2009 GB Lions

Great Britain Beaten by Australia

The BAFA GB Lions national team took on the Australia Outback national team in the first game of the 2009 Tri-Nations Tournament on Tuesday. The game took place at the Hollywell Park field at Loughborough Universityand a crowd of approximately 100 people braved the inclement weather to watch the first meeting of the national teams since the 1998 Australian Kookaburras tour to the UK.

The game started promisingly for the Lions with a deep Pete Rogers (Yorkshire Rams) kick off held to a short return by the visiting Outback.  The Lions’ defense quickly got into gear led by team captain Paul Summers (London Blitz) and Gary Clark (Coventry Jets) who made some early bone-jarring tackles.

 After several punts the Lions were back on offense and drove the ball well behind the blocking of the offensive line. Jermaine Allen (Paris Flash) and starting Quarterback Eber Kington (Sussex Thunder) both got in on the act with runs for positive yardage. From just outside the 11 yard line the Lions attempted to pound the ball into the endzone, but Australia stood firm. With fourth down and a yard to go at the 2 yard line, the Lions decided to go for it but were stopped short.

This big play seemed to give the Outback a huge confidence boost and the changing momentum shifted even further when an Australian punt was muffed by the returner and recovered by the visiting team.

 As the game moved into the Second Quarter the Outback offense seemed to be working more effectively. Several short gains were followed by a Matthew Freeman touchdown catch from Quarterback Kiernan Dorney which covered 22 yards. The extra point was converted by Liam Erby to give the Outback a 7-0 lead.

 As the rain came down the Lions seemed to run the ball effectively. Good gains took them into scoring position and when the next fourth down situation arose, Lions Head Coach Riq Ayub opted for a Field Goal attempt. Pete Rogers duly stepped up and converted it to narrow the lead to 7-3.

 The Outback then had a long clock-consuming drive of their own, eventually stalling in the Lions’ half. A great coffin corner punt pinned the Lions offense inside their own 5 yard line. On the third down, a mishandled snap was fumbled and the Outback recovered the ball at the 10 yard line.

 The Lions defense held their ground, driving the Outback offense backwards. This resulted in a field goal attempt which fell short of the posts. Back on offense, the Lions fared no better but a booming punt byRogers saw the Outback pinned deep in their own territory as the first half came to an end.

 Clive Palumbo (Kent Exiles) returned the kick off to midfield as the second half began, but the Lions were forced to punt. On the ensuing Outback punt, Palumbo set off on a return that saw him in the endzone with the ball. Unfortunately his return had been aided by an illegal block in the back and so the score was nullified much to the disappointment of the crowd.

 Despite the setback the Lions drove down inside the Outback 20 yard line, Allen again making good ground gains. Not for the first time in the game the Lions opted to attempt a field goal but this was aborted as the ball slid along the ground and was not handled by the Holder.

 In an almost mirror image of the first half this missed opportunity further moved the game’s momentum to the visiting Australians. Another punt, which Owen Thomas (Farnham Knights) was inches away from blocking, was muffed by the returner and the Outback recovered again. As the fourth quarter began it was Outback Quarterback David Ward who found Ryan Dwyer in the endzone for a 25 yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, but the lead was extended to 13-3.

 The Lions then set off on a determined drive down the field and looked to be moving the chains well until Outback Cornerback Steven Baker jumped an out pass and returned it back 60 yards for the game clinching touchdown. With the extra point converted by Liam Erby, Australia took an unassailable 20-3 lead.

 As the game drew to a close, Fred Boyle (London Blitz) was inserted at Quarterback for the Lions. However, the offense was unable to make any significant headway and was forced to punt the ball away inside the two minute warning. The Outback were able to run the remaining time off the clock for a historic victory ... their first on international soil since 1999.

 The Lions now have several days to make adjustments before facing the reigning European Champions Sweden on Saturday 25th July.

