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Physis

Historical sponsorship first for Cardiff Valkyries

Since the team was established in 2016, we have worked tirelessly through self-funding to put ourselves through the British 5 aside flag football tournament, Opal series, closely followed by our debut in the 5 aside tackle tournament, Sapphire Series, in February 2017. Last year saw another big move, from the 5 aside to the 7 aside tournament of Sapphire Series 2018.

It really has been a hard but well deserved journey for the Valkyries, and we have worked so very hard over the last two years to find sponsorship to support our journey. We are finally honoured to announce our first ever sponsor –Physis Ltd. Company owner – Kirstyn Lobo  – had this to say about this historical sponsorship:

 

 

“Physis has proved to be one of Europe’s top selling brands online specialising in quality nutritional supplements that facilitate the improvement of Health and Vitality.

Our Physis family consists of parents, part-time students, home-workers and globe trotters, and we are proud to offer flexible hours and an environment that emulates actually giving a damn!

It is with this caring and progressive management style that Physis have looked to find ways to uplift and encourage the local community – cue the Valkyries.

The Valkyries offer an inclusive environment where different shapes, sizes, skills and experience can come together to progress themselves and American Football, for women in Wales and beyond. It is for these reasons that the Physis team is extremely proud to align ourselves with a group that speak so closely to our hearts.”

– Kirstyn Lobo, Owner

As you can imagine, we are over the moon about this fantastic opportunity with Physis Ltd. The sponsorship will help towards coverage of essential funds for kit and upkeep of the club, and will make all those differences to develop the standard of team and the standard of play.

Thank you, Physis Ltd!

 

Tackle Football

Diamond Series 2018 review

This years’ Diamond Series – a full 11 a-side series – was not one to forget, seeing a number of Valkyries play in the first ever newly formed Heartlands Shock. Over three training sessions and two game days they played their hearts out, and they had this to say about the team and their experiences;

 

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Ruth: Wide Receiver #88

Diamond 2018 was phenominal, I relished every minute! It was so great to work with new coaches who had fantastic insights and who never stopped supporting us. Meeting with and playing with women from all over the UK, from all different divisions was a great experience. There are so many talented women in Britball I can’t wait to see them all again.

The highlight for me was my touchdown but I would say the best part of the whole series was meeting and working with amazing people. It surprised me how much different the 11a-side game was to the 7 aside – more people around you to take you out! A lot a of different challenges in both types of the game, but I hope to incorporate everything I’ve learned in 11s to 7s.

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Lauren – Defensive Line

With this being my first time participating in the Diamond series, and only having competed in Sapphire twice as my only experience of playing American Football prior (both times playing 7-a-side), it’s understandable that I approached the event with some trepidation. My knowledge of the sport is still shaky at best (being that I don’t tend to watch sports, just play them), and having only just got 7-a-side football knowledge under my belt, jumping up to 11-a-side felt incredibly daunting.

Nevertheless, once I got stuck in and attending two of the three training sessions and the two game dates, I thoroughly loved every minute of it. This year was my debut to Defense in Sapphire, and I continued this as I went through to Diamond, registering as a defensive end. Diamond also introduced me to the world of Special Teams, which was an entirely foreign concept to me in itself. The learning curve felt steep at some times, but it doesn’t take long to see that a lot of players are in the same boat and that everyone—both coaches and players—are there with the primary goal of making sure that everyone is just basically having a good time.

Over the course of Diamond, I feel that I definitely improved as a player—but not just in improving the things I was currently doing, but also being able to identify the areas that could use further work, such as tackling and handwork. In saying that, the toughest part for me was definitely in the second full game of the second date whereby injuries meant I had to fill in for a few positions I’d never been coached in! But as nerve-wracking as that was, I knew no one would judge me as long as I tried my best, and I think it’s a privilege to be part of a team like that.

More than anything, I think Diamond was a fantastic opportunity to build on my current skill set, try something new and also—most importantly, in my opinion—to make friends and play the sport we all love.

