BAFA National Leagues

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BAFA National Leagues
FormerlyBAFA Community Leagues
SportAmerican football
Founded2010
Inaugural season2010
CommissionerMartin Cockerill
No. of teams62
Country England (54 teams)
 Scotland (7 teams)
 Wales (1 team)
HeadquartersBirmingham, United Kingdom
Most recent
champion(s)
London Warriors
Most titlesLondon Warriors
(5 titles)
Official websitebritishamericanfootball.org

The BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL, formerly the BAFA Community Leagues) are the primary American football competition in England, Scotland and Wales. They were formed by the British American Football Association in 2010 following the collapse of the British American Football League to coordinate contact football within Great Britain. There are currently 62 teams who compete in 12 divisions across three levels of football. The 10 teams who contest both the Premier Division North and South compete to reach the Britbowl. The current champions are the London Warriors and are also the most successful having won 5 titles. BAFA also operate a flag football, Women's division as well as a Youth league across all age ranges.

History[edit]

American football was introduced to the United Kingdom during the early part of the 20th century by American servicemen stationed in the country. The first recorded match took place on 23 November 1910 at Crystal Palace, London, where a team made up of the crew from USS Idaho defeated their counterparts from USS Vermont 19–0.[1][2] During the Second World War, matches were played by American and Canadian servicemen stationed in the UK at venues throughout the country. This included the 'Tea Bowl' game played at the White City Stadium in 1944,[3] and this was followed by the creation of the United States Armed Forces Europe (USAFE) league in 1946. This league consisted of teams from American military bases throughout Europe, with one of the league's three conferences made up of teams based in the UK – teams from this conference won the league championship thirteen times until the competition ceased in 1993.[4][5]

The first teams open to British players were established in 1983, and competition began the following year in the form of a series of one-off games. The match results were compiled into a 'Merit Table', with teams playing more than three games eligible for the championship—the first champions were the London Ravens, who won all ten of their matches.[6][7]

Tensions grew between the directors of British American Football League and those of the British American Football Association, the governing body throughout 2009 and at the beginning of 2010, BAFL formally, but unconstitutionally, withdrew from BAFA. This led to uproar from the teams within BAFL, ultimately signalling the end for BAFL as an entity. The league ceased operations on 1 April 2010. The league was replaced by the BAFA Community Leagues for the 2010 season. This organisation, run under the umbrella of the governing body, rebranded in 2011 to become the BAFA National Leagues. Hundreds of clubs have since been formed, playing both full contact football and flag football at senior, university and youth level. Many of these clubs have since folded, renamed or merged with other local teams, but a few of the older clubs survive today.

Season format[edit]

The West Coast Trojans offence lines up against the defence of the Dundee Hurricanes

The BAFANL season format consists of a ten-game season for Premier Division teams and First Division teams, with 8 for Second Division. The League operates between April and August with play-off games usually running into September. The winner of top two teams from both the Premier Division North and Premier Division South make up the semi final in which they will play to win a place in the Britbowl. First and Second Division teams aim to win promotion to the division above by attempting to reach their respective play-off final. The team that finishes bottom of their Division are relegated to their Regional division below. (excluding Division Two) [8] Since 2014, The Britbowl winners will automatically qualify to play in the IFAF Europe Champions League for the following season. European games run aside the clubs domestic season. Prior to 2014 qualification was for the EFAF Cup.

Stadiums[edit]

The Sixways Stadium in Worcester is primarily used for the Britbowl

The use of Stadiums in the BAFANL is scarce due to most clubs running on a tight budget. Most clubs operate from Rugby Union clubs, University facilities or High Schools however some teams do play inside stadiums which have seating capacities for spectators. The Britbowl itself has recently been played at Sixways Stadium in Worcester, while Division 1 and 2 finals are hosted at the South Leeds Stadium. At present the Halton Spartans ground share of the Select Security Stadium with Rugby league team Widnes Vikings constitutes as the highest capacity stadium within the BAFANL with 13,350 seats.

