1996 to 2000 - UK hits rock bottom

Highlights of the year: 

Panthers win the big one at last
O's/Bulls re-invented
Scotland/Wales national sides set up

In 1996, the BAFA Senior League name was changed to the British Senior League which itself was affiliated to BAFA.

Before the 1996 season started there were further withdrawals of teams from the newly formed league. Teams not returning for 1996 included the Leeds Cougars, Colchester Gladiators, Trent Valley Warriors, Rockingham Rebels, Stockton Gators and West Country Phoenix. The Wessex Buccaneers folded, which meant that there would no longer be a team in Bournemouth - traditionally a footballing area. The legendary Tiptree Titans also disbanded.

The big surprise was the reformation of the London Olympians and the Birmingham Bulls. For the past couple of seasons, both sides had been running reserve sides - the Olympians II actually had been competing in the official leagues. Both teams re-invented themselves in Division Two.

The Bulls team that had won the bowl the previous year now ceased to exist, the name living on from the old Bulls 2 team. The Olympians owner stopped the team dead and kept the name, so the old Olympians 2 team took the name London O's to keep the team together. Both clubs maintained much of the same playing personnel as 1995 but in division Two. Unsurprisingly, they both romped to conference championships, with unbeaten regular seasons, and it was the O's who won the Division Two title with a 32-7 win. As a result of these changes, no British side took part in the 1996 EuroBowl competition.

Sheffield Cyclones played in Division One after signing many of the ex-Leeds Cougars team. They also signed former Cincinnati Bengal, James Brooks, who was living in the UK at the time. He rushed for over 120 yards on his debut versus Cambridge Cats

Brooks rushing vs Brighton

In Division One, Milton Keynes Pioneers romped to an unbeaten regular season as they won the Southern Conference, with the Chiefs (formerly the Basildon Chiefs) grabbing second spot from the Sussex Raiders. In the Northern Conference, the Leicester Panthers and the Sheffield Cyclones were a class apart, with Leicester taking the title. In the semi-finals, Leicester received a walk-over into their first ever national final when the Chiefs failed to play the game. The reason is unknown at present. Milton Keynes defeated Sheffield 34-20 to set up a final between the two conference championship winners. In the final, Leicester achieved their dream of winning the national title with a 10-6 win, in a hard fought defensive battle.

Leicester Panthers with the trophy

In Division Three, Chester Romans, Norwich Devils, Redditch Arrows and Winchester Rifles all won conference titles, and it was the Rifles who won the title after failing to concede a single point in the playoffs. In the final they destroyed Redditch 48-0.

Rifles QB Cliff Boddington

Glasgow Lions won the SGA title, and then won SGA Bowl II 60-6 against the Stirling Broncos. In other finals in 1996, the Leeds Celtics won College Bowl X with a 14-8 win against Cardiff Cobras. Farnham Knights won the Youth Kitted title with a 22-0 victory against the Lancashire Wolverine Colts. Fen Harriers took the Youth Flag title with an exciting 44-22 win against the Plymouth Commodores. Doncaster Wildcats won the Junior Flag title with a 20-8 win against the Brighton B-52s.

The GB senior squad did not play any international games in 1996, but the GB Crusaders played Switzerland in a European Junior Championships qualifier at White Hart Lane prior to a Monarchs game, losing 23-28. The Crusaders also played Team USA Milwaukee at Finsbury Park, losing 42-12.

Other international matches played in 1996, included a double header between Scotland and Ireland. Scotland winning 20-6 at home in their debut game, and then winning 14-3 at Birmingham. Ireland also played Wales in a friendly at Nottingham, winning 44-21.

The 1996 season was a difficult one for the London Monarchs, who began the campaign in a blaze of publicity following the signing of former Chicago Bears defender William 'Refrigerator' Perry. Hammond was released after opening the season with two losses but his replacement - offensive co-ordinator Lionel Taylor - steadied the ship as the team rallied to a 4-6 record. London's attendances rose by 25 per cent.In December 1996, Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea FC, was named as the Monarchs new venue. London had played the final game of 1996 at the stadium and attracted over 11,000 fans.