On the Saturday following the Australia game the Great Britain Lions pulled-off a stunning victory against the current European Champions, Sweden, in the first ever match-up between the two nations.

Coming into the game the question on the mind of British football was if GB head coach, Riq Ayub, could turn-around his team’s fortune after the surprise defeat to Australia only four days previously. The Swedes having subsequently rolled-over Australia entered the game against GB as hot favorites. The Lions, however, always seem to respond best when they are the underdogs and Ayub has in recent years orchestrated some very surprising victories against the odds.

The Lions received the opening kick-off and quickly drove to Sweden’s ten-yard line, but a dropped catch in the endzone and a missed field goal left them with no points. Sweden then moved the ball confidently into the GB half until cornerback, Melvin Aitken made a superb interception to snuff-out the drive.

GB’s confidence rose rapidly and quarterback Fred Boyle (U of Hertfordshire / London Blitz), starting his first ever game for the national team, orchestrated another impressive drive, this time ending with a ten-yard reception to receiver Rod Bradley (U of Loughborough / London Blitz). The extra point kick was missed. (First Quarter: GB Lions 6 - 0 Sweden)

A third-down sack by GB veteran Brian Long (South Yorkshire Mustangs) effectively ended Sweden’s first drive of the second quarter. The ensuing punt was fielded and returned to Sweden’s 35-yard line by Clive Palumbo (Kent Exiles). On the next play, runningback Jermain Allen (London Cobras) burst through the line and sprinted to the endzone to add GB’s second score. The Lions attempted a two-point conversion but the pass fell incomplete. (GB 12 – 0 Sweden)

The Lions were now roaring and the defense again forced the Swedes to three-and-out. Boyle completed short passes to all his recievers whilst Allen, and fellow runningback Mahamadou (Dooma) Niakate, kept the ground-game rolling. With GB knocking on the door at the 7-yard line, Boyle caught Sweden trying to cover GB’s multiple threats and audibled a quarterback sneak, which turned into a seven-yard run for touchdown. Pete Rogers (Yorkshire Rams) slotted the extra point to give GB a 19-0 lead.

The Swedes were not yet ready to admit defeat and at this point put together their best drive culminating in their only score of the game. A rifled pass went straight through a GB defender’s hands to fall neatly to a Swedish receiver. Sweden converted the PAT kick (GB 19-7 Sweden). 

With less than three minutes in the half, a series of powerful running plays by 'Dooma' took Great Britain back into Swedish territory where Boyle connected on a touchdown pass to Rod Bradley. Bradley, star of the TV show Gladiators, showed all his athletic ability to split the Swedish defense, shrug-off a tackle and raced 45 yards for the score.

(Half-time: GB Lions 25 – 7 Sweden)

At the start of the second half the Swedish team looked to have regrouped and they embarked on a long, seven-minute drive to the Great Britain goal line, only to come-up short when Gary Clark (Coventry Jets) made a crucial fourth down tackle at the 1 yard line.

With the Lions backed-up and needing to get the ball away from their own endzone, Jermain Allen broke a long run to the halfway line. Unfortunately the Lions couldn’t capitalize and were forced to punt. Consolation came with Pete Roger’s punt which went out of bounds at the Swedish three. The teams then traded punts to leave the score unchanged at the end of the third quarter.

After the turn-around, the Lions offense proved they were not done yet. After a long drive it looked like they had scored on a one yard run only to be called-back for a penalty. Unable to make sufficient progress, the Lions settled for a field goal attempt but the ball sailed just wide of the posts.

By now the Swedes were getting desperate and turning more and more to an aerial attack. The Lions however, were having none of it! Fierce pressure and several sacks limited the effectiveness of Sweden's offense. The defensive line in particular were now hunting like their namesakes with the Swedish quarterback their prey.

