The European Federation of American Football (EFAF) has recently announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the 2009 European Championships in Finland – at which, the Great Britain Lions team was to compete – has been moved to 2010.
In light of this announcement, BAFA confirms the GB Lions will be participating in the 2010 Championships and Riq Ayub will be the Head Coach. BAFA has requested Coach Ayub to re-evaluate his plans for this change of schedule. Further announcements will be made very soon.
Jim Messenger – BAFA National Programme Lead Director
The GB Lions (adult contact team) will play the French national team in a challenge game on 15th November, 2008. The French Federation of American Football will host the game at their National Academy in Amiens.
Head Coach, Riq Ayub, said, "We are very pleased to have officially confirmed this game. We have been trying to arrange friendly fixtures all year but for one reason or another these fell through." He continued, "France have a very experienced international programme. Like GB, they are ranked in the European 'A Group' top six for the next European Championships in 2010. This will be an excellent test of our abilities to compete at that level."
The projected games against Sweden in April and then Denmark in August both hit the rocks due to the logistical difficulties of arranging international fixtures. Despite intense efforts by all parties, the deadlines passed before all the necessary details could be confirmed.
Coach Ayub said, "We will now use the time intended for the Denmark game, 1st to 3rd of August, for a three-day camp. We need to work hard to be ready for France, but this is an exciting challenge."
BAFA National Programme Lead Director, Jim Messenger, said, "We are delighted to have confirmed this fixture with the FFFA. We hope this will be the first of a regular series of annual games against our close neighbours in France."
France 6-13 Great Britain
European Nations Championship Semi-Final at Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland - 17th July 2000
Under the floodlights of the National American Football Academy Stadium in Amiens, the Great Britain Lions pulled off another amazing victory against the French national team on Saturday evening.
The Great Britain Lions have an outstanding record against the French team, having won all five of the meetings between the two nations. Despite this, France came in to the game highly favoured having recently defeated the current European Champions, Sweden, in a similar friendly fixture.
France opened the scoring on their first possession when quarterback Paul Durand connected with receiver Jeremy Larroque for a thirty-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing extra-point kick was blocked by Tom Barker. The Lions responded in the second quarter with a long drive capped by Gareth Dauley's four-yard touchdown run. But Ian Jacquet's extra-point kick sailed wide of the post leaving the score at 6-6 going into half-time.
Defense dominated the third and most of the fourth quarter until the stalemate was finally broken just four minutes from time. Great Britain quarterback, Stuart Franklin, scrambled to his right and fired a twenty-five yard pass to the endzone where receiver Ian Jacquet made an outstanding catch under pressure. Jacquet then kicked the extra point to make the score 13-6.
France had two more opportunities to win the game but the Lions defense stopped both possessions on fourth down to give the Lions a historic victory.
Great Britain Head Coach, Riq Ayub, said, "I am very honoured to be part of the achievement of this team. The players and staff have been a privilege to work with and it's their hard-work and dedication that has made this result possible. What we must do now is build on this achievement as we work towards the next European Championships in 2010."
BAFA National Programme Lead Director, Jim Messenger, said, "Head Coach, Riq Ayub, and his team have achieved amazing results with very limited resources. The dedication and resourcefulness of everyone has been outstanding. We are very lucky to have such skilled and committed volunteers. With the European championship just twenty months away, we will all be working hard to give the team the best opportunity to win in Frankfurt."
Full squad of GB vs. France, 2008
QB. Lee Fraser (Gateshead Senators)
RB. Ryan Holness, Paul Duncan (both Birmingham Bulls), Craig Million (Gateshead Senators), Peter Sochart (Scottish Claymores)
WR. Mark Cohen, Ed Winter, Dave Winter Nick Burt (all Birmingham Bulls), Jeremy Simms (London O’s), Graham Reith (Scottish Claymores), John Hartley (Gateshead Senators)
OL. Barry Driver, Andy Moloney, Richard Barrett, Ian Morgan, Neil Jenkins, Mark Hopkins (all Birmingham Bulls)
DL. Adewale Oyemande, Mark Connelly, Matt Barrett (all Birmingham Bulls), Steve McCusker (Scottish Claymores), Kevin Keohane (London Blitz)
LB. Shola Goppy (London O’s), James Dougal (East Kilbride Pirates)
DB. Neil Edwards (London O's), Kenneth Lewis (Birmingham Bulls), David Wilson (Gateshead Senators)
K - Rob Hart (Scottish Claymores)
P. Gary Marshall (Gateshead Senators)
Stephen Green, John Lockart, Sean Riley (all Gateshead Senators)
Tom Gregg, Kevin Mills (all Birmingham Bulls)
Full squad list not known