The Claymores hosted World Bowl '96, defeating the Frankfurt Galaxy 32-27 in front of 38,982 fans at Murrayfield on June 23.

In 1996 the GB Bulldogs (the College All-star team) had an abbreviated season consisting of only two games, against the Oregon All-Star team and against the Cambridge Cats, now a BAFA Senior League Division-One team. The scores were GB Bulldogs 20 Oregon All-Stars 38 and GB Bulldogs 34 Cambridge Cats 27. The victory over the Cambridge Cats was the first ever by a BCAFL team over a BAFA Senior League Division-One team.

In '96 the BAFA Senior League attempted to launch their own Senior Flag league on the same semi-contact basis. Despite gaining serious interest from 4/5 teams, the BSL failed to get behind the league and left the teams (Leicester, Birmingham, Peterborough & Bath) to organise their own games.

A new senior kitted league, the BIGC (British Independent Gridiron Conference), was formed very soon after the end of the 1996 BSL season in direct response to ever-increasing league fees (at the time the BSL employed a full time commissioner) and lack of competition. Originally it was called the Big 6 but changed it's name in early 1997.


Highlights of the year: 

BIGC 'superleague' formed
Panthers/Pioneers fold
GB fall to Italy and Finland
Scotland win 'Home Nations' championship

The BIGC league intended to get a TV deal and had a rule where member clubs must form a youth policy. Dan Brooks was behind the new league. The top teams were unhappy about the NDMA/BNGL merger 3 years previously, and about the way the new league was run. Dan Brooks offered an alternative to "high overheads of BSL membership" and complained about the BSL "lacked vision". The NDMA had sponsorship (until the last year), the clubs had not previously paid high league fees. The BSL was self-financing and this was always a sore point with the top clubs. They considered the league did not do enough to raise the profile of the sport or attract sponsorship. The O's and Bulls had already shown how they would dictate to the league when they persuaded Dave Quincey to place them in Division 2 in the 1996 season. Dave Quincey had already fought off a rival league the previous autumn when the UKFL was announced as a "viable alternative to the stagnation and decline of the British game". The six BIG C teams were Leicester Panthers and Milton Keynes Pioneers (1996 DIV 1 finalists) London O's and Birmingham Bulls (1996 DIV 2 finalists), Brooks' own team Sheffield Cyclones and a new club in Manchester intended to be called the Force and run by ex-GB (and ex Cyclone) QB Paul Ashton.

The league was struggling before the season started, since Leicester Panthers folded and the new Manchester team never got off the ground. The former as the majority of players had decided to call it a day once the Panthers had at last been crowned British champs and in the case of the latter it seemed to be a case of putting the cart before the horse, the organisation appeared to be in place before any players had registered. Ultimately they were unable to commit themselves to the league and shut up shop before a game was played. The league was barely viable with only the 4 remaining teams,and there was no interest from other prospective members. This gave the league two options, either cancel the whole thing or press ahead with four teams, the league chose to continue.

The season was marked out by highly skilful, competitive matches and the crowds turned out, too. Milton Keynes could get 4-500 a game, the Bulls a similar figure but the problem was there were only so many times you could play the same teams and the playoffs were simply the Big4 (as they became known) playing each other in the semis. Perhaps surprisingly, the Pioneers actually won the 6-game regular season, but come the playoffs they struggled to get past the 0-6 Sheffield Cyclones. In the other semi, the O's defeated the Bulls 17-7.

The bowl itself was a different matter. Well advertised, shown live on cable TV and a beautiful day to boot in a great stadium (Milton Keynes National Hockey Stadium) drew in a crowd of 2,500 who witnessed, according to First Down "the greatest game ever played in the UK", the title went to the O's who beat the Pioneers 26-20 in overtime. 

O's WR Palumbo scores in the final

Despite early plans to continue the league it was felt that a new regime had begun in the BSL and that it was time to return to the fold and that is what the Cyclones, the O's and the Bulls did. It was left to the Pioneers to go it alone, looking across the water for top-notch European competition and a place in the new indoor league that was opening in 1998. Sadly for football none of these things got off the ground and the Pioneers faded from the scene.

