Chorley team stakes a claim in American Football competition

A team of American football players from Chorley reached new heights at an international tournament in Europe.

Friday, 15th September 2017, 4:25 pm
Updated Friday, 15th September 2017, 5:30 pm
Members of the British Blades team who travelled to Italy to take part in the International American Flag Football competition: Nathan Smalley, Graeme Chesters, Bradley Temple, Jonathon Williams, Joel Chesters, Alex Challands, Andrew Carr, Lewis Wyatt, Josh Atkins, Theo Smith and Julian Wyatt

The British Blades were pitted against some of the best teams at the International American Flag Football competition, even winning against Austria’s national team.

During the tournament in Italy, they had gone unbeaten in the qualifiers and only narrowly lost out to the Italian national team 32-29 in the final.

Coach Graeme Chesters could not be more proud of his team. He said: “I feel like we’ve put down a marker for the British game against some talented, well-funded and very well-coached teams.

The British Blades with European teams

“The hosts, Skorpions of Varese, have been absolutely wonderful and there was a real sense of comradeship and sporting behaviour throughout.”

Mum of one of the players Deborah Carr had come up with the idea for entering the competition after spotting an advert for it. She said: “It wasn’t a selected team, we just took whoever was available.

“They won every game which put them at the top of their group and at the semi-final they won 27-7 against the host team.

“In the final they faced the Italian national team, which was a selected team so they were the best players from all over Italy.

The British Blades

“The Blades did really well considering they were just a group of friends.”

The British Blades train at Parklands High School as part of the Chorley Buccaneers American Football Club.

American Football has grown in popularity in the UK over the years.

Deborah Carr told the Post that the game has attracted more attention since the NFL games started in London.

The British Blades with European teams

She said: “Its definiately grown since the introduction of the NFL games in 2007.

“When my son Andrew started playing with the Chorley Buccaneers American Football Club 10 years ago there were 30 kids in the whole club.

“Now there are 150 kids in the club and we have two teams in each age group.

“So there’s been a massive rise in the popularity of the game.”

The British Blades