Sapphire 2017 Division Two North & West

Sapphire 2017 Division Two North & West

Guest author Sarah Jauncey is the Head Coach of American Football at the University of Chester, as well as Director of Education for BAFCA and QB coach for Great Britain Ladies Flag Football.

The second round of the women’s D2 took place at a very overcast and cold Cheshire County Sports Ground. This league comprises of Chester Romans, Staffordshire Surge, Teeside Steelers, Cardiff Valkyries, and Sandwell Steelers.

Unfortunately I was working in the morning and was a little late getting to the tournament, but it was important for me to get to the game, I know many of the coaches and have coached some of the teams on show, either as a full time coaching staff member or a guest coach. When I got to the field, I first spoke to my GB Flag coach partner in crime Simon Browning – and helped him out with a bit of impromptu QB coaching! This is the great thing within the game, the majority of coaches know each other, work together and help each other out – how else will this great game grow? I love the fact that we could share our knowledge and our experience in such an impromptu and unplanned fashion – welcome to British football!

The game between Staffordshire Surge and Teeside Steelers was the first game I caught. Surge, the only team in the North with a female Head Coach, Phoebe Schecter, put out a strong team vs the Teeside Ladies. Two standout running backs on show in this game, in Aishah Aliyah for Teeside and Tash Crump for Staffs. Great ball carrying skills, turn of speed and ability to read openings, they were both a joy to watch, and a snippet of the future of women’s football, athletic, powerful and unafraid to run the ball.  The game ended with a resounding 40-0 win to Teeside, many of the yards coming from the running of Aliyah.

The next game saw Chester Romans face the Cardiff Valkyries. A strange one for me personally as I have been involved in some way with both teams as a coach. Chester Romans defense showed themselves to be the strength within the game, Megan Delaney for Chester showing her great technique and ability to become the games stand out player. Cardiff was able to show their ability to throw deep and keep their heads against a strong defense. Chester took the game 42-6.

Sandwell played Surge in the last game of the day. Sandwell had lost 24-6 to Chester earlier on in the day and showed a resilient and progressive set of plays to put out a fabulous performance to beat Staffs 20-6. A committed run by Staffs’ running back Tash Crump saw them take their 6 points. Both of these teams are relatively new to the game, and it was a good match up.

The sapphire series in this league is played 5v5 full contact, the fields are smaller than with the full 11v11 game. It is clear to people like me, who have been involved with women’s’ football since pretty much the start, that the ability and technique is improving year on year. Teams are getting bigger and the game is more accessible for all. Onwards and Upwards.

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