28th Oct, 2016

Anyone up for a few downs should sign up

Evesham Editorial 22nd Jan, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

AMERICAN football looks set to touchdown in the county once more thanks to a group of hard-working players and coaches.

Members involved with the University of Worcester team, The Royals, are looking to re-introduce the game to a wider audience throughout Worcestershire for the first time in almost five years.

Since the Redditch Arrows and the Hereford Chargers ceased to exist, the university-based team has been the only representative in the area and NFL-lovers have had to travel outside the county to get their football fix.

But Colin Branagh is hoping to put a Community American Football Programme in place with the end goal of creating a team fit for the British American Football Association National League.

The 59-year-old, who has been involved in the game for 32 years, told The Observer he is also hoping to introduce it to schools, youths and women.

“The reason we are looking at Worcestershire and not just Worcester is we want to encourage people county-wide to take up the sport.

“It brings what is a real niche game to the county, rather than everyone having to travel further afield it will be here in

Worcestershire and gives everyone another option.

“There was a report out last week that said the Olympic legacy was supposed to increase sport, but there has actually been a

decrease and I think people are getting fed up with the traditional stuff and I feel this could open new doors.”

A Facebook page has also been set up in a bid to bring the football back and it racked up more than 200 likes within the first ten days of operation. An ongoing poll is on the site to chose the team name while taster sessions are also posted on it.

Mr Branagh, head of the steering committee, has had previous success in similar schemes in Leicestershire, Manchester and Gloucestershire and was keen to replicate that here.

“I have been in the game a long time.” he added. “We are confident it will be a success because it has been well received as far as our short-term goals are concerned.

“Those goals are trying to start up the youth and women’s teams and that is why we are setting up the taster sessions to give them all those bits and pieces.”

More information can be found on the Worcestershire American Football Programme Facebook page or by contacting worcestershireamericanfootball@gmail.com by e-mail.