In the BSL another drop in teams ensued as the Brighton B-52's merged with the Sussex Raiders to form the Sussex Thunder. The Southern Seminoles merged with the Farnham Knights to form the PA Knights. Manchester Falcons and Duchy Destroyers both pulled out, and Portsmouth Tridents, Winchester Rifles and Southern Sundevils all merged into one club with the Sundevils the surviving name. The number of divisions also fell - from three to two.

In BSL Division One, no side went through the season unbeaten, though three teams finished with a 9-1 record. In the South East & Midlands Conference, the Essex Chiefs won the title, but in the South West & Midlands Conference two sides vied for the title. Oxford Saints and the Sussex Thunder were only separated by point's difference after the regular season and identical 9-1 records, but Oxford took the conference title. In the playoffs, Redbridge Fire, despite finishing third in the South East & Midlands Conference defeated three sides with superior records and completely against the odds won the Division One title with a 26-7 victory against the Nottingham Caesars.

In Division Two, West Bromich Vipers, Leicester Huntsmen, PA Farnham Knights and Bristol Aztecs all won conference championships, with Bristol winning the final against the Chiltern Cheetahs (who had finished 2nd in West Bromich's conference) 27-6.

The 1997 London Monarchs campaign began with Alton Byrd being appointed as the team's third general manager following the resignation of Moores in December. Just days later, Muhammad created history when he was named as a London national player for the fifth straight season - a World League record at the time. However, once again the Monarchs could only manage a 4-6 record as injuries took a heavy toll particularly at quarterback where five different players were used. Two of the few high points of the difficult season were a pair of victories over arch rivals the Scottish Claymores.

Before the SGA season started in 1997, the shock news came that the Glasgow Lions were quitting. They were probably victims of their own success. They had won the league in 1995 and 1996 with overwhelming SGA Bowl wins over the Granite City Oilers (76-0) and Stirling Broncos (60-6) respectively, but blow-out wins week after week didn't provide a great deal of incentive for players to continue. With the level of competition not what they were used to, the regrettable decision was taken not to go on. Players moved on to other teams, most of them to East Kilbride, based a few miles south of Glasgow. In 1997 East Kilbride Pirates won their first title with a 24-6 victory in SGA Bowl III against the Dundee Whalers.

In the 1997 EuroBowl competition, Britain was in a strange position as the 1996 title holders Leicester Panthers had folded in the off-season. Milton Keynes Pioneers (who had lost last season's final to the Panthers, and were not playing in the "official" league) took their position and travelled to Paris to face the Mousquetaires in a quarter-final match-up. The Paris side had too much for the Pioneers and won 22-0.

Great Britain took on Spain in a qualifying match in Madrid in February for the European Championship finals in Bolzano, Italy that summer. In a game that was a lot tighter than most people expected, GB won 17-14, but only after a last minute 41 yard TD pass from Stuart Franklin to Mark Cohen. Sean McConie had put the Brits on the board in the second quarter with a 10 yard run, but Spain responded before half-time to make the score 7-6 to GB at the break. In the third quarter Jon Wyse's 20 yard field goal put GB 10-6, before Spain took the lead with a 1-yard run and converted the 2 PAT to go 14-10 in front. Cohen's catch saved red faces all round.

GB, therefore qualified for the four nations finals in Bolzano and they faced Finland in the semi-finals. GB quickly fell behind 10-0, but Victor Mohammed's 80 yard TD run reduced the scoreline to 10-6 at half-time. Finland pulled away in the second half with two further TD's to win the match 24-6. In the third/fourth place playoff, Britain finished the tournament with a disappointing 14-7 defeat against the hosts, Italy. Victor Mohammed scored the sole British TD of the game on a 1 yard run in the second quarter with Jon Wyse adding the PAT. Italy levelled the scores before half-time on a 8 yard TD catch from Barbaotti. Italy won the game in the fourth quarter on a 2 yard TD run from Angeloni.

Finland went on to win the 1997 European Championships with a 27-6 win against Sweden in the final.

The GB Crusaders played one game in 1997, a friendly against the touring US side from Mount St Josephs High School. The game was played at Crystal Palace, and the Americans won, but the score is currently unknown.

