Great Britain: South Wales Warriors home opener

The South Wales Warriors open their home schedule in British American Football’s top-flight division at Llanharan, Wales on Sunday as they welcome Premier South newcomers the Farnham Knights to the Dairy Field.  The Warriors are beginning a run of four consecutive home fixtures and both sides are looking for their second win of the season.

Last time out, against the Bristol Aztecs, the Warriors were only denied a victory by a missed extra point, and had to to settle for a rare tied game, as their visit to Bristol finished 27-all.

The fourth place Warriors recorded their first victory since 2014 when they secured a 35-18 win on the road against the London Olympians in week 2.

Head coach Geraint Roberts will be encouraged by both results after the Warriors endured a winless 2015 and only retained their place in the British American Football Association National League’s elite thanks to a reorganisation that expanded the southern conference.

Great Britain - South Wales Warriors-Farnham - 2picSunday’s visitors, the Knights, were promoted due to the expansion and have equipped themselves well. Their first victory also came against the Olympians, putting up 36 unanswered points at home. Only one point separated the Knights from the third place Bristol Aztecs, who returned to Bristol victorious after a 38-39 thriller in Surrey.

The Knights go into Sunday’s game in fifth place while the winless Olympians, who won back to back European titles in 1993/94, prop up the table.

Off the field the Knights have also made headlines as their squad includes offensive line player Laura Hill. A woman playing with and against male opponents brought the BBC News cameras to a Knights training session last month.

The conference is however still dominated by the London Blitz and London Warriors, who share the last seven BritBowl national championships between them.

The Knights lost 42-6 at the Blitz and 62-8 at the conference leading London Warriors in their first two Premier South fixtures.

The South Wales Warriors must have been fearing the worst after opening their season by conceding 71 points and failing to register a score at their London namesakes. Even at this early stage London’s Warriors appear to be favourites to win a fourth straight BritBowl.

The second of three consecutive trips to the English capital saw the Welshmen secure that long awaited win and even a 27-6 defeat at the Blitz offered signs of encouragement against an opponent that has previously scored at will in the majority of their fixtures.

The Warriors will be aiming to secure victories against the Knights and in their home fixture with the Olympians, on Sunday, June 12, before welcoming the London powerhouses to the Dairy Field in consecutive home fixtures. The London Warriors visit Llanharan Rugby Club on Saturday, June 26 and the Blitz on Saturday, July 10.

South Wales don’t play away again until their return visit to Farnham on Sunday, July 17, before ending their regular season fixtures at home to Bristol on Sunday, July 31.

Kick off on Sunday, June 5 v the Knights is 2:30 pm at The Dairy Field, Llanharan Rugby Club, Bridgend Rd, Llanharan, Mid Glamorgan CF72 9RD. Entrance is free and families are welcome. The clubhouse is also open.

Photo credits: Rob Dummer, Mark Sandom

Twm Owen is a journalist who played youth American Football in Cardiff, Wales.