With four minutes left the Lions drove to the 20-yard line and facing a fourth and long, elected to go for the field goal. Boyle took the snap, rolled-out to the left and scampered in for his second TD run of the day. Both teams tried long passes to add to their score in the dying seconds but no further score was recorded leaving the Lions to run-out clear winners, 31-7.

For his outstanding leadership of the offense, two passing and two rushing touchdowns, Fred Boyle was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the game.

Lions Head Coach, Riq Ayub, said: The loss to Australia provided some hard lessons. On reflection it was possibly the best thing that could have happened to us. The focus and commitment in the following days was magnificent. The staff and players were determined to show their true ability and all worked extremely hard. The outcome was this much deserved win against the European champions.

The GB Lions will compete in the six-team European Championship in 2010. Intriguingly, GB are drawn in Group A with Sweden and France (whom the Lions beat in November 2008 and have never lost to in five previous fixtures). Great Britain currently has a one hundred percent record against these two teams. If this success can be repeated next Summer, GB will qualify for the Gold Medal game against the winners of Group B. The final will be played in the Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt on 31st July.

Full squad of GB vs.Australia & Sweden

1 Pete RODGERS QB Yorkshire Rams2 Jermaine ALLEN RB La Courneuve Flash7 Fred BOYLE QB London Blitz10 Eber KINGTON QB Sussex Thunder11 Tristan VARNEY QB Birmingham Lions (BUAFL)12 Folley OGUNDELE WR London Olympians16 Paul SUMMERS DL London Blitz18 Steve CLEMENTS LB London Blitz21 Iain DICK RB East Kilbride Pirates22 Mahamadou NIAKATE RB Dundee Hurricanes23 Kenny BELLO WR London Olympians25 Emir BATTALOGLU DB Birmingham Bulls32 Matt KIDD DB Gateshead Senators33 James McINTOSH DB East Kilbride Pirates35 Ed MORGAN DB London Blitz36 Scott FINDLAY DB East Kilbride Pirates39 Jonathan CHILTON RB London Blitz40 James IRVING DB London Cobras42 Damilola ALARAN RB London Cobras44 Lee COLLINS LB East Kilbride Pirates45 Mark MURPHY TE East Kilbride Pirates47 Jamie CHARLES RB Napier Mavericks (BUAFL)48 Lloyd BUXTON LB London Blitz50 Fraser THOMSON DB Dundee Hurricanes51 Adeodatus Ronie TWUMASI DB London Olympians52 Sean HOPKINS DL Bristol Aztecs53 Robert HARDY OL Bristol Aztecs54 Lawrence REID DL London Blitz55 Tom BARKER LB Newcastle Raiders (BUAFL)56 Matt DAVIS LB Tamworth Phoenix57 Simon LUMB LB London Blitz59 Steve MILLS DL Tamworth Phoenix60 Charlie WILSON OL Bristol Aztecs61 Femi TAIWO LB London Blitz63 Matthew MEYER OL London Blitz64 Rab BEVERIDGE OL East Kilbride Pirates65 Carl LEWIS (IR) OL Redditch Arrows66 Alex PHILLIPS OL London Cobras67 Tom CROZIER OL Newcastle Raiders (BUAFL)72 Steve HOPKINS OL Bristol Aztecs75 David CODDRINGTON OL Redditch Arrows80 Clive PALUMBO WR Kent Exiles81 James HOSSACK WR Tamworth Phoenix82 Melvin AKINS DB London Blitz83 Marcin LAI WR London Blitz84 Rod BRADLEY WR London Blitz85 Richard McHUGH WR Kent Exiles86 Tom BROOK TE Bristol Aztecs87 Graham ROBERTS LB Manchester Titans88 Robert CAMPBELL TE Newcastle Raiders (BUAFL)90 Brian LONG DL Doncaster Mustangs92 Owen THOMAS LB Farnham Knights94 Steve WILSON DL East Kilbride Pirates95 Gary CLARK DL Coventry Jets96 Aaron CHAMBERS DL London Blitz