Scotland won the Home Nations title after defeating Ireland 31-6 in Belfast, and Wales 38-6. Ireland took second spot after a 40-20 win against the Welsh.

Scotland celebrate their Home Nations win

Loughborough Aces won College Bowl XI, defeating Tarannau Aberystwyth 28-19. In the other Britball finals in 1997, Lancashire Wolverine Colts won their first title by winning the Youth Kitted Bowl 24-12 against the Farnham Knights. UDL Longhorns picked up the Division Two title with a 22-12 win against the Kent Pumas. Brighton B-52s won the Youth Flag final defeating the Doncaster Wildcats 36-14, but the Brighton Junior Flag side lost out in trying to make a Brighton double as they lost the final 2 matches to nil to the Bournemouth Renegades.


Highlights of the year: 

O's/Bulls reunited with BSL
O's take title
GB thrash France
Monarchs franchise moved
Spartans travel to the States
Senior Flag league set up

Before the 1998 season started there were further withdrawals of teams from the BSL.Milton Keynes Pioneers announced that they wouldn't be competing in the BSL this year, instead they were playing a full season of home and away matches against continental opposition as well as taking part in an indoor league with 5 other British teams. Neither of these things ever happened and the Pioneers, a once great team, faded away into nothing.

The once-mighty Northants Storm (runners-up in 1990) also withdrew. Sheffield Cyclones changed their name to the Sheffield Saxons. Other withdrawals from lower down the league included: Carterton Wildcats, South Yorkshire Jaguars, North East Presidents, Invicta Eagles, Gwent Mustangs and the Bath Gladiators.

The BIG-C disappeared, and the three surviving clubs rejoined the BSL. The BSL organised their structure into 2 divisions. In Division One, Sussex Thunder and the London O's went through the regular season unbeaten and took the South West and South East Conference titles respectively. The Birmingham Bulls took the Northern Conference. All four quarter-finals went according to form, and in the semi's the O's crushed Bristol Aztecs 28-0, while Sussex Thunder made it to their first national final with a 26-24 home victory against the Bulls. The final was one-sided as the O's defeated the Thunder 20-0.

Tony Stitt led the Sussex Thunder to the final

In Division Two, Lancashire Wolverines, Redditch Arrows, London Mets and Southern Sundevils all took conference titles. All the playoff matches were hard fought and finished with tight scorelines. All conference winners made it through to the semis, though the Mets had to leave it late to pip the Tiger Bay Warriors 13-12. In the semis, the Wolverines edged the Redditch Arrows 14-12, and the Sundevils sneaked past the Mets 10-6. In the final, the Sundevils won promotion to the top-flight with a 22-16 victory over their northern opponents.

In Europe, no British side entered the EuroBowl competition, and the only National match was a European Nations qualifying match with the French in November at the Milton Keynes National Hockey Stadium. Great Britain had to win to qualify for the finals in Sweden in 1999. They did so comfortably 42-0. The Brits were 16-0 up at half-time thanks to a Simon Newnham safety, a Bruce Reid 10 yard TD run, and Rowelle Blenhan's 18 yard catch from QB Junior Price. In the second half, GB pulled away with a Robert Flickinger 60 yard interception return, a Darren Cooper 1 yard TD catch from Nick Hewitt, a Justin Oke 11 yard TD run and Steve Branscombe's 24 yard TD catch from Nick Hewitt.

Bruce Reid scores vs France

The off-season was a momentous one for the London Monarchs in the franchise's history with the name being changed to 'England Monarchs' in October. It was also announced that the team would play at three different home venues in 1998 - three games at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (south London), one at Ashton Gate Stadium (Bristol) and another at Alexander Stadium (Birmingham). Poor crowds blighted their season as they finished 3-7-0. The NFL decided that in 1999, they would be replaced by the Berlin Thunder.


In the BCAFL, the Hertfordshire Hurricanes won their first national title with a 16-7 win in College Bowl XII. Other national titles went to the Lancashire Wolverines Colts (who retained their crown) who won the Youth Kitted title with a 14-12 win against the Farnham Knights. The Doncaster Wildcats won the Youth Kitted Division Two title with a 32-22 win against the Southern Sundevils. The NFFA Youth Flag title was taken by the Doncaster Wildcats also, who thrashed the UCLA Renegades 32-8 in the final at Norman Green Stadium in Solihull.

