The rivalry of the United Kingdom’s American Football Premiership North division comes to a head this Saturday, as the Tamworth Phoenix (4-0) play host to the East Kilbride Pirates (3-1) at the Atherstone Sports Hub (CV9 1LX): 2.30pm KO, free admission.
Defending a position at the top of the division standings, the Phoenix will be looking to continue the four game winning-streak that the team has started the season with. But the Pirates, having suffered their only defeat of the season by just three points in their opening match, will be hungry for pillage.
The Pirates offense, ranked first in points scored across the British Premiership’s two divisions (169 points scored), will prove a stern test for a Phoenix defense that has conceded just eight points and wrought havoc upon opposing teams so far this season.
But the Phoenix offense, not to be outdone, will look to continue a run of form into this week’s game. Last week, the unit proved too hot to handle for the Yorkshire Rams with the Phoenix running out 43-0 victors in a first game in over a month at the Atherstone Sports Hub.
“It was great to get another win under our belts at our new home at the Sports Hub last week. But this game against the Pirates, approaching the halfway mark of the season, is really important. I’m looking forward to what will be a great game for ‘Nix Nation friends, family and fans that come to watch and a showcase for the sport of American Football in the local area.” Said Tamworth Phoenix chairman James Hossack.
Entry to the game is FREE and all are invited. A bar will be available for refreshments during the game, with a post match BBQ for discussing both the days action and any queries about the sport of American Football with Phoenix players and coaches. With the additional volume of supporters expected for the game, those attending are advised to allow extra time for parking.
Heading into the game, Phoenix coaches spoke on what the challenge of the Phoenix-EKP match represents:
Defensive coordinator Jason Scott:
“We’re extremely fortunate to be going into this game still undefeated – it’s testament to the hard work that the team has put in so far. However, they all know that it’s going to take even more hard work to emerge from the weekend still unbeaten. East Kilbride are a phenomenal team. Every year they’re knocking on the door, and seem to have had the number on us in recent history. We’re going to have to pull together, and use everything we have to beat them. I was on the sideline when we turned over the Pirates in the Division 1 final four years ago. I was also on the sideline when they comprehensively beat us at home the previous year. I know what they’re all about – they’re a tough, physical, well coached team.
They’ve got fantastic offensive line, and one of the best running backs in the nation. We’re going to have our work cut out to slow them down offensively.
Thankfully, we’ve got some great athletes of our own on defense, so it should be a fantastic battle.”
Head coach Martin Hilton said:
“I’m really excited for this Saturday and our game against East Kilbride. For several years now, we’ve fought it out to be the best team in the North and every game has always been a hard hitting, challenge for both sides. If history is anything to go by, we come in as underdogs having lost the previous three games to the Pirates and the Scottish side have shown again this year that they have a lot of talent in their team with three wins already, but the Phoenix have been working hard, achieved some great results as well and there’s a real determination and belief that we have what it takes to win this weekend. It won’t be easy, but that just makes for a better game of football to watch for everyone.”
Join the #NixNation social media conversation as the gameday excitement builds: /TamworthPhoenix on Facebook, @TamworthPhoenix on Twitter and Instagram. Or visit www.tamworthphoenix.co.uk for more information. #FireMeUp
Photos courtesy of Helen Scott.
Written by John Winter.