Coaches Tariq AYUB HCSteve McCUSKER OCSteve COLLINS DCPaul SHERRATT STCSimon NEWNHAM Asst. Coach-LBDon EDMONSTON Asst. Coach-OLJason SCOTT Asst. Coach-TEStuart MILLER Asst. Coach-WRMalcolm PHILLIPS Asst. Coach-DBPaul HORSBOROUGH Asst. Coach-RBBernie HACKSAW Asst. Coach-DLMartin HILTON Asst. CoachKarl DOODS Film CoordJoe WALKER Asst Film Coord

Staff Albert LAMBERT JNR AdministrationKhalil ULLAH AdministrationJulius HOBBS AdministrationMelina HEALEY Head TrainerEllen SCOTT-CLARKE TrainerLorraine EREIRA TrainerAshley HEALEY Asst TrainerMicheal HOWELL Asst TrainerAileen ROSS Asst Trainer

After one week a studious training course in Lille, the Team of France Senior met last weekend the United Kingdom on her grounds with Doncaster (located at the north of London), in a friendly match in order to prepare the Euro 2010. The last time that the Blue ones had played on the British ground, they had undergone a heavy defeat, 43 to 00 in 1998. The history was quite different 11 years after, since our national team easily asserted 21 to 7. It is besides the first victory of the history against the British Lions on the Senior level. Under a typically English time (rain and wind) but on a ground in perfect state, French gives the kickoff of this meeting. The tricolour defense, taken along by the LB Philippe KEEP, stops the English attack quickly and returns the ball to its offensive section. The Blue ones advance then thanks to the races of Sandino OCTOBER and Laurent MARCELINE, but in fact the QB Paul DURAND punctuates this drive thanks to a TD on race (00-07). On drive the following, French defense is always intractable but the Lions benefit from the wind favorable at the beginning of the 2nd quarter-time to release itself far in the French territory. The tricolour attack thus takes again the ball almost stuck to its own zone of embut. It begins a length then drive, primarily on the ground vis-a-vis the wind, which will cross all the ground and which will be concluded by a TD on master key from DURAND towards Cédric BACOT (00-14). It is on this score that the half-time will be whistled, defenses and much of penalties preventing the 2 attacks from progressing. With the return of the cloakrooms, the match takes a different turning. 2 interceptions launched by DURAND make it possible to the British to reconsider in the match a race of their QB which slalome in French defense for a TD (07-14). The turning of the match arrives at the end of the 3rd quarter-time when French is obliged to get clear but the unfavourable retournor escapes the ball which is covered by the Blue ones far in British territory. Some plays later, MARCELINE gives again air in France with a TD on race (07-21). Nothing concrete will occur to the 4th quarter-time. The attack of the Lions does not manage any more to advance while the tricolour attack eats to the maximum the clock with its play ground. The final score of 21-07 does not testify inevitably to the domination and the French control. A little indiscipline (penalties) and turnover will have prevented French more largely to carry it. Important Victoire thus for the capital confidence of the Team of France. Place from now on at the championships of D1 and D2 with their clubs for the Blue ones. They will be found at mid-July to prepare the Euro 2010 which will take place in Frankfurt (Germany) at the end of the same month. The Team of France will find there Great Britain and Sweden in her hen. The other hen will be made up of Germany, Austria and Finland.

Great Britain v FranceKeepmoat Stadium Athletics Arena - DoncasterSaturday November 14th - 5pm

Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium hosts it's first ever International American Football fixture next Saturday as the GB Lions host France in a friendly as part of the home teams' preparations for the 2010 European Championships in Germany. It is the reverse fixture of last November's 14-6 victory for Great Britain in Amiens.

It is also the Lions first action since July where they participated in a mini tournament at Loughborough University with mixed results. The week started badly with a surprising loss to the touring Australians before rounding out the week with a superb 31-7 win over the reigning European champions, Sweden.

