Post-Sapphire Exhibition Match Up Shows Continued Growth Of The Women’s Game

Saturday 23 April saw a historical event, when the London Warrior’s senior team took on the Copenhagen Towers at the first Northern European Football League game in the UK.  Whilst the beautiful day hosted a Warriors’ win for the seniors, there was also a clash of the London womens’ teams rumbling.

The forward-thinking nature of the Warriors’ management, led to a women’s exhibition game between the Wembley Stallions and Warriors womens’ team. The two teams battled it out during the senior half time, in a crowd-packed stadium. An all-female officiating crew added to the excitement of the game with Barbara Favre-Derez and Susannah Taylor noting,

“It was a fantastic event, well organized and patronized and I was very honored to be a part of it.”

BAFRA Official Susannah Taylor, Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves
BAFRA Official Susannah Taylor, Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves

With commentary from Karisa Lundberg, London let everyone know that women are here to make their mark in American football.

The two teams were coming off the back of the Sapphire Series, where the Warrior’s had made the big step up to 7-aside this year, after winning the Division II, 5-aside series last year. The Wembley Stallions made their mark this season as well, as they won 7 out of their 8 games, dominating the Division II South & East. The last time that these two teams met was in 2016, in the Sapphire Division II Finals, where the Warrior’s took home 1st place.

The battle between the London teams, kicked off with Wembley’s defense taking to the field first. Although some of their big hitters were being nailed down by the Warrior’s blockers, it allowed rookie players to make some key hits and tackles.  Linebacker Lina Malten and defensive back Anna Young stepped up to the plate and threw their bodies into the play to help secure some clutch stops in the 2nd and 3rd drives.

Veteran QB Chloe Baton headed up a strong Warriors' offence. Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves
Veteran QB Chloe Baton headed up a strong Warriors’ offence. Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves

Warrior’s veteran QB Chloe Baton, had her work cut out for her, but with a plethora of options on offense, was able to connect with the likes of Siobhan Walker, Marena Newtown Wright, and Flore Van Uffelen. Defensively, the Warriors had a challenge upon them, as their coaches were tied up with the senior game, so veteran DB Lucie Stewart stepped up to the challenge of play calling.

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The Stallion’s quarterback, Emma Arnold, had a great game, displaying a high pass completion rate. A beautiful pass to Jemma Kean and some stampeding runs from Angie Sowerby, kept the Warrior’s on their toes. However, the Warrior’s came through in a pinch and managed to shut down the Stallion’s offense, inches from a first down.

Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves
Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves

A grueling game of two defenses led to the final result – a win for the London Warriors.  Double Coverage caught up with Angie Sowerby of the Stallions, who said,

“The team thoroughly enjoyed playing a game of football against a top quality team, which the Warrior’s are. We still have a lot to work on and develop in our young, growing, team, with a key focus on expanding our numbers for next season.”

Commentator Karisa Lundberg shared after the game;

“This event provided a fantastic chance to showcase women’s involvement in American Football. I think we’ve certainly seen the evidence of this growth, very quickly, based on accomplishments of both programs in a short period of time.”

Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves
Photography (C) Roger Goodgroves
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Nick

Nick ‘Willy Tee’ Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he’s spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general ‘BUAFL wafflage’. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1