It is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, and the trend of flag football hasn’t passed Leighton Buzzard by.
American football fans in town have come together to form Leighton Steam - not to be mistaken for the basketball team of the same name - to play a far less physical version of the most popular Stateside sport.
Players are still able to pass, run, score touchdowns, get sacks and much more but without the added costs - both financial and physical - of the kitted game.
With high levels of interest from not only the players but from other local clubs, the Steam hosted their first fixture earlier this month, welcoming the already established Northants Titans.
Due to the experience of some of the Steam squad, the Leighton Buzzard outfit expected to be at least competitive in their opening fixture. Contributions from both sides of the ball meant they went one step further, winning 26-12.
Offensive Captain and Quarterback Harry Staszewski said: “What was most impressive for me was, you would have never known it was the Steam’s very first game in what, for many playing, is a brand-new take on the sport.
“From the competent performance on the field to the new uniforms and equipment on the side line, the management team has to take a huge amount of credit for making the effort to set the team up right and creating an environment where very skilled players want to be involved. The potential here is very exciting.”
Staszewski looked in good form in the opener, finding Tom Childs for a 40-yard touchdown before Josh Peacock received a five-yard pass to break 40-yards for another.
“Its been a huge achievement to put a team on the field and the players have worked tremendously hard on their playbooks,” Head Coach Ryan Peacock added.
“This showed on the field and will continue to show in their play. They deserve this, let’s get steaming”
Rookie Linebacker Greg Elliot said: “It was great getting into a game situation as a newcomer to the sport and experiencing the complexity and the speed of each play. Momentum can change really quickly so I learnt quickly that you can’t lose concentration between downs.”
With the popularity of American football growing in the UK on a yearly basis, with more and more NFL games being played this side of the Atlantic, local schools Vandyke and Cedars are also looking into teaching flag football, offering Steam the potential to branch into the youth game as well.
>> For more information on Leighton Steam, visit https://1082designs.wixsite.com/steamfootball