The Tamworth Phoenix have enjoyed their most successful season in their history in 2017; the team’s tenth anniversary saw an unbeaten season, in which they successfully retained their Northern Conference Crown, and won the first national championship in their history.
The Nix were active in the off-season, acquiring veteran Great Britain international Deji Alli from the London Blitz to help bolster the run game, whilst the defense were boosted by the addition of Ovie Omueda from Sandwell, and Wayne Drew from Coventry. Coaches Alan Steel and Gary Hodgson also joined the coaching staff to add a wealth of knowledge to the offensive and defensive lines.
The third season under Head Coach Martin Hilton saw the Phoenix amass a 494 points, whilst only leaking 79 during the ten-game regular season, including a 63-3 record win against the Merseyside Nighthawks in late July.
Quarterback Pat Daley also had a stellar season, passing for 2,787 yards and 49 touchdowns during his second full season as Phoenix signal caller. Other Tamworth players earned Great Britain international call-ups; Alli, was joined by veteran Offensive Lineman Tom Levick, stand-out receiver Ben Burslem and stout Nose Tackle Ash Miller. Charles Nelson-Nwufoh and Will Hussey were rewarded for great campaigns with their first international caps for the Lions.
The Phoenix hosted the five-time defending champion London Warriors in the 2017 Semi Final, and despite falling behind early, the Phoenix scored 28 unanswered points to shock the visitors. A late Warriors rally was turned back by a late touchdown pass from Daley to Hussey.
On August 26th the Tamworth Phoenix made history, winning their first national championship, as they beat the London Blitz 34-28 in Britbowl XXXI. The Blitz were overwhelming favourites, as they had competed for the last eight championships, but it was the upstart Phoenix who took the lead first, with Daley plunging in from 12 yards out.
In a back and forth game, the Phoenix took the win deep in the fourth quarter, as Linebacker Ben Davies intercepted a Joe Thompson pass, and took it back for a defensive touchdown. Tamworth won 34-28, and Pat Daley was named Most Valuable Player.
The Phoenix youth team also had a stellar season, under second year Head Coach Mick Fearn; as they progressed to the plate finals in Sheffield on 12th August. A great regular season, saw them qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive year; mature performances from Quarterback Luke Fearn, Defensive Back Billy Elliot, and Running Back Tom Hart, combined with the influx of young players competing for roster spots, meant that the Phoenix were always competitive.
On the finals day, a big win against the Burnley Tornadoes, followed by a tight loss to the Solent Seahawks meant that the Phoenix would face local rivals from Black Country Vipers. A thrilling performance from the youth team, and a suffocating defense, saw the Nix overcome their opponents and end the season on a high.
At the end of the season, Coach Hilton announced he was stepping down to be replaced by long time Defenive Coordinator Jason Scott. Coach Hilton ends his Phoenix career suffering only four defeats in three seasons, having won back-to-back Northern Conference Championships and a National Title in his final season.
The future is increasingly bright for the Phoenix, as several Youth taster days held at Atherstone Sports Hub has seen over 30 young players try the sport for the first time. Mick Fearn has extended his contract, giving the youth team great stability and leadership going into the 2018 season.
The Phoenix will also be expanding into U13 flag and Women’s American Football in 2018, opening the doors to a wider group of people who want to try the sport!
Last week the team agreed terms with a new home venue, and will be based at Pack Meadow in Coleshill from the 2018 season; with both the Youth and Senior teams playing and training at the new venue from January 2018.
If you want to try American Football, or know someone who might be interested, please get in touch with the Phoenix on social media, or via firstname.lastname@example.org