

Birmingham Lions offence surges forward

Birmingham defensive back #28 Nancy Stone sprints away. Nancy is a current GB player and a significant threat

 

The European Championship 2019

Next week (12-17 August 2019)  the John Charles Stadium in Leeds becomes home to the International Federation of American Football’s Women’s European Championship.

New York Sharks and Birmingham Lions get together after the game

After the Birmingham Lions V New York Sharks game the Teams got together for a group shot.

 

Birmingham Wide receiver #80 Jodie Harris breaks clear of a Sharks defensive player

Birmingham Wide receiver #80 Jodie Harris breaks clear of a Sharks defensive player. Jodie played for the GB flag football team

The event takes place on Monday Wednesday and Saturday with one game kicking off at 3 pm and the second at 7 pm. The GB games are all 7 pm kickoffs.

This year’s participants are Austria, Finland ( reigning champions), Great Britain and Sweden. They will play each other in a round-robin tournament. Her’s the fixtures:-

Monday 12 August 2019

1500 Finland V Austria

1900 Great Britain V Sweden

 

Wednesday 14 August 2019

1500 Finland V Sweden

1900 Great Britain V Austria

 

Saturday 17 August 2019

1500 Sweden V Austria

1900 Great Britain V Finland

 

I did wonder about the light for the 1900 games but I had it pointed out to me by some of the players that it means GB supporters can get there without most having to take a day of work. It’s nice and easy off the M1.

Touchdown!

Touchdown!

Great Britain has amassed a collection of talent from across the country including some of our Birmingham Lions. One of whom, Ruth Matta, has just returned from playing for the Boston Renegades in the USA.

If you are into your American Football why not check out these games, if you’re not why not take a look anyway and see what it’s all about. You might fancy joining either of the men’s or women’s programmes in the UK from Under 16’s upwards. As with any sport, noisy crowd support encourages the teams on so come along and make a noise.

I’m lucky enough to have been granted pitchside media access so I’ll have some images when I come back.

To read more about the event our friends at Double Coverage have created an event website. Check out IFAF Women’s European Championship 2019 or click on the pictures

Birmingham Wide receiver #82 Hannah Pye breaks away from the defence

Birmingham Wide receiver #82 Hannah Pye breaks away from the defence. A former GB star retired this year.

Follow this hashtag on Twitter

#WECLeeds2019

Birmingham #38 Wiki Jorren wraps up the runner

Birmingham #38 Wiki Jorren wraps up the runner

 

a big reach for the ball by a New York player under pressure from #35 Ellie Thorpe a GB flag player

a big reach for the ball by a New York player under pressure from #35 Ellie Thorpe a GB flag player

 

Birmingham Wide receiver #14 Rachel Trim makes off with the ball. GB practice squad this year

Birmingham Wide receiver #14 Rachel Trim makes off with the ball. GB practice squad this year update – Rachel has now been called up to the GB squad

 

Birmingham Running back Ruth Matta gets into her stride

Birmngham Lions RB #10 Ruth Matta gets into her stride

 

The Helsinki Quarterback hands off to a running back

The Helsinki Quarterback hands off to a running back

 

A Wolverines player getting into her stride

A Wolverines player getting into her stride

 

Birmingham's #25 Ashleigh Aiston sprints past a Wolverines defender

Birmingham’s #25 Ashleigh Aiston sprints past a Wolverines defender. Ashleigh is currently recovering from injury

Look forward to seeing some of our readers there. Remember #WECLeeds2019 on social media.

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