1998 was also the first season that a National Senior Flag League would be run. The 5 Senior Flag sides that had been playing games purely on an ad-hoc basis for a couple of years were approached by NFFA to start an official league affiliated to the BSL. The Leicester Europa Eagles won the first NFFA Senior Flag league title following an unbeaten 8 game season.

Leicester Europa Eagles

In GB Crusaders had qualified for the European Junior Championship finals after a 54-0 thrashing of Norway in a qualifying game at Crystal Palace in May. In August they travelled with high hopes to Germany, after being drawn against Finland and France in group A. Things did not go according to plan, as they were routed firstly 52-0 by France, and then 49-7 by Finland. They had to play Switzerland in a 5th/6th place playoff, and lost again. This time 18-0. GB came back with the tail between their legs.

The GB Bulldogs played three friendlies in 1998. They defeated Team Canada 6-0 and German Universities 13-6, but suffered a narrow 27-26 defeat against the Dutch Universities.

In the UK Nations Cup, Scotland took the title with convincing wins against Wales (50-8) and England (36-6). England defeated Wales 27-2, and the Welsh went on to beat the Irish 34-6. A proposed game between Ireland and Scotland was changed at the eleventh hour to Carrickfergus Knights vs. SGA select, the Scots winning 44-0 (Carrickfergus were the current Irish champions, having beaten Dublin Tigers 22-14 in the 1998 title game),

Terry Smith re-formed the Spartans for a tour of the States to play a series of Arenaball games prior to the start up of a proposed UK/US Indoor League. The Spartans team travelled over to play two games against professional indoor football teams in the U.S. In doing so, they became the only British team to ever travel to play a U.S. team, and not against a high school or college team, but against two pro teams.They played two games, vs. Madison Mad Dogs 12-29 and vs. Green Bay Bombers 34-55. The U.S. side of the League later decided against all the travel back and forth, and the league never got off the ground.


Highlights of the year: 

SGA teams join BSL
O's win National Bowl
O's win in Europe again
Scotland win Four Nations cup

The SGA had folded in the off-season, and two of it's sides joined the BSL - East Kilbride Pirates who had won the Scottish Bowl the previous season, and the Strathclyde Sheriffs.

When the 1999 alignments were announced in the BSL, there was surprise as a National Conference was created in Division One with the top 4 sides in the country playing in it. The O's, Bulls, East Kilbride and the Sussex Thunder competed in an 8 game regular season, with the top two in the Conference playing each other for the title. In the event the O's went through the season unbeaten and then won a defensive battle with the Bulls 9-6 in the National Bowl.

O's RB Justin Oke

Two further major cities in the UK would now be without a team. The Sheffield Saxons had pulled out as had the Leicester Huntsmen. Cambridge (who had been playing since 1984) also folded as did the Hull Rockets, St.Helens Cardinals and Torbay Trojans. Redbridge Fire merged with the Essex Chiefs to form the Essex Spartans.

In the BSL Division One Bowl game, the Gateshead Senators defeated the Bristol Aztecs, and the Chester Romans won the BSL Division Two title with a thrilling 24-22 win against the Tiger Bay Warriors.

In the SGA, the East Kilbride Pirates dominated against four other opponents, and ended up winning the SGA Bowl IV 50-6 against the Dundee Whalers.

Hertfordshire Hurricanes won their second successive College title by defeating the Loughborough Aces 7-3 in College Bowl XIII. The London Capitals dominated the Youth Kitted season, and won the national title 32-0 against the Lancashire Wolverines. Milton Keynes Pathfinders defeated the UCLA Renegades 21-12 to take the Youth Flag final, and the Leicester Junior Eagles took the Junior Flag title with a convincing 32-6 win against the Sussex Junior Thunder.

