The Pro Cloud Transatlantic Trophy is yet another groundbreaking achievement for Britain’s premier women’s programme, who continue to push the boundaries of the sport.
The tournament follows on from the success of the Lions in the Helsinki-hosted Diamond Bowl earlier this year, where the Lions went undefeated in their first eleven-a-side international club tournament.
What’s more, the event’s not just about superb international balling - Birmingham are also utilising the event to raise funds and awareness for a great cause - Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
What and where?
The Tournament takes place between Friday 31 August and Sunday 2 September, featuring three round-robin format fixtures between the three international programmes attending, to determine the inaugural champion!
The fixtures are as follows:
- Friday 31 August
New York Sharks vs Helsinki Wolverines
Kick Off 19:30
- Saturday 01 September
Helsinki Wolverines vs Birmingham Lions
Kick Off 16:00
- Sunday 02 September
Birmingham Lions vs New York Sharks
Kick Off 14:00
All the fixtures will be played out at the Bournbrook 3G Pitch at the University of Birmingham.
The tournament is, of course, hosted by the Britball Nation’s own Birmingham Lions. They will be joined by Finland’s Women’s Champions, the Helsinki Wolverines, as well as, for the first time in the British women’s game, visitors from across the pond - the New York Sharks!
If you know anything at all about the British Women’s game, you’ll know who the Lions are. They’ve dominated the format right from the get-go, winning every single full-contact National Championship since the women’s game was established… in fact, they’ve never even lost a single domestic fixture!
Every year Birmingham supply the Lions’ share of the GB roster, and are host to many of the stars of the British American Football, including the small runner who makes huge plays, Ruth Matta, cool-headed QB Jo Kilby, and Britball’s busiest lady, Phoebe Schecter!
The Lions have proven themselves tireless in their drive to push the game forwards in the UK, not only with their success ON the field, but also off it: year in, year out, the Birmingham women’s programme continue to push the boundaries of the sport, with the establishment of the Pro Cloud Transatlantic Trophy just another step in their implacable march.
Something of a familiar face to the Lions, the Lions and Wolverines have met previously, with the Lions taking their first dabble into 9-a-side club football in February 2017, as they travelled to Helsinki and came away with a surprise 34-14 victory over their hosts.
The Helsinki Wolverines women’s team was only established in 2014, but they’ve quickly risen to prominence in the Finnish game. They currently boast two squads that play both in both tiers of the game, and picked up a National Championship earlier this month with a hugely convincing undefeated campaign!
The Wolverines took the final 55-12 over Diamond Bowl attendees, the St Petersburg Valkyries, with star running back Tytti Kuusinen rushing for an incredible 248 yards - averaging over 10 yards a carry and notching up five scores!
Expect the Wolverines to be a tough contender for the inaugural trophy title as they’ve been winning the battles in the trenches all year long, Head Coach Pekke Lamminsalo crediting the Wolverine O Line for their dominant campaign.
New York Sharks
The real groundbreaking component here, as we see the transatlantic component of the Trophy: The New York Sharks are a women’s American Football team playing out of New York City. They are currently a member of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) and are the longest running and winningest team in women’s football history with the honour of having a signed football in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Similarly to the other two teams heading into this tournament, the Sharks are coming off a Championship winning season - having hoisted the WFA Division Two title in July as Quarterback Karen Mulligan worked her connection with wideout Gina Capardi to take a 27-21 victory over the Minnesota Vixen.
Still, this trip to blighty will be something of a bitter-sweet outing for the Sharks, who are calling a close to their 20-year tenure following the Pro Cloud Trophy. The team was sold by ownder Andra Douglas earlier this year, and the new New York women’s outfit will be dubbed the New York Wolves.
As such, expect the Sharks to look to go out with a bang as a roster that boasts a number of All-Americans hits our shores and looks to take a bite out of their opponent’s in their programme’s big FINale!
How to get involved?
Well, the first bit’s obvious: GO TO THE GAMES!
The University of Birmingham annually plays host to Britball’s biggest event - xpLosION - and the teams would all welcome a hefty crowd to add to the atmosphere. Make sure you check out the event on Facebook to learn more.
If you can’t get to the games, fear not! The awesome crew over at Onside Productions will be streaming all three fixtures LIVE. Check out our watch section for links to view the games just as soon as they’re available!
And further, it’s worth remembering this whole tournament is being done not just for the balling, but also for another great cause - Birmingham Children’s Hospital!
You can support both the tournament, and a great cause, by buying tickets for the amazing raffle the Lions have put together.
There are fifteen prizes to play for, with tickets available either at any of the games, via any Lions player, or by messaging the Lions’ Facebook page and they’ll sort you out remotely! Hurry though - over a third of the tickets were sold before they were even printed!
We’ll be keeping track of the games via DC’s Facebook and Twitter, and keep you appraised of further updates.