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After a successful season which saw the rebirth of the Tamworth Phoenix under new leadership and a reinvigorated community ethos, the club is looking to build on both the adult and U17 teams reaching national semi-finals.
Whilst the adult team fell just short of reaching the Britbowl with a close 14-9 defeat to the eventual national champion London Warriors, the U17 team lost out by a score of 32-24 to Leeds Academy in the final match of the Northern Playoff Tournament at the Atherstone Sports Hub.
“It’s a great achievement for both of our teams to have reached and competed so well in national semi-finals. We’re all proud of our U17 team continuing its success since its inception in 2012 and it’s great for the adult team to have started off so well in our new vision for its growth a part of a comprehensive community-based American football programme.” Said Tamworth Phoenix chairman James Hossack.
The Phoenix adult team were a force to be reckoned with through the Premiership North regular season. Whilst the team’s defense proved to one of the best in the nation, the offense progressed to become a threat to score from anywhere on the field and capped the season off with a 90-yard touchdown through a dogged performance in the semi-final match.
Qualifying for the playoffs with an 8-2 record, the adult team narrowly missed out on the Premiership North division title. And with a significant improvement for the team over the course of the season, head coach Martin Hilton took a number of positives from the team’s performance as well as the semi-final match:
“To lose in the semi-final was such a heart breaking result. The team has improved so much over the year and to take on the national champions at their home ground, match them on the field and be leading near the end but not win the game was a tough pill to swallow. All credit to the London Warriors though, they are a quality side and made some huge plays to win the game.
The loss hasn’t dampened my pride in what the team has achieved this year. We’ve built a strong group and got better both on and off the field, so we will learn and use this result as fuel for next year. Most of all though I want to thank all the coaches, volunteers and players for the work they’ve put in to get us here and know we’ll be working just as hard for next year,” said Hilton.
The Phoenix U17’s were also a team to be feared, with a North Division no.2 ranking earning the right to host the Northern Playoff tournament at the Atherstone Sports Hub. Despite missing out on advancing to the Britbowl in the eight team competition, a 10-1 regular season record ensured a third successive winning season.
“With the first home tournament for youth or junior level in Phoenix history, levels of success have improved every year from 2012. I would say that the outlook for next year is looking positive. We’re going to have a good amount of players returning and then it is going to have to be a steady recruitment.” Said Phoenix youth team coach Andy Garrett.
Not resting on their laurels, the Phoenix have already begun preparing for the upcoming recruitment stage of the team’s calendar and the exciting development of a new U19 team – Watch out for free try-out days for players of all experience in November and then into the new year!