We’ve been reliably informed that on Sundays, some of the #BritballNation actually do something other than pay attention to our manic live coverage of each and every* Britball game?!
Little things like working, supporting, or even playing in the actual games themselves all rather inconveniently get in the way of keeping yourself up to speed with the results and ramifications from around the #Nation.
Never fear, DC is here! With a scoop of the important bits from the past weekend of Britball!
The BAFA Women’s 16/17 year got underway this weekend with Round One of the Opal Series.
While we normally leave flag football to our friends over at PullingTheFlag.co.uk, as the fastest growing section of the sport we’re committed to full coverage of the Women’s game this season.
Moving On, Moving In
It’s certainly expected to be an interesting Series this year as a number of the prominent teams from last year have not entered the Opal for 2016.
The reigning Champs, the London Warriors, have not returned this year meaning a the crown is open for the taking. The Warriors upset the trend last year with a defeat of the two-time National Champs the Coventry Cougars.
The Warriors are joined by the likes of the Hertfordshire Tornadoes, Derby Braves and Leeds Chargers in programmes that will place their focus solely on the later Sapphire and Diamond Series.
Meanwhile a wealth of programmes enter their rookie season in the Opal Series, including the likes of established programmes taking their first foray into women’s ball such as the Chorley Buccaneers, Sandwell Steelers, Portsmouth Dreadnoughts (in cooperation with Portsmouth Destroyers) and Wembley Stallions, a second team entering the fray from the Coventry Cougars, and new challengers in the form of the Cardiff Valkyries and Peterborough Royals.
Cougars dominate the North
The Opal Northern conference sees 10 teams taking to the field this year, including odds-on favourites: the two-time National Champs, the Coventry Cougars.
In fact, opponents might have thought they were seeing double as Coventry entered two teams into Opal this season, fielding both their Championship winning seniors, as well as a team from their Youth programme.
Both sets of Cougars were dominant throughout the day – going 6-0 across their two teams.
The Seniors in particular were on devastating form – smashing a Staffordshire Surge team that was very short on personnel 69-0 in round one, before similarly dominating newcomers the Chorley Buccaneers 68-6 in their second game. Sheffield Hallam offered some resistance, losing out 33-12, but it appears the biggest threat to the Cougars might well be their sister Youth programme!
This one-handed grab with pack-pedal shimmy for the score (yes, you read that right) only highlights the day for the Cougars:
Hallam Warriors put in a strong showing in their games where they weren’t taking on the two-time champs, including a defeat of the similarly 2-1 Teesside Cougars – who in turn took away victories against the young teams from Nottingham and Sandwell.
There’s A Winning Link Between Black And Pink
The Opal South found itself shrunken to nine programmes following a late withdrawal from the London Warriors, who have opted instead to focus on the contact game that will kick off later in the year via the Sapphire and Diamond Series.
In their absence a pair of programmes dominated the opening tournament, and it seems that the key to success might be the choice of colour scheme.
Both the Northants Titans and Pink Panthers went undefeated through Saturday’s clashes, with the Panthers now sitting pretty at 3-0 despite the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts giving them a scare by holding them to a single score 6-0 win in their opening fixture.
Meanwhile the Northants Titans, favourites for the conference coming into the weekend, put in a pair of truly dominant performances – 53-0 over the Wembley Stallions and 38-0 over the Warwick Wolves. Shutouts are a rare thing in the flag game, so it says a lot about Opal Series organiser Jade Archibald’s team that they came away from the weekend with a +91 point differential and a duck egg in the Pagt column!
NFL Invades The Home of Rugby
Put aside the differences and rivalries between the two sports for now, that age-old argument never gets anywhere.
The International Series played its first fixture at the UK’s second largest stadium, home of England Rugby since 1909, Twickenham.
Contrary to the concerns of some of the Ram’s press team who were worried what the facilities might be like in a stadium that’s over 100 years old, Twickenham offers some of the best views of any stadium in the UK, with it’s 82k capacity built in such a way as to make the crowd feel much closer to the action than at other venues.
All that said, reviews of the alternate have been mixed. Many appreciated the great views and atmosphere the stadium afforded (though it definitely didn’t feel like a Rams home game, we’ll say that much. Manning and Beckham Jr jerseys were out in force!), along with the cheaper food and drink.
However, travel to and from the stadium was heavily criticised, and the general ‘cramped’ feeling of the seating compared to Wembley was highlighted as a distinct negative. Similarly, the cheaper drink options, combined with an early opening with the tailgate, combined to many noting the large number of attendees who seemed more interested in their drinking in the stands than the balling on the field.
What were your experiences at Twickers? Let us know @Dbl_Coverage!