After the first NFFA Senior Flag season in 1998, the NFFA was absorbed into BYAFA, and so the senior flag league was renamed as the British Senior Flag League (BSFL). The BSFL set up their own committee to run the league and continued to affiliate, register & pay insurance to BSL (still under the BAFA governing body). At around the same time, the under 18 game run by BYAFA decided to move to non-contact flag as promoted by the NFL. The BSFL league title was won by the Fen Harriers, who went through the league season undefeated, with a 6-0 record. Then In December of 1999, with no prior warning or discussion, BAFA announced that they were no longer going to recognise contact flag. The BSFL (as all their member clubs wished to continue to play contact flag) responded to this by declaring themselves an independent league and took out their own separate registrations, insurance policy and age policy (over 16's).

The London O's took part in European competition for the first time in 4 years as they entered the Eurocup (the equivalent of soccer's UEFA cup). The problem was that very few teams bothered with it. In fact only four took part in 99. In the semi final first leg the O's travelled to Amsterdam to play the Crusaders where they won 37-0. In the second leg at Southwark park the O's won 26-2, thanks to two Justin Oke TD's, but the game was abandoned in the 3rd quarter as the Cru were hamstrung with a spate of injuries causing them to concede early. They had started the game with 22 players, but received 6 injuries during the game! In the final, held at the Heysel stadium, Brussels, the O's defeated Oslo Vikings 12-6. After this game EFAF announced that due to a lack of interest the Eurocup would not take place in 2000.

O's QB Nick Hewitt vs Oslo

In 1999, the European Nations Championship was to be held in Sweden. Great Britain had qualified by virtue of their defeat of the French at Milton Keynes the previous year. However the Swedish federation "failed to meet their commitments" and EFAF suspended the championship until 2000. First reports indicated that GB would have to re-qualify but after an appeal EFAF confirmed that this would not be the case. The GB squad played no games in 99.

Great Britain were invited to take part in the inaugural World Cup of American Football held in Palermo, Sicily this year after Canada dropped out but they declined the invitation. The tournament was between USA, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Italy and Finland. France eventually took GB/Canada's place. Japan won the World Cup beating Mexico 6-0 in overtime.

Scotland won the UK Nations cup for the third successive year as they shutout the Welsh (20-0) and the Irish (30-0). After England had defeated Ireland 46-0, this set up a deciding game with Scotland. The Scots won a superb game 22-16.


Highlights of the year:  

O's pip Bulls - again
GB's Euro disaster
Scotland defeat England

At the start of 2000, the only team that dropped out of the BSL were the Tiger Bay Warriors, which was surprising as the previous season they had reached the Division Two final. The BSL realigned their divisions into Division One and Two, and this season there would not be an elite National Conference in division One as there was in 1999. The BSL secured a deal to play the Division One and Division Two finals at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield on the same day.

In Division One, Birmingham lost only one regular season game (to the O's) on their way to a 7-1-0 season and clinched the Northern Conference. East Kilbride improved to 6-2 and took second place. In the Southern Conference, the London O's kept their unbeaten run going (now stretching back to the 1997 regular season) and they went 8-0 and took the Southern Conference. Sussex Thunder and London Mets put together fine regular seasons both finishing with 6-1-1 records. There were no real surprises in the playoffs as the Bulls and O's rolled over all opposition on their way to the final, which was to be played at the superb Don Valley Stadium for the first time. The O's took the title with a 34-26 victory. Two Bulls fumbles in the opening quarter led to O's TD's and then Birmingham were always chasing the game.

Junior Price QB'd the O's to another title win

 In BSL Division Two, the Redditch Arrows won the Northern Conference, and the PA Farnham Knights went upbeaten in clinching the Southern title. Ipswich Cardinals, likewise, did not lose a regular season game. Fascinating playoff games followed, as Redditch squeaked past Norwich 12-11, and the Knights edged Oxford 18-13. In the final, PA Knights thrashed Ipswich 41-7, and would be promoted to Division One in 2001.

The London O's decided against entering the EuroBowl competition, which was won by an Italian side for the first time (Bergamo Lions), but vowed to enter in 2001.