Team Stadium Capacity
Halton Spartans Select Security Stadium 13,350
Manchester Titans National Speedway Stadium 6,700
West Coast Trojans Meadow Park 5,000
Leicester Falcons De Montfort Park 4,329
Yorkshire Rams South Leeds Stadium 4,000
Black Country Vipers Stourton Park 3,500
Edinburgh Wolves Meggetland Sports Complex 3,000
Northumberland Vikings Druid Park 2,500
Nottingham Caesars Harvey Hadden Stadium 1,600
London Olympians Well Hall 1,550
London Blitz Finsbury Park Stadium 1,500
East Kilbride Pirates Braidholm 1,250
London Warriors Frant Road 1,000
Farnham Knights Wilkinson Way 1,100
Gateshead Senators Monkton Stadium 1,000
Tamworth Phoenix Pack Meadow 750
Glasgow Tigers Lochinch Stadium 700
South Wales Warriors The Dairy Field 700
Sandwell Steelers Tipton Sports Academy 650
Ouse Valley Eagles Bedford International Athletics Stadium 600
Oxford Saints Tilsley Park 550
Clyde Valley Blackhawks Beltane Park 500
Ipswich Cardinals Northgate International Sports Centre 400

Teams[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

The BAFA's Premier Division for the 2018 season comprises twelve teams, split into the North and South Divisions. Within each division each team plays each other twice. There will be 2 rounds of playoff football with the top ranked team in the North will host the second ranked team in the South whilst the top ranked team in the South will host the second ranked team in the North. The winners will then compete for the BritBowl. The team who finishes bottom of each division are relegated to Division 1 for the following season and are replaced by both of the Division 1 winners.

Premier North[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
East Kilbride Pirates Glasgow, Scotland 1985 Black and Red
Edinburgh Wolves Edinburgh, Scotland 2002 White and Red
Manchester Titans Gorton, Manchester 2003 Royal Blue and Gold
Merseyside Nighthawks Skelmersdale, Lancashire 1984 Black and Red
Sheffield Giants Sheffield, South Yorkshire 2008 Sky Blue and Black
Tamworth Phoenix Coleshill, Warwickshire 2004 Black and Orange

Premier South[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Bristol Aztecs Filton, Bristol 1990 Grey and Orange
Bury Saints Thetford, Norfolk 2013 Gold and Green
Farnham Knights Farnham, Surrey 1985 Sky Blue and Red
London Blitz Finsbury Park, London 1995 Navy Blue and White
London Olympians Eltham, London 1984 White and Burgundy
London Warriors Thornton Heath, London 2007 Black and White

Division One[edit]

For the 2018 season, the second tier has expanded to 24 teams, now divided into 4 conferences of six: the Northern North, Northern South, Southern Central and the Southern East. Each team plays the others in their conference twice during the regular season as well as all teams playing two opponents on three occasions. There is no inter-conference play until the playoffs.

Top 2 in each of the 4 conference enter North Semi Final & South Semi Final. N#1 v N#4 & N#2 v N#3 (Same in South). North Champ v South Champ for Div 1 Championship. The two teams reaching the final will both win promotion to the Premier.[9]

NFC 1 North[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Gateshead Senators Jarrow, Tyneside 1985 Green and Orange
Glasgow Tigers Glasgow, Scotland 1986 Orange and Black
Lancashire Wolverines Preston, Lancashire 1987 Black and Silver
Leeds Bobcats Leeds, West Yorkshire 2008 White and Gold
Northumberland Vikings Newcastle upon Tyne 2014 Black and Red
Yorkshire Rams Leeds, West Yorkshire 1986 Black and White

NFC 1 South[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Coventry Jets Coventry, Warwickshire 2014 Navy Blue and White
Doncaster Mustangs Doncaster, South Yorkshire 2002 Gold and Green
Leicester Falcons Hinckley, Leicestershire 2006 Green and White
Nottingham Caesars Nottingham, Nottinghamshire 1984 Burgundy and Gold
Sandwell Steelers Tipton, West Midlands 2013 Grey and Black
Shropshire Revolution Telford, Shropshire 2006 Purple and White

SFC 1 Central[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Berkshire Renegades Reading, Berkshire 1985 Red and Black
Bristol Apache Filton, Bristol 1990 Orange and Black
Oxford Saints Abingdon, Oxfordshire 1983 White and Navy Blue
Ouse Valley Eagles Bedford, Bedfordshire 2013 White and Grey
Solent Thrashers Southampton, Hampshire 2003 Grey and Gold
Sussex Thunder Brighton, East Sussex 1997 Red and Blue