 

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Sheryl – Defensive Line #98

Development as a player: was able to focus on more d-line specific skills through Diamond than I have ever been able to which I’m hoping will help me up my game next sapphire with coaching and direction from people who play in a GB capacity or within their own 11 a side teams. 11 aside experience was good. Helped bring everything together and bring through the importance of all of the individual units working together to achieve a common goal. My goals next sapphire are just to be the best I can be in a d-line position

 

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Zoe – Linebacker #58

Diamond  Series was such an amazing experience. From the knowledge developed in training, to the full-on 11 aside games, to the new friends made, it was a series that I certainly won’t forget.

The opportunity to have access to such experienced and passionate coaches was a privilege I don’t take likely. They spent so much time with us, tweaking the smallest of details, but also making sure we were having fun all the way through. On a personal level I’ve learned more about football full-speed at 11s than I have before, as well as points to improve. I’m so excited to take all of this knowledge and hopefully develop further.

I do think, however, that one of the memories that will stick with me most is being chosen as one of the defensive captains. It was such an incredible honour–something I wouldn’t even think was a possibility as I signed up to the series – and although we didn’t take away the win everyone should be incredibly proud of themselves and what they’ve achieved. Everyone came together and continued to work, work, work, making history as the first Heartlands Shock team.

Women’s football in the UK is growing and developing at an amazing rate, and I think Diamond Series is a testament to that. Let’s see what next year bring for the Heartlands Shock! #ShockItToEm

 

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Sarah – Offensive Line #59

So only taking up American football at the beginning of this year due to a rookie day with cardiff Valkyries I found myself this year signing up for Diamond, my first time at 11 a side! Attending Training was nerve wracking and finding myself on the Offensive line with some amazing ladies and some GB players who towered above me, definitely made me feel worried at my American football knowledge. Training was really structured and throughly enjoyed the team moral that was building between all the players, getting stronger with each session. I did struggle at first with getting my head around new play calls but with the experience on the line and the guidance of the O Line coach Ross, I soon got my head around them and practice did make perfect! The games were another level and loved seeing be enthusiasm of the teams, the coaches and each player. We were graced with beautiful weather and even though the distance to travel to the games was a killer, we gave it our all!! I loved the experience of diamond and the skills I’ve learnt I cannot wait for sapphire to start up to show my development. I would encourage anyone that’s never done diamond to try it just once!! I’ve made friends for life and cannot thank the Heartland Shock team bringing us together!

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Claire – Offensive Line #79

Diamond was awesome! An incredible opportunity to learn so much about a specific position. I was so lucky to get such an amazing team of incredible ladies on the O line. I actually really miss them now it’s over. I really miss football too. Can’t believe I’ve got to wait till November now

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Elleanor – Defensive Back #24

Speaking on behalf of Elleanor, there are two words to describe her awesome sauce performance during Diamond Series…Interception City!

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Simon – Receiver coach #1 <3

Being able to coach in the Diamond Series for the newly formed Heartland Shock was an honour and a privilege. That a new team needed to be created to cater for the demand says a lot about how far the sport has come in just a short space of time.

While I couldn’t attend every event, those that I did were amazing experiences. The sheer energy and ethusiam shown by everyone was immense. For almost every player, they had never experienced 11-a-side before so were truly breaking new personal grounds. For others, it was their first taste of football at all. Everyone gave absolutely everything into the sessions and games, but more importantly did it with a smile.

It is this aspect that I will take away most from the series. No matter what was happening. No matter what the situation. No matter how hot it was. Everyone was always smiling. Everyone was always enjoying themselves.

It was great to see a number of Valkyries attending the series. Putting yourself in these unfamiliar situations is not an easy thing to do. However, they all took to it completely naturally and played brilliantly. Whether it was Elleanor making interceptions, Zoe getting hits in the backfield, Lauren and Sheryl putting pressure on the QB, Ruth getting big catches, or Sarah and Claire doing all the unseen work on the Oline, each made their impact to a team full of some of the best talent in the country. They certainly caught the eyes of other coaches and (hopefully!) GB scouts as well. I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.

