New recuit on the right lines

New recuit on the right lines

The 2016 Sapphire Season – the women’s domestic competition – is fast-approaching and with it the Lions are delighted to welcome a ‘local’ to their #Pride.

Lauren Mills, formerly of neighbouring side, Sandwell Steelers, joined the Lions a few months ago with some pretty clear goals in mind: to become a better player and to improve and develop specifically as an offensive lineman, which explains, in the main, her reason for moving clubs.

“Sandwell are a great bunch” offered Mills, “but I wanted to further develop as a player, and in particular as an offensive lineman. With the game progressing towards 7’s (and eventually 11s) and with Birmingham opting for this format – along with their ambition to play 9s and 11s also – I knew that going to the Lions represented a great opportunity for me to gain much more experience in a position that I love playing.”

With Sandwell committed to the 5 aside version of the game this season – where only one offensive lineman (a Centre) is in play – this format of the game simply doesn’t offer the relevant opportunities for budding linemen to get their teeth into. Conversely, 7s (9s and of course 11s) does: 7 a-side football operates with a Centre and two Guards which starts to initiate the development of line play, alongside 9s, before 11s takes the line up to its normal spec of five.

“I spent two good years with Sandwell and under the guidance and support of the club’s chairman and the men’s team, I was fortunate enough to be a part of helping to set the women’s section up in January 2014.” That Lauren’s previous mantles of club captain and general manager have now been passed on meant the time was right for her to move on. “The girls are entering their second season of tackle football now and have all improved massively. I wish them all the best of luck for the Sapphire season ahead and will absolutely be following their results with interest and with my fingers crossed for them.”

Now though it’s time for Lauren to look forward. Having dabbled at Fullback and Receiver since first giving football a go (in Nov 2013), and with two Great Britain caps at Tackle (Sep 2014 and May 2015) under her belt, progressing is now the key for this born and bred Halesowen lass. “I’m looking to become a better player and to push myself further than I think I can go. It’s competitive at the Lions, at all positions, so I am hoping that will bring out the best in me and that I can add value to an already great, existing offensive line.

Lions’ Offensive Line Coach Carl Lewis is equally excited: “Lauren brings both experience and quality to the team, having represented Great Britain before and with her accumulated knowledge to date. Her addition bolsters what looks to be a formidable unit at the Lions this season, with competition for places looking fierce. She is a likeable member of the team and has settled in comfortably which all bodes well for the season ahead and we hope her prospects beyond club level too.”

O-Line Positional Leader, Michelle Gwynne also concurs: “Lauren is a good all-rounder, she has a positive attitude and has a strong sense of team, she’s already a great asset to the Lions.”

With much praise indeed, may we also take this opportunity to welcome Lauren to the club and wish her all the best for her maiden season ahead.

Pictured (l-r): Lauren Mills, Elisha Huxtable, Martha Prinsloo and Ezme Moyse.

Image courtesy of, and with thanks to, Garry Charles Photography, © MyLonelyTreeMedia.

Lauren Mills