Lions take a flyer on pilot

Lions take a flyer on pilot

The Birmingham Lions were delighted to assist BAFA with the development of the British domestic game by piloting the first 7-aside proposition for women in the UK.

Assisting Women’s Football’s Lead Development Manager, Coach Jim Messenger, the Lions dedicated their Saturday practice session to trialling the rules, pitch-size and associated logistics of the proposed new format for tackle football.

Looking to help promote the progression of the game the Lions were keen to be involved with the pilot. “It’s not just important for Birmingham” offered Head Coach Jamie Kilby “…there are a lot of teams across the country that have worked hard to build numbers and push forward and 7s offers us and other teams a chance to advance our game play and move one step closer to playing the full version of the game.”

In stress-testing the new format the Lions helped provide BAFA’s Rules Committee with the appropriate game-footage – which included utilising a number of BAFA pre-requested and pre-designed set-plays and formations across different parts of the field – to help the body fine tune the necessary rules.

“The day was a really useful opportunity to trial the new 7 v 7 format for football ahead of roll-out early in 2016” commented Coach Messenger. “This is the next development step for women’s tackle football, introducing larger squads and more complexity through additional line play, and so it was really pleasing to see Birmingham’s players and coaches find the format both additionally challenging and good fun to play.”

“7s is good” added Lions’ Quarterback Jo Kilby, “there’s more room to move, we’ve now 3 offensive linemen and 2-3 d-line in play and as QBs we can run with the ball which is great. It’ll take a little getting used to in some regards but whilst the format is closer to the 11s game in a number of ways by the same token it represents a manageable step up from 5s which is good for all concerned.”

The Lions now return to regular training before breaking up for Christmas on the 12th December after which they’ll be hoping the 7s format has been ratified and ready for ‘unwrapping’. In the interim may the Lions say a big thank you to all the players, coaches and staff who took part in the pilot and also a shout-out to members of the University men’s team who kindly volunteered their time to assist with managing the game and team.

Image courtesy of, and with thanks to,  Andy M Neale, © Whizzyfingers Photography.