 

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Flag Football

Valkyrie makes GB Lions roster

As many of you know, the Great British Lions held their flag football trials on Saturday! 🏈 The event saw women from all over the UK attend to develop and try for a spot on the two GB teams, the GB Gold Lions and the GB Silver Lions.

It’s with our great pleasure to announce another Cardiff Valkyrie has made it onto the GB squad, receiver/corner Ruth Lewis! Ruth had this to say about the day and her selection:

“The day was fantastic. The level of talent on display was awe-inspiring. We were mid-game and I just had to stop so I could watch players take on the whole defense and score completely untouched. With skill like that on display I was so surprised to be selected. I can see that I have a lot to learn and I can’t wait to get started! The coaches were so helpful and in the short time I spent with them I already had so much to take away. I hope I can step up to the plate and encourage more women, especially in Wales, to step into the sport.”

       

Ruth is the second Valkyrie to be selected into a GB squad, the first being Emma Underwood last year. Unfortunately Emma was unable to trial this year, but she still attended the event:

“I really enjoyed being there and seeing all the new trialists and helping out with drills. It felt really odd being on the other side of it but circumstances involving an injury meant I could not trial. Although it was frustrating not being able to partake I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a lot of new talent this year. More and more talent are just appearing from nowhere and it’s fantastic to see.”

There is no doubt that things are progressing for both forms of football in the UK! Cardiff Valkyries’ head coach, Simon Browning, was invited to assist on the trials, and as he reviews the day it’s clear just how high the sport and standard is growing:

“The standard was very high. Many of the coaches remarked on how the base level of the players was higher this year than last. This led to a really competitive day where coaches and players alike continuously pushed each other.

The day was organised around different drills in the morning followed by game scrimmages in the afternoon. In these players took the lead in creating their own playbooks with coaches there to help rather than lead.

It was extremely positive to see how women from all over the country were able to come together at short notice and perform as a unit with such effectiveness.

The ability to read what was going on and adapt their play accordingly was extremely evident and made for tough decisions at the end!”

We hope to see the continuing development of the women’s games, and eventually to see more and more Valkyries’ take on the standard as GB players!

A big well done to all of the other successful players on the roster! We can’t wait to see how the year unfolds for you all. To see comments from the Head coach of the GB Lions, Andrew Gambrill, and the full list of the roster here>> http://dblcoverage.com/bafa-national-teams-announce-gb-lions-womens-flag-roster/

#RideOfTheValkyries

 

Sapphire Series 2018

Sapphire 2018 awards ceremony

It was an incredible night on Saturday at our end of year awards ceremony! Here is a review from our coaches of our MVP winners for Sapphire Series 2018…

One of the reasons why this club is going strength to strength is because a lot of people are doing a lot of different things. We were developing really quickly, throwing a lot of stuff at the team this year. We had injuries, different absences, and we were being forced to especially on offense to go into games with one recognisable receiver, as well as no running back. It’s not what you usually go into a game with.

But overall, the fact that the team were able to respond the way that they did, putting new things in, trying things out (and often at the drop of a hat), for us it makes it that much easier – so the whole team should all be proud of themselves of what they’ve done this year, and we’ve really set the foundation now to go on next year.

 

On to the the awards…

Coaches’ Player – Zoe John

This is a new award for this year. The coaches player is not about the best player, it’s about the intangibles that go around being part of the team, and there was quite a debate as to who should get this. As a coaching staff we were seeing all these different things by players, and at one point there was a five way race. Then down to three…

One player in particular was said to be one if not the most coachable players on the team, and for one of the coaches, one of the most coachable players that he’d been around in football over the course of this playing and coaching careers. That was Holly – always learning, carrying on. This was was definitely recognised by the coaching staff.

