Grangemouth Fillies were given a baptism of flag football fire at the weekend in a league tournament at Ravenscraig Sports Complex.
The female division has only been operating at the Whitecross-based club for four months but met three well-established teams of gridiron girls – Manchester Titans, Chorley Buccaneers and the East Kilbride PiratesThey filled in after one of the scheduled teams pulled out of the four-team group and the Fillies took their chance against some candidates for the Great Britain Ladies team and by the end of the day, there were many plaudits for the Fillies team.
In their first full game they played Manchester Titans who have already competed in multiple National Finals.
The Fillies surprised everyone when they were first to score with Saskia Köttler breaking through for the TD. On defence, while the Fillies made a few defensive stops, the Titans did get a couple of scores before the half to lead 13-6. Into the second half and the Titans found a hole in the inexperienced Grangemouth defence and exploited it with pass after pass to their top receiver in the game, McDermott.
The game finished with a 41–6 defeat, but the Grangemouth team already had so much more experience.
In the second game the opposition was the Chorley Buccaneers, another team with a long Flag history.
The added experience from the previous game was evident with an early interception from Lauren Gibbon. But it was the opposition who scored first though Megan Shelley soon had them on the scoreboard. 6–6. The Bucs managed another score before the half, so the score reflected the first game, down 6-13.
In the second half Gemma Gow got the first of two sacks in this game, and the Fillies took advantage and got right back into the game with a second TD from Shelley to bring it to within a point only for the Buccaneers to extend their lead to 12-20.
Bethany Thomson, with a week’s practice for the QB role, had been playing so well but an interception was almost inevitable. That gave the Buccs another opportunity to score, which they duly did.
The game ended with a much improved scoreline from the Fillies’ point of view, but still a defeat, 12–26.
In the final game of the day, the Fillies were playing the East Kilbride Pirates, one of the top teams in the UK over the past few years. Yet another game where the Fillies were still in the game at the half, they were down 6 – 18 and the TD coming from Köttler. Into the second half and the Fillies were still managing to move the ball up the field, they just couldn’t quite punch it in for the score, while the Pirates’ greater experience saw them stretch their lead. The final score was 36-6.
After each of the games, the coaches and players from the other teams were quick to acknowledge that the Fillies were much better than had been expected from a brand new team.
Head coach of the Ladies team, Callum Woods, said: “This was a great chance for our players to find out (a) How far they had already come, and (b) How far they were from making an impact in the Ladies competitions.
“The answer to the first is, a long way. The answer to the second, not far at all!”
The club head coach Fraser Thomson had voiced what he hoped would be the result of the day’s play.
He said: “A score in each game would be great, and a couple of defensive stops.
“The girls got all of that and more.
“A great all-round performance form everyone that should boost their confidence moving forward.”
If anyone would like to find out more about Flag Football or would like to give the sport a go, they should get in touch via the Grangemouth Flag Football Club page on Facebook.