SFC 1 South[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Cambridgeshire Cats Cambridge, Cambridgeshire 1984 Red and Black
Colchester Gladiators Colchester, Essex 1983 Sky Blue and Yellow
East Kent Mavericks Canterbury, Kent 2002 Red and Black
Kent Exiles Bromley, Kent 2004 Black and White
London Hornets Camden Town, London 2011 Black and Yellow
Wembley Stallions Wembley, London 2013 Red and White

Division Two[edit]

The third tier consists of two conferences, the Northern and Southern Football Conferences, which are further geographically subdivided into three regions each: the NFC North, Central, and South, and the SFC West, South, and East.[10][11] Each team plays the others in their region twice during the regular season. Within each conference, the playoffs are structured identically to the Division One system described above, with the NFC 2 Bowl and SFC 2 Bowl deciding separate champions.

NFC 2 North[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Aberdeen Roughnecks Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 2012 Red and White
Clyde Valley Blackhawks Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, Scotland 2007 Gold and Black
Dumfries Hunters Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland 2014 Green and Black
West Coast Trojans Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland 2004 Red and Silver

NFC 2 Central[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Carlisle Sentinels Carlisle, Cumbria 2014 Green and Black
Chester Romans Chester, Cheshire 1986 Red and White
Furness Phantoms Ulverston, Cumbria 2011 Green and Gold
Halton Spartans Widnes, Cheshire 2014 Black and Green
Morecambe Bay Storm Morecambe, Lancashire 2016 Black and Blue

NFC 2 South[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Birmingham Bulls Erdington, Birmingham 1983 Black and White
Crewe Railroaders Crewe, Cheshire 1984 Silver and Black
Humber Warhawks Hull, East Yorkshire 2014 Grey and Red
Knottingley Raiders Knottingley, West Yorkshire 2014 Black and White
Lincolnshire Bombers North Hykeham, Lincoln, Lincolnshire 2005 Red and Black
Staffordshire Surge Stoke upon Trent, Staffordshire 2008 White and Blue

SFC 2 West[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Cornish Sharks Newquay, Cornwall 2005 White and Gold
Jurassic Coast Raptors Weymouth, Dorset 2016 Green and White
Somerset Wyverns Taunton, Somerset 2017 Burgundy and Gold
South Wales Warriors Llanharan, Mid Glamorgan, Wales 2001 Green and Black
Torbay Trojans Torquay, Devon 1983 White and Black
Worcestershire Black Knights Worcester, Worcestershire 2016 Black and White

SFC 2 South[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
Bournemouth Bobcats Poole, Dorset 1985 Red and Black
Hastings Conquerors Hastings, East Sussex 2012 Burgundy and White
Hertfordshire Cheetahs St Albans, Hertfordshire 1986 Yellow and Black
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts Portsmouth, Hampshire 2012 Navy Blue and Grey
Swindon Storm Swindon, Wiltshire 2012 Navy Blue and Gold

SFC 2 East[edit]

Team Based Founded Colours
East Essex Sabres Rayleigh, Essex 2016 Orange and White
Essex Spartans South Ockendon, Essex 1998 Black and Gold
Ipswich Cardinals Ipswich, Suffolk 1986 Burgundy and Gold
London Blitz B Finsbury Park, London 1995 White and Navy Blue
Maidstone Pumas Maidstone, Kent 1997 Black and Orange
Norwich Devils Norwich, Norfolk 1984 Navy Blue and Yellow

Associate Process[edit]

New teams must undergo an indefinite associate period before they are granted full member status of the national leagues. A number of criteria must be met, involving successfully completing a number of games, recruiting an amount of new players, proof of required finances and the creation of a club committee. Associate teams spend their seasons playing each other and League teams in what are essentially friendly fixtures. Some of the current Associate teams are also previous League teams that have dropped out of the BAFANL at some stage.[12][13]

Team Based Founded Colours
Burnley Tornados Burnley, Lancashire 2016 Claret and Blue
Darlington Steam Darlington, County Durham 2014 Black and White
DC Presidents Durham, County Durham 1985 Royal Blue and Red
Dundee Hurricanes Dundee, Scotland 2002 Blue and White
Dunfermline Kings Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland 2016 Purple and Gold
Hereford Stampede Hereford, Hertfordshire 2016 Purple and Black
Highland Stags Inverness, Scotland 2016 Green and Black
Inverclyde Golliaths Greenock, Renfrewshire 2016 Royal Blue and Black
King’s Lynn Patriots King’s Lynn, Norfolk 2016 Navy Blue and Gold
Northants Knights Northampton, Northamptonshire 2016 Burgundy and White