The other person in the final three was someone who kept going, kept trying, kept working with everything. She kept wanting to know more “what am I doing?”, “how can I get better?”, “what can I improve?”. We’ve asked her to play different roles within the team as well, and she responded really, really well to that and put on some really great performances. That player was Mandy.

The final person and the winner of the overall coaches player is again someone who throws herself completely into the squad. She’s in and around everything, and a lot of the feedback that we get via different routes is that she’s always helping people, always trying to make other people around her better. The winner of the coaches’ player is Zoe.

 

Offensive MVP – Maria Mercedes May

There’s been a lot great individual performances this year on offense. We went in wanting to do a particular thing which we were then unable to do, and we were effectively adjusting on the fly. Which, again, is never an easy thing to do. Getting Kira to run the offense in training and even in a game isn’t easy, and one of the things we want to say again is we’re trying to give players the knowledge so that they can respond. We had a lot of players on the offense doing this and really stepping up, and also giving a solid performance so that we could continue to compete.

But the winner of the offensive MVP,  not just in respect of the film but in the feedback as well from different players and things we hear throughout the year as well, is a particular player who not only gives a solid level performance every single time that’s of a high level, she’s also helping other people. Always trying to get the best of people that’s around her. And that’s one of the reasons really why she’s getting this award – so the overall offensive MVP is Maria. (Maria was unable to make the award ceremony, but Simon did a smashing job at posing…)

 

 

Lineman MVP – Jamillah Robinson-Heather

Another new award for the year, again, we had a lot of good performances on the line on both sides of the ball. It is an area in which we feel quite confident in, and we threw a lot of stuff at the line with a lot of different blocking schemes, really trying to put a lot of stuff. Both sides of the ball we really started to get there, which will be another major strength in the Valkyries going forwards. But, the person who’s won line MVP has had quite a dominant season. Right from the start she was noted by other people from other teams, and we were getting people coming to the coaches, and making comments about this player. This was the case right back from Topaz all the way through into Sapphire Series. The winner of the line award is Jam.

 

 

Defensive MVP – Lauren Oldacre

We were really, really proud of our defense this year. I think we went in with a really strong unit, and unfortunately we had injuries and we had to adjust, and it’s never an easy thing to start with a completely new set – especially with no practice. We think every player stepped up and gave us the option to compete like that. It was a really hard choice to actually do the MVP, though there’s a couple of players we’re going to mention who we were very impressed with.

For instance, Mandy. We think she had great defensive season. We asked her to play in two roles that’s she’s never trained in, and she showed a lot of skill and a lot of determination, and she made me really proud of having such a determined player who just picked it up and ran with it. Another person was Sarah who had hardly any training sessions and none on the defense and all she had to go on for this position was a classroom session. We think she did a wonderful job.

The defensive player that we’ve chosen we also ask quite a lot of. We’ve asked her to play more than one role, and she shows a lot of determination and aggression in her play. It was such a pleasure to watch her, she was getting better with each game, her tackles were getting more aggressive, better at reading the opposition, and knowing where the play is going to. So it’s our pleasure to give the defensive award to Lauren.

 

 

Overall MVP – Ruth Lewis

Although our overall MVP is nominated early for the the nomination of Sapphire Series MVP, it’s important to acknowledge the reasoning for the nomination. This is someone that gives everything in every single play. When you’ve got opposition defences screaming out where she is on the field and rotating their entire defense to the side of the field to where she is standing, you know that she is a key player. You know that she’s given oppositions a hard time, and to still score the touchdowns that she is scoring with the entire defense watching her says a lot about that. Also then coming across to defense and having to pick up more and more on defense as well, and towards the end pretty much involved in all the tackles at one point – again, throwing herself into a new role and giving everything at that. The tackles, the chases the pursuits – and it’s not easy playing both ways as corner and receiver. So overall MVP is Ruth.