Following a recent one day training camp at Balby Carr Sports College, the squad has been finalized not only for this game (55 man squad) but for future training camps going forward to the Euros next year. Sadly there is no place in the upcoming game for local boy, Doncaster Mustangs' Defensive End, Brian Long. He is still recovering from surgery on a badly torn bicep sustained during the Mustangs play off loss to London Cobras in August. However he does retain a spot in the larger 75 man squad.

Doncaster Mustangs are hosting this game and their GM, Mark Blyth, is rightly proud of this fact.

"It's a great honour for us to host this important game", he said. "It's nice to be recognised as having superb game management and also having a great facility to play in at the Athletics Arena"

Kick off on Saturday 14th is at 5pm. Entrance is £5 for adults, £2 for u/16's with u/10's free of charge.

Squad to face France :

Melvyn AKINS DB London Blitz Emir BATTALOGLU DB Birmingham Bulls Ivor CLARK DB East Kilbride Pirates Joe COULTATE DB London Blitz Scott FINDLAY DB East Kilbride Pirates James IRVING DB London Cobras Matt KIDD DB Gateshead Senators Ed MORGAN DB London Blitz Fraser THOMSON DB Dundee Hurricanes Alan BLAKE DL London Blitz Edson BRAS DL London Cobras Gary CLARK DL Coventry Jets Sean HOPKINS DL Bristol Aztecs David LAWREY DL East Kent Mavericks Lawrence REID DL London Blitz Paul SUMMERS DL London Blitz Lewis WATTS DL Farnham Knights Steve WILSON DL East Kilbride Pirates Tom BARKER LB Newcastle Raiders (BUAFL) Lloyd BUXTON LB London Blitz Steve CLEMENTS LB London Blitz Lee COLLINS LB East Kilbride Pirates Matt DAVIS LB Tamworth Phoenix Fabrizio GARGIULO LB London Blitz Graham ROBERTS LB Manchester Titans Femi TAIWO LB London Blitz Chris THACKER LB Tamworth Phoenix Rab BEVERIDGE OL East Kilbride Pirates David CODRINGTON OL Redditch Arrows Tom CROZIER OL Newcastle Raiders (BUAFL) Ricard GADZEPKO OL London Cobras Robert HARDY OL Bristol Aztecs Kevin KEOHANE OL Farnham Knights Matthew MEYER OL London Blitz Alex PHILLIPS OL London Cobras Callum WRIGHT OL East Kilbride Pirates Fred BOYLE QB London Blitz Stuart FRANKLIN QB Coventry Jets Eber KINGTON QB Sussex Thunder Pete RODGERS QB Yorkshire Rams Jermaine ALLEN RB London Cobras Jamie CHARLES RB Napier Mavericks (BUAFL) Jonathan CHILTON RB London Blitz Gareth DAULEY RB London Blitz Iain DICK RB East Kilbride Pirates Niakate MAHAMADOU RB Dundee Hurricanes Robert CAMPBELL TE Newcastle Raiders (BUAFL) Mark MURPHY TE East Kilbride Pirates Rod BRADLEY WR London Blitz James HOSSACK WR Tamworth Phoenix Ian JACQUET WR London Cobras Richard McHUGH WR Kent Exiles Folley OGUNDELE WR London Olympians Clive PALUMBO WR Kent Exiles Tom SHENNEN WR London Blitz Jeremy SIMMS WR Coventry Jets

France won 21-7

TD's in the first and second quarters gave them a 14-0 half time lead. 

An interception on France's opening drive of the second half led to Sussex QB, Eber Kington, scrambling in from about the 15 on the next drive to pull the score back to 14-7. Then another interception on the very next French play put GB back in business. But they couldn't capitalise.

France sealed the game with a TD late in the fourth quarter to run out victorious 21-7.

MVP's were Sandino Octobre of France and GB's Jermaine Allen.

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