London Warriors team captains walking out for the coin toss

London Warriors Women chasing third successive national title

The London Warriors Women’s team got off to the perfect start in the defence of their national title with a 50-20 win over Solent Thrashers on May 11.

The Croydon-based Warriors are seeking their third consecutive BAFA (British American Football Association) national championship after beating the Birmingham Lions in the final each of the last two years.

Since 2023, the women’s team has played 9v9, having previously played 7v7, and the greater number of players on the field signifies the sport’s rising popularity.

London Warriors Women in action in their victory against Solent Thrashers

Warriors Women’s cornerback De’Vonai D’wyer said: “The nine-a-side league started off with just four or five teams, and now so many people have joined that it’s had to be split into North and South.

“So it [the women’s game] has grown really rapidly.

“I think the success of the Great Britain team has amped up the hype around the whole thing.”

In 2022, the GB Women’s team took home the silver medal at the IFAF World Championship in Finland, losing only to the USA.

This April, GB travelled to Spain for a European Championship fixture and the eight travelling Warriors players comprised the second-largest contingent of any team in the national squad.

Last year’s runners-up, the Birmingham Lions, had by the far the most players in the squad with 16.

But Warriors safety Lottie Carpenter explained that the current Warriors team is fairly inexperienced, despite beating the Lions last September.

Carpenter said: “When we won last year, the majority of the team were rookies.

“Either it was their first time doing adult full contact, or the first time they were playing football at all, and it’s similar again for this season.

“We always get lots of new people wanting to join the game and we’ve had a number of people retire, so we’re actually quite a fresh and new team.”

Warriors defenders pursuing a Thrashers ballcarrier

The head coach of the women’s team, Dee Williams, is also the starting quarterback for the men’s team and he gave an insight into the tight-knitted Warriors community.

Williams said: “Whether you play for the men, the women, the younger teams – we’re a family here.

“We try to support each other as much as we can.

“It can be difficult sometimes as women play on different days, but we really try to make it a family-oriented atmosphere.”

The Warriors Men’s team won their own season-opener against the Hertfordshire Cheetahs on May 5, with several members of the Women’s team supporting from the sidelines.

Men’s defensive lineman Jamal Fredericks said: “There’s a big bond between all the players.

“The women support the men and the men will support the women when they’re playing as well.

“We have a lot of social events off the field and the community of the team is really gelling together now.

“So I think we’re in a good place and we’re only going to grow from here.”

All images credit: lindsayhydephotography

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