Media coverage[edit]

The Britbowl as well as the Divisional Play-off finals are live streamed on YouTube via DblCoverage.com and Onside Productions. The programmes feature in-game commentary and interviews. Onside began operating by streaming Nottingham Caesars games in 2016 before being brought on by DblCoverage.com to broadcast the National finals as well as Great Britain national American football team games [14]

DblCoverage.com is the largest British American Football-focused media outlet and community hub, featuring news, league results and standings for all formats of the contact game, as well as opinion articles and editorials.[15]

Their social media pages represent the largest online community of British American Football players and fans.[16]

Notable people[edit]

Player Team Notes
United KingdomJermaine Allen London Olympians Played in the NFL for Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints
United KingdomMarvin Allen London Warriors (2008-) Played in the NFL for Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins
United KingdomRoderick Bradley London Blitz Played "Spartan" on ITV game show Gladiators
United KingdomCharles Dagnall Leicester Falcons Former professional Cricketer and BBC Radio presenter
United KingdomAden Durde London Warriors Defensive Coach in the NFL with Atlanta Falcons and played for Kansas City Chiefs
United StatesChristian Holmes Tamworth Phoenix (2016) Played in NCAA Division 1 for Mississippi State from 2011-2014.
United KingdomStephen Hutchinson London Blitz Played in NFL Europe for London Monarchs and Hamburg Blue Devils
United KingdomVernon Kay London Warriors (2011-2014) Television presenter, formerly of Channel 4’s NFL show
NigeriaEfe Obada London Warriors (2014) Played in the NFL with Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers
United StatesPhoebe Schecter Staffordshire Surge, GB Lions Women Intern Coach in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills.
United StatesBradlee Van Pelt Leicester Falcons (2010) Quarter Back in the NFL for Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. Also Colorado State NCAA graduate.

Winners[edit]

BritBowl[edit]

Winners of the Britbowl since the BAFA National Leagues 2010 formation.

Team Season
London Warriors 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018
London Blitz 2010, 2011, 2012
Tamworth Phoenix 2017

Division One Bowl[edit]

In 2015 there was a separate Bowl final for both the Northern and Southern sections.

Team Season
Bury Saints 2016
Colchester Gladiators 2013
East Kilbride Pirates 2011
Farnham Knights 2015
Leicester Falcons 2018
Manchester Titans 2017
Merseyside Nighthawks 2014, 2015
Sussex Thunder 2012
Tamworth Phoenix 2010

Division Two Bowl[edit]

Each year there is both a Northern and Southern Bowl winner.

Team Season
Aberdeen Roughnecks 2018
Berkshire Renegades 2017
Bury Saints 2015
Hertfordshire Cheetahs 2018
Leicester Falcons 2016
Oxford Saints 2016
Sandwell Steelers 2015
Shropshire Revolution 2017

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Britball Firsts". Britball Now. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Britbowl XXV Details Announced" (PDF). Inside American Football. July 2011. p. 14. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  3. ^ Dobson, Cathy (27 April 2010). "Two Sarnia war heroes to be honoured". Sarnia Observer. Archived from the original on 2017-10-03. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  4. ^ Polvino, Andrew. "2009 USAFE Football Reunion Approaching Fast". Andrews Air Force Base: USAF Germany. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Military Football in the UK". Britball Now. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  6. ^ "1984 Table of Merit". London Blitz. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  7. ^ "All Time British American Football Tables – 1984". Britball Now. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  8. ^ "BAFANL Adult Contact Standings". BAFA National Leagues. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  9. ^ "BAFANL League Expansion – Update". Double Coverage. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  10. ^ "BAFA confirms National League 2016 structure". British American Football. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  11. ^ "BAFANL Standings 2016". Double Coverage. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  12. ^ Establishing a club
  13. ^ BAFA Announces New 2017 League Alignments
  14. ^ http://dblcoverage.com/event/britbowl-xxxi/
  15. ^ http://dblcoverage.com
  16. ^ http://Facebook.com/dblcoverage

External links[edit]