Trophy Hunters – The College Bowl

One of the frustrating things about being involved in British American Football is how careless we are with our own history.

For students of the game there are very few reliable sources of historical information that charts the winners, the losers, the leagues, the champions, and the teams that have played our wonderful version of the game since 1983.

An occasional Wikipedia page, and the sadly fallen in to disrepair BritballNow website, are all that charts what has gone before. Even our own Governing Body haven’t hosted a functioning Fixtures and Results page in a number of years now.

The sad reality is, that charting the efforts, the scores, the leagues, and the champions, falls to a band of willing volunteers (such as our own Double Coverage) and a few history nerds like myself who have landed in this position just from an inability to throw anything out.

Previous projects have charted the Uniball champions through the years, the Uniball Hall of Fame Players and Uniball Hall of Fame Coaches, and the history of the GB Student programme.

One of the side notes to come out of all this rummaging around was a simple question: Whatever became of the Old College Bowl trophy?

It became apparent I wasn’t the only person looking to trace its location. BAFA competitions Director Russ Hewitt was also on its trail, keen to either recycle it for the current University champions or to try and replicate it as a new BUCS trophy for future title games.

The trophy was originally commissioned by Paul Jarvis, president of the then student American Football league BCAFL. Sculptor Karl Kenney created a unique bronze trophy, partly for a university degree project, and this was awarded to the College Bowl champions from 1990 to 2007. The last recipients of the trophy appear to have been the UWE Bullets before the league was reconstituted as BUAFL and the trophy replaced with a silver cone.

Karl Kenney has sadly passed away, and one of the rumours that abound about the trophy is that it was donated back to his family, however no one really knows (UWE have checked their cupboards)!

There isn’t even much photographic evidence of the trophy’s existence either. The best image we have is the silhouette that used to appear on the front of the National Final gameday programmes.

It would be nice to try and trace this small piece of Britball history and somehow find a way to bring it back into use.

And, you get the feeling, this probably isn’t the only piece of British Football history gathering dust in somebody’s attic.

Please get in touch with Double Coverage if you think you may be able to help track the trophy down, or even if you have more photos/videos, or perhaps just anecdotes about either this particular trophy or other items of Britball history that are worthy of being recorded and remembered.

We’ve got a lot of hopes to vastly expand our ‘archives’ here at DC and if you’re an avid Britball historian? We’d love to hear from you.