There followed the European Championships disaster. GB had been drawn away to face Finland, with the game being scheduled in July. The original date did not clash with any BSL fixtures, but the Finns wanted to change the date at the last minute! The date they proposed (which was ratified by the EFAF) clashed with BSL matches. The BSL made every effort to try and accommodate the change but were unable to rearrange the fixtures - the key game being the London Mets vs. London O's (who would be supplying half the GB team). It was also a very special day for the London Mets who had gone to a lot of effort to plan a whole event round the game. The powers that be ruled in BSL's favour, and so GB travelled to Finland with half their team missing. On the 17th July, GB were unsurprisingly dumped out at the semi-final stage 34-9.

On 1st October 2000, England took on the GB Bulldogs and lost 10-7. Not ideal preparation for the game against Scotland the following week, but it did show how far the College game has come. England's TD was from WR Andy Falconer's 17 yard catch from Wayne Mayers pass. The Bulldogs score being a 20 yard run by Richard Marshall.

The Four Nations tournament didn't take place this year, and it was left to England and Scotland to fight it out for the title. Scotland won the Nations Cup for the 4th consecutive year with a 12-0 win. Two Gary McNey TD passes to Stevie Branscombe clinched the win for the Scots.

In BYAFA, the London O's won the Youth Kitted title with a 22-0 shut-out of the Lancashire Wolverine Colts, and the Southern Sundevils won the 3rd/4th place playoff 42-26 against Norwich. The O's also won the Youth Flag final with a 32-26 win against UCLA Renegades. Birmingham and Oxford won the Junior and Cadet finals respectively.

In Senior Flag Football, the BSFL decided against a league season for 2000 and intended to re-build towards 2001 after a few teams dropped out. Nevertheless, a couple of tournaments were played in the Autumn (in Cambridge & Leicester), and the Fen Harriers proved themselves to be the pick of the bunch by going undefeated in these. An English Senior Flag side also travelled to Ireland in May to play the first ever international at this level between the two countries. The Irish ran out 27-7 winners. Towards the end of 2000, steps were taken to ensure that a league season would occur in 2001.

The GB Crusaders became known as the GB Lions Youth in 2000 and played a European Championship Qualifying match at Saffron Lane Stadium in Leicester against Holland for the right to appear in the finals in the Summer. The British won convincingly 40-0.

In Berlin, Great Britain were drawn in the same group as Germany and Finland (the number 1 seeds)!! The other group contained Russia, Austria and France. In the opening game of the tournament the Germans overwhelmed the Brits 53-7. Finland thrashed GB 31-0, meaning that GB had to play a 5th/6th place playoff match with France. GB lost agonisingly 32-27.

The GB Bulldogs defeated an Allstar team (largely made up of Yorkshire Rams players) 39-13, and then defeated the Danish University Allstars 21-14. In the Autumn, they defeated England Seniors 10-7. A very impressive achievement.

Ireland and Wales did not compete in the UK Nations Cup in 2000, so it was left for Scotland and England to playoff for the crown in a one-off game. Scotland winning 12-0.

Great Lions Youth team travelled to Germany for the 6th European Flag Championships (Under-16), and came away with a very respectable second place finish. They defeated Netherlands (28-7), Norway (49-6), Austria (25-0) in the group stages, before beating Switzerland 29-6 in the semi-finals. Germany defeated the Brits 18-14 in the final.

In other notable matches in November, Sky Sports sponsored a clash between Scotland thrashed England 44-2 at Under-19 level. Strathclyde University running back Jordan Falconer scored two touchdowns en route to earn one of the game's two Most Valuable Player awards helping Scotland lift the Sky Sports NFL Sunday trophy at Glasgow's Garscube Sports Complex. Defensive tackle Jim Adams was awarded the game's defensive MVP trophy, leading a hard-hitting Scots defense which never allowed their opponents to settle, with two forced fumbles and two sacks. 

Scotland's Under 16 flag tam had defeated their English opponents 52-47 the previous week at Stirling's Forthbank Stadium to set up the double. Leicester Junior Eagles won the English (21-6 vs Birmingham Young Bulls) and UK Junior Flag championships (37-29 vs St Maurice's High School Rams), but failed to qualify for the World finals when they lost narrowly in Holland in the European qualifying event.

In December Chrysler, the car company, announced a five-figure sponsorship deal with BAFA for the GB Lions.

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