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Leeds youngsters get taste of American football

Pupils from Winterton Community Academy's Burton Bengals team, Jamie Leigh, William Slowen, with Roundhay School's Dan Nota, and Lucy Peaty from the Roundhay Cubs team.

Pupils from Winterton Community Academy's Burton Bengals team, Jamie Leigh, William Slowen, with Roundhay School's Dan Nota, and Lucy Peaty from the Roundhay Cubs team.

A taste of the US came to Leeds when a high school hosted the city’s first American football competition.

The Yorkshire Schools Flag Tournament saw 10 teams from Yorkshire and six North Lincolnshire schools competing for the Yorkshire Bowl at Roundhay School.

The competition was organised by Leeds Academy of American Football, which was set up a year ago to introduce the game to the city and encourage youngsters to take it up. The academy had previously hosted introductory training sessions at the schools taking part in the tournament, which included Roundhay, Carr Manor, Winterton, Rastrick, South Holderness and Ilkley Grammar.

A more sedate version of the usual high-contact sport, the schools game sees teams of five have very little contact. Each player wears a material flag and plays are made by pulling on the flag of the opponent holding the ball.

The teams were split into two groups of five and matches were played in a round robin format, with the winner of each group fighting it out for the trophy.

An all-Roundhay final saw the Cubs face the Foxes, with a last-minute touchdown from the Foxes securing the Yorkshire Bowl and the glory of winning the inaugural contest.

Dale Bottomley, manager of Leeds Academy of American Football, said: “It has been fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for the sport from both pupils and teachers. It is clear American football has a bright future in the North of England and we are aiming to give schools more opportunities to compete in the next academic year.”

The academy now hopes to set up a community league to get more youngsters involved.

 

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