On August 31st NuOla held its inaugural flag football tournament in Calderdale Halifax.
12 teams from around the UK arrived at sunny but breezy Inspire Centre, Calderdale Collage between 8 and 9am.
The hosts of the tournament were the NuOla kitted BAFA team Calderdale Knights, led by Craig Henry who founded the team and team mate Simon Cutts who arranged the facilities for the day.
After setting up our NuOla base camp, with wind playing a devilish part, the 12 teams who had been previously drawn into 3 groups of 4 began their fixtures and play commenced.
On pitch 1 we had the hosts Calderdale Knights first up against the Sheffield Vipers led by Geordie Mike Sullivan, who also had NuOla owners Rudi Halfmann and Neil Wymer playing for them on the day. The marquee team in group 1 were BAFA Coventry Jets, led by Steve Prodmore, who the next weekend would be travelling up to Motherwell to take part in the BAFA flag finals. They would go onto finish 4th at BAFA flag finals, creating history as Jennifer Cooper would become the first female to throw a completion on flag finals day. Also in this group were the dark horses Jack Martin Juggernauts, based in Warwick, led by David Boyles, Jennifer’s boyfriend. This would later create an added spice to proceedings in group 1.
On pitch 2 were the NuOla kitted BAFA team Newcastle Blackhawks, led by Alan Bartholomew, first up against the Coventry Cougars who fielded a team with mixed gender and ages all under 20 years old! They were led by Millie Barrett who is instrumental in the Woman GB flag set up. Also in group 2 were the brand new NuOla kitted flag team the Mansfield Honey Badgers who were making they’re debut in competitive fixtures. They would be exciting to watch as the players mostly have full contact experience and were led by Charlie Patterson. Last but not least were the BAFA team Carluke Cobras who set off at 3.30am from Scotland to take part. In a major coup for NuOla they were led by Alan Young, the head man in BAFA flag football.
Pitch 3 would see NuOla’s first flag customers and one of the BAFA leagues premier teams the Sheffield Steel City Knights, led on the day by GB player Dean Wittingslow. They took on NuOla’s first full contact kitted team the Burnley Tornados, who were making their flag football debut. They would be led by the charismatic John Harvey labelled as the granddad of Tornados football.
NuOlas youth team customers, Chorley Buccaneers, led by Lawrence Quinn were also participating all be it with their senior team. To make it a full compliment were the Huddersfield Hawks kitted team, also making their flag debuts and they would be led by Christopher Atkinston.