This weekend saw a belated and welcome return of Britball – British American Football – across England. After losing the 2020 season to lock-down it’s a triumph for the league’s executives, teams and the huge corps of ancillary staff that games kicked off yesterday.
Pre-Covid the British league was structured with a Northern Conference and Southern Conference of Premiership teams. The winner of each would face off in the annual BritBowl. Below them were Division 1 and Division 2 which operated a promotion and regulation system much like the EFL.
The traditional league structure has wisely been adjusted in 2021 to reduce travel for teams and ensure pads can hit pads throughout the summer.
The League is now aligning as 13 Divisions of geographically adjacent teams. It comes at some cost though as Premiership sides are now mixed into alignments with division 1 and 2 teams. Under Gentleman’s rules the behemoth, elite rosters (predominantly London Teams) will adjust their depth charts and game-plans in an effort to ensure competitiveness on a game by game basis. That said, it’s going to be a long, tough season for some of the smaller teams. A welcome price for the privilege of competing.
As with every season, some teams have to pull out due to finances, player/coach availability and administrative strife – (notably this year) The Hastings Conquerors who forfeited their season just a day before their opening match. Reason (currently) unknown. Teams in the UK have come and gone over the years in Britball, as is the tenuous landscape of amateur sport. There are 70 registered teams with BAFA and for many of them battle commenced yesterday, Sunday 27th June, 2 months later than a normal year for the Summer league. The Caledonian – Scottish Division – will be starting their campaigns beginning in August, inline with National Covid protocols.
Between now and late September most teams will complete an 8 game schedule over a 14 week season on their road to BritBowl 2021.
Britball Divisions 2021
BAFANL South West : Jurassic Coast Raptors, Cornwall Monarchs, Bristol Apache, Torbay Trojans, Somerset Wyverns.
BAFANL South East: East Essex Sabres, East Kent Mavericks, South East Squadron, Hastings Conquerors (withdrawn), Sussex Thunderbolts, Essex Spartans.
BAFANL Severn: Birmingham Bulls, Bristol Aztecs, South Wales Warriors, Swindon Storm, Hereford Stampede, Worcestershire Black Knights.
BAFANL South: Solent Thrashers, Bournemouth Bobcats, Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, Sussex Thunder, Rushmoor Knights.
BAFANL Red Rose: Manchester Titans, Chester Romans, Halton Spartans, Lancashire Wolverines, Merseyside Nighthawks, Leigh Miners.
BAFANL White Rose: Sheffield Giants, Humber Warhawks, Doncaster Mustangs, Knottingley Raiders, Yorkshire Rams, Leeds Bobcats.
BAFANL Hadrians: Carlisle Kestrels, DC Presidents, Darlington Steam, Gateshead Senators, Morecambe Bay Storm, Northumberland Vikings.
BAFANL London: London Blitz, Kent Exiles, London Olympians, London Warriors.
BAFANL East Anglia: Ipswich Cardinals, Ouse Valley Eagles, Colchester Gladiators, Cambridgeshire Cats, Norwich Devils.
BAFANL Mercia: Leicester Falcons, Tamworth Eagles, Sandwell Steelers, Staffordshire Surge, Crewe Railroaders, Shropshire Revolution.
BAFANL Thames Valley: Wembley Stallions, London Blitz B, Oxford Saints, Hertfordshire Cheetahs, London Hornets.
BAFANL Central East: Nottingham Caesars, Northants Knights, Lincolnshire Bombers, Scunthorpe Alphas, South Lincs Lightening.
BAFANL Caledonia: East Kilbride Pirates, Edinburgh Wolves, Glasgow Tigers, Aberdeen Roughnecks, Inverclyde Goliath.
17 games were completed yesterday, Sunday 27th:
Jurasssic Coast Raptors 12 – 38 Cornwall Monarchs
Bristol Apache 52 – 0 Torbay Trojans
Oxford Saints 12 – 16 London Blitz B
Wembley Stallions 19 – 7 Hertfordshire Cheetahs
East Kent Mavericks 6 – 25 East Essex Sabres
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts 0 – 20 Bournemouth Bobcats
Solent Thrashers 34 – 0 Sussex Thunder
Manchester Titans 83 – 0 Lancashire Wolverines
Chester Romans 20 – 15 Halton Spartans
Sheffield Giants 41 – 6 Knottingley Raiders
Humber Warhawks 24 – 17 Doncaster Mustangs
Kent Exiles 7 – 9 London Blitz
Ouse Valley 3 – 24 Ipswich Cardinals
Leicester Falcons 7 – 12 Tamworth Phoenix
Sandwell Steelers 19 – 0 Staffordshire Surge
Nottingham Caesars 14 – 6 Northants Knights
All the big teams secured opening weekend victories as expected. For the rest of the league they successfully blew off Covid cobwebs and got the blood coursing through their veins once again. The Summers underway, the league is open and games are being played.
Get involved! Join your local teams Social Media, sign up for their newsletters via available websites and go and watch Britball 2021! Please do refer to each team’s Covid19 policies on spectators before travelling! Also keep your digital radar on for Facebook live feeds which a few teams are offering.
Our league is currently amateur, but the groundswell and support from British American Football fans is enormous. There is a deep love and passion for the game on our Island – not quite as big as Cricket and Football – and naturally this leads to many opportunities to become actively involved. Be it volunteering your skills and expertise to your local team, harnessing a creative, unique commercial sponsorship opportunity or simply being a great Fan!