 

 

Valkyries’ Valkyrie – Zoe John

For the coaches this is the most important award where most are concerned, because this is the one where we ask who the players believe epitomizes what it means to be a Valkyrie. And what was great was that there was eight people who were nominated for this, and it was almost a four way tie. Looking at some of the comments there was a general theme, and what’s great is that the general theme is about how supportive everyone is. It’s one of the those important things to our culture as a club that we are seen as that family type atmosphere, so this was brilliant. So just picking out a few comments, there’s a couple for Sheryl ‘Shed’ “for being a good shed”, as well as for her leadership as Defensive Captain. Maria, again, for bringing in the new players onto the line and helping them. Holly with some votes, for helping players and being very supportive behind the scenes, Kira for “keeping everything upbeat and taking everything in her stride”, Jam for keeping things up and asking question being involved, and an overall “good egg”. Lois as well for her knowledge, still coming to games and training even though she has one leg, still on the side-lines, being involved. Ruth as well, helping others and and calming nerves. It really is so positive to hear everyone’s comments.

The person who has won the award this year has received comments alongside others around the help she gives, but also in that the soul of the team. She takes on all of the challenges that she’s faced, and she’s there for teammates who are injured. A good all-round teammate and she does so much for the team, too. The Valkyries’ Valkyrie this year is Zoe.

 

The Flump award : Lois and Jam

Let’s not forget an additional new award for Sapphire Series 2018, the ‘Flump’ award. The ‘Flump’ award is given at the end of each game to the person who made the biggest ‘flump’. The overall Flump award this year was a difficult decision…but it was decided to be a joint winning between Lois for tearing her ACL in the first first (and not even bothering to run for a touchdown may we add…) and Jam, for tearing her achilles without realising, and returning to play in Sapphire Round 4 and practically obliterated it. **Also need to point out how two players can swear a leg brace and a big heckin’ leg boot and still make it look super fly…**

 

 

Well done to all of the team for what they have accomplished this year. Going up to 7s in just our second year of tackle was a big leap, and we couldn’t be more proud of you!

With many thanks to O’Neill’s St. Mary Street Cardiff for hosting our event and putting on a fantastic spread!

 

Sapphire Series 2018

Sapphire Series 2018: Final Round recap and MVPs

The season feels like it’s over far too soon! It’s been an amazing journey for the Cardiff Valkyries, and the final round of Sapphire certainly went out with a bang…

 

Cardiff Valkyries V Chester Romans

First game of the day was against Chester Romans. We knew it was going to be a give-all game. We showed out ability to potentially take the game, and we felt ready.

With some great long threat passes by Ruth ‘The Gazelle’ Lewis as well as Elleanor ‘The Fist’ O’connell we were able to move the ball yards from the end zone. Line-backer turned running back for the last two games, Zoe ‘Noo Noo’ John scored the first touchdown of the game. Receiving the snap and with the train of offensive lineman, Zoe was able to rush into the end zone, and repeated again for the extra point. This was no easy fight however, pushing through the Roman’s defense who proving to be a chaotic force throughout the game.

We were on a high, and the game continued as our last meeting with Chester with their offense scoring soon after.  But with the energy going from the first touch down the offense maintained the positive ‘force’ with Kira ‘QB1 Kenobi’ Walker, who scored another touchdown with 20/30 yard run into the end zone. More long throws and catches from receivers Ruth and Elleanor gave chance to score again. However, with an unfortunate fumble a yard away from the end zone we turned over the board.

The Valkyries’ defense put out some hard hits for Chester, with some great all-out efforts a well in both games from O-line turned D-line players, with Sarah Griffiths at nose tackle and Mandy as defensive end.  However Chester’s strong run game and talents proved to find the spaces on the field, scoring up the points.

Cardiff Valkyries 13 – Chester Romans 32

Cardiff Valkyries V Teeside Steelers

Our first time playing Teeside Steelers this season we weren’t sure what to expect. From 5 aside we remember a tough team who were threatening on both sides of the ball. But we were excited, and with the snow calming down we were looking forward to a bit of a warmer game!

On the offense, center Maria May continued some great snaps under pressure and in appalling conditions, and with the run we were able to move the ball more than the last game with some hard hitting yards by Zoe, but not enough to get through first down. Teeside’s defense certainly proved to be on point, and Ruth being Sapphire nominated MVP she was well covered. Teeside’s defense also patted down some potentially long haul throws, and despite some brilliant catches by both Elleanor and Ruth, and runs by Kira, we just couldn’t reach the yards needed to score. A confusion over a legitimate fumble led to Teeside’s first score while on defense, and an interception made my Teeside rooked up for another touchdown.

The Valkyries defense did well to stop out some touchdowns for Teeside, also introducing a 5 line defense from line-backers Holly Dame and Ceri Yeoman who stepped up to the task. A pat down from Ruth saved another potential touchdown for Teeside, and sending pressure onto their line reduce some potentially dangerous runs.

Cardiff Valkyries 0 – Teeside Steelers 24

 

Final Round MVPs

There is no doubt that each and every Valkyrie put in a hard effort in this final round. With most playing both sides of the ball, and weather conditions seemingly similar to an episode of Game of Thrones at The Wall, it was a very long day! However, there are two stand-out performances given these conditions…

Offensive MVP = Maria May
It was a horrible day to play centre. Wind and snow made things extremely difficult but every snap was on the money allowing the rest of the offence to function. Also had a solid day blocking

 

 

 

Defensive = Ruth Lewis
Both Chester and Teesside had known strike threats at WR but Ruth shut them both down through the games making them a non-factor. Ruth also had a couple of covering tackles and strong hustle.

 

Well done MVPs! 👏

 

For now…

As a team we have everything to be proud of. When you have comments made by other teams about their enjoyment of our progress, our passion, and developing skills, you can’t really ask for more. We have shown through the course of this year’s Sapphire Series that we have the potential to cause trouble. Only our second year in existence we are growing, and through the course of this year there is going to be so much more to learn and give.

Thank you all to the teams we have played against for some really smashing games! Bring on Sapphire 2019!

We hope to have Valkyries represent at the GB flag trials as well as Diamond series, so our football adventures are still certianly ongoing! Watch this space!

 

 

Sapphire Series 2018

Sapphire 2018: Round 2 recap and MVPs

What an eventful day for this bunch of ballers! Wonderful conditions of a sunny but cold day, and speakers blasting out Moana on the banter bus, the team were so ready to take on two very tough teams – Chester Romans and Sandwell Steelers! We loved playing them in 5 aside and we were just as keen to see them at 7s. Both games saw new formations and schemes on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and due to injuries the Valkyries saw many players in new positions and roles. However all stepped up to the plate when called upon…

 

 

Cardiff Valkyries V Chester Romans

The first game saw an all-out battle between hard hitters Chester Romans and was by far the standout performance from the team. On the defense we saw some great pressure from the team, with Mandy  entering as Nose Tackle and doing a smashing job! Throughout the game there were some great hits by all the team, putting on pressure in the back field and getting two fumble recoveries by Lauren Oldacre and Zoe John.

Offense wise the game kicked off with an absolute rush, with a running touch down by QB Kira Walker on the second play of the game! Chester’s defense was not to be taken lightly however, and proved to be a menacing force scoring safety’s. The offense kept repping with heart however, and with those amazing hands of Ruth Lewis another touchdown was made. With limited personnel the offense saw line-backer Zoe John making her debut filling in as running back, scoring a rushing touch down. Even right at the end the team still gave it absolutely everything, almost getting a safety and then, with seconds left, going the length of the field in 3 plays to get a TD with the last play of the game with anotherimpressive catch by Ruth Lewis – leaving the Valkyries at a very impressive 29-24 loss!

Cardiff Valkyries 24 – Chester Romans 29

 

Cardiff Valkyries V Sandwell Steelers

The second game against Sandwell Steelers was another battle for the ball. Sandwell hit us hard early with an excellent running game and, while the team rallied in the game and began to create stops, the difference maker in the game resided in the backfield of Sandwell and proved too difficult to completely contain over the course of the game. However, despite the score line the team never gave up – a trait in every game they have played – and kept going to the very end no matter what. Even injuries didn’t phase the players as we reorganised into a completely new defense to accommodate.

On the offense we saw some short yardage gains by Zoe at RB, but the deep threat arm of QB Kira and the talents of receivers made the points. In the first half we saw a grand catch by Ruth and some fantastic blocking by Elleanor stopping the potential tackle. However, despite the score line the team never gave up – a trait in every game they have played – and kept going to the very end no matter what. The offense maintained their determination and were rewarded with a couple of scores late in the game. The re-vamped offense saw a tasty play – a choo choo train of 6 linewomen followed by Zoe at QB rushing into the endzone. Elleanor showed some Odell-like hands, catching a very heated ball surrounded by Steelers for the touchdown. The extra point was scored by another line-backer in her offensive debut- a pass to Holly Dame catching the ball at tight end! Smashing!

Cardiff Valkyries 20 – Sandwell Steelers 51

 

 

Offense MVP

As mentioned, as an offence we threw a lot of new things out there. It was great to see the line coming together running 4, 5 and the famous 6 player units. Special mentions as well to Zoe John and Elleanor O’Connell for coming across from Defense to plug the gaps and allowing us to still do what we wanted to do. Both had really great plays and definitely contributed to a strong offensive showing.

However, you know that someone is playing well and influencing the game when you can hear the opposition coaches screaming at the defense to cover her. With Sandwell rotating their defense across to her side and at one point even triple teaming her on a play Ruth Lewis was certainly the different maker on the field. The attention was richly deserved as she continued her ability to turn contested catches into huge scores with her speed and elusiveness.

 

Defense MVP

On defense the honourable mention goes to Lauren Oldacre who had a fantastic game. Played both d line and line backer and managed to pull off some great tackles.

But defensive MVP goes to Zoe John. An outstanding performance with some big defensive plays. With her experience of reading the game and some powerful tackles, Zoe proved to be a force to be reckoned with on the field.

Well done, everyone!

 

There are so many things to take from the day! We are still on a massive high and feeling more than ready for Round 3 this Saturday. Bring it on!

 

Tackle Football

Sapphire 2018: Round 1 recap and MVPS

The Valkyries started their game days with the usual early alarms and coffees, and again we faced an entirely new game format with 7 a-side– the nerves were certainly there. However, we knew this was going to be part of something special for Sapphire Series 2018.

Cardiff Valkyries v Wembley Stallions

The first game of the say saw us against Wembley. On the defense we proved to be a strong unit, including a sack by rookie linebacker Ceri Yeoman and pressuring their run game. With all players showing a development in their theoretical knowledge and coverage, the pressure from the whole team was evident in the game. We all know the Wembley are a very talented team, so this really does say words about the D.

On offense the pressure was on with Wembley’s speed. As a result there were several turnovers on offense with slips and slides on the ball. However we did spice things up a bit with an entire offensive line (that’s right – 5 and even 6 offensive lineman!) and played around with several new positions for vets and rookies alike in game time.  Not only this, but some great runs by QB Kira Walker and Han O’Connor at RB, the offense were gaining yardage and never losing spirit.

End score Wembley 36 – Valkyries 0

 

Cardiff Valkyries v Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

Then after a few minutes rest came the Portsmouth game. Once again defense were a strong performance. Portsmouth’s run and switch plays saw the ability to get past some of the D, scoring up the points. However this doesn’t reflect how many great tackles were made and the pressure that the defense consistently maintained.

Offensively we really started to find our feel for the game (and in such bad weather conditions that really says something…), starting to move the ball more on runs and passes – with a fantastic long catch by Lois McConville. Unfortunately the catch was followed with an injury, and the game was called with ten minutes to go. Even in a shorter game it seemed like a different offense performance – a really great advancement!

End score Portsmouth 32 – Valkyries 0

 

Offensive MVP

The offensive MVP for round 1 goes to one of our centers, Maria Mercedes May. Off with injury for several months and going up to 7s are major issues for any player, though you wouldn’t have been able to tell for MVP Maria. Maria made a big impact coming on to the field, not only not only with the snaps in bad conditions but also with her blocking against a strong, physical team. Alongside this she also gave great support to the two rookies playing alongside her in their first ever games.

Special mention goes to rookie running back Han O’Connor who really grew into the day and put a great effort into the day with some really great runs. Coming in with limited exposure to real game experience, she grew into the tournament and really started to get it going towards the end with some strong runs. Though with little experience games you would think she has been at the position much longer with the heart she showed in the games.

 

Defensive MVP

Defense MVP goes to defensive end, Sheryl “Shed” Dame. Sheryl proved to be a dominant force in both games, keeping up the pressure and ensuring some great tackles. Some great pressure and tackles through the games, always putting in the effort to get in and around the action. Had fun in the second game with all the attention she received from the guard and TE at the point of attack but held up well against the blocks. Close to several sacks as well leading the team, defensive captain Sheryl was no doubt a visible influencer in the game.

Special mention goes to receiver and corner, Ruth Lewis. Not only some big hits but also some great covering tackles, including the big chase down along the sideline to prevent a score.

 

Clearly there are lots of things to take away round 1. We looked to adjust and try new things and it is a testament to where the team are that we were able to try new things and have success with them. Not every team can go out and run an offence that has never been practised at any point at the drop of a hat and with minimal instruction. Not every defence could be put in a completely different alignment and still get success. Not only that but players moved around different positions to cover. Both Mandy shifting over to the DL and then Lauren Oldacre moving to LB to cover was great to see.

It was a long day from start to finish. It was cold, wet, injuries here there and everywhere. But we played with heart the entire day. We know where we can improve, and we know we will. Last year our comparison from round 1 to round 4 was definitely noticeable…let’s see how we improve in comparison this year…

 

On the note of Lois’ injury we would like to take this moment to thank the medic and the Portsmouth team for their help, with several of their players and coaches staying after the game for quite a significant period of time. Lois will be out for the remainder of the season but it doing well.

BAFA Sapphire Series On reflection

A year in the life of a rookie

You’re probably all aware from our recent post that this team has achieved a lot this year, and we look forward to doing many more things too! Of course, the team wouldn’t be the team without the players. Each rookie day that passes and each player who returns, it’s a great feeling. Here is another player, another Valkyrie, and we know for sure it’s going to be something special for them. One year on from our first ever taster day in January 2017, the rookies are no longer rookies – they are the vets now instilling and helping others in the team. Here are what some of those who joined us last year have to say about their experiences this year; how it changed them, how it gave them something different….

Read more “A year in the life of a rookie”

On reflection

2017: A Year of Many Firsts

As we step into the New Year it’s time to stop and reflect on the amazing 2017 the Cardiff Valkyries had.

Many are aware that the Cardiff Valkyries have worked really hard as a team to build what we have. We started off with flag football in 2016 with the aim of tackle football in mind, and so perhaps the most significant achievement of the year was participating in our first ever tackle tournament, Sapphire Series 2017! It was the first ever experience of a real tackle football game that the team had faced, with most of the players never even participating in the flag football season, going head first into a world of new terminologies, routes and plays. With the help of our friends at the South Wales Warriors we trained for Sapphire Series in a relatively short period of time, but went and gave it all we had. Read more “2017: A Year of Many Firsts”

Tackle Football

Topaz 2017 – Round 1

Topaz round 1

We always knew that it would be tough taking on two established 7’s team right at the start of our journey. However, anyone that has been following the Valkyries will know we love a challenge! We had a couple of players getting their first ever contact experience and others playing out of position but they all stuck to their tasks really well and developed through the day amazingly. It was great to get that experience of just what 7’s is all about

Read more “Topaz 2017 – Round 1”

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