16th December 2001 - Sundevils take the Bournemouth 5 on 5 senior flag challenge trophy

The Southern Sundevils won the Bournemouth Raiders 5 on 5 challenge tournament, with a 4-0 record. Bournrmouth Raiders and the Southern Sundevils were both 3-0 going into a decider at the end of the round-robin style tournament. Sundevils took the win 22-6 and the title.

In bitterly cold weather, the Southern Sundevils won the Bournemouth Raiders5 on 5 challenge tournament, finishing the round-robin tournament with fourwins out of four. They opened the tournament with a stern test against theLeicester Eagles but emerged 26-19 victors. Further victories followed against Sussex Thunder and the Birmingham Raiders.

The Bournemouth Raiders opened their account with a 25-12 win against the Birmingham for Raiders bragging rights. Brad Smith threw 2 TD passes and ran for one himself, and Matt Heasman connected on a bomb to Tim Smith to ease Bournemouth to the win.

Bournemouth followed this up with very closely fought games with Leicester (13-12) and North Devon Dogs (18-14). In both games Bournemouth stopped the opposition on the 1 yard line on the last plays of the game. Daniel Nehorai and Lee Eatly making the crucial tackles respectively. Mark Elliott and Ryan McKeon deserve special mention with a number of crucial tackles in those games.

With Sundevils and the Bournemouth Raiders 3-0, this set up a crucial winner-take-all encounter for the trophy. Sundevils lost a player early on to injