Playoff action is next up for the Tamworth Phoenix, with successful seasons for both the adult and U17 teams earning each a chance to play in this year’s Britbowl national championship events.
An exciting climax to the regular season saw both Phoenix teams challenge for division titles. In the playoffs, the adult team faces an away semi-final against the current national champion London Warriors, with the U17’s hosting the Northern playoff tournament.
Having secured a playoff place with a 22-15 victory against the Lancashire Wolverines at a rain soaked Atherstone Sports Hub in July, the Phoenix adult team narrowly lost out on a Premiership North division title with a close 21-14 away defeat in a division-deciding matchup against the East Kilbride Pirates.
Tamworth Phoenix club chairman James Hossack, in his first season in the role with the Phoenix, took plenty of positives from the adult team’s 8-2 record and the U17 team’s success: “It was tough for the adult team to miss out on the division title, but we’re all both excited for and focused on the playoffs right now.”
“We’re proud of everyone that has represented the Phoenix programme so well this season and we’re all looking forward to testing ourselves in the playoffs. It’s going to be great for the adult team to go up against such a high quality opponent in the London Warriors, whilst I’m sure the U17 team will relish the challenge that their tournament represents,” said Hossack.
The Phoenix U17 team, currently the Phoenix’s only age group team, ranked fifth in the United Kingdom and finished second in the North 2 division standings. With the youngsters getting their first experiences of the sport of American football, and with six rookies in the squad, the team’s coaches were delighted with the 10-1-1 record.
“I am so proud of this group of young lads. They have developed as young men and into a great team,” said coach David Lockwood. Whilst coach Ian Statham said, “when game day comes around these group of individuals come together as one. They are brothers fighting for the same cause, to win together.”
Success at the U17 level is a sign of the future to come for the Phoenix, with the ‘youth’ age group providing an opportunity to develop towards adult level American football. Next season, the Phoenix will be looking to create the opportunity to progress along that pathway with the development of an U19 team.
But for now, with only a few practice sessions remaining before the Phoenix’s playoff matches, players and coaches across the two adult and U17 teams will be focused on preparations for the upcoming playoffs.
The Tamworth Phoenix adult team will play against the London Warriors on Sunday, August 23rd (away) at Streatham-Croydon Rugby Football Club, CR7 7JP, with the U17 team hosting the Northern playoff tournament during the same weekend. To stay up to date as more details are released, head to the Phoenix’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TamworthPhoenix or follow the club on Twitter at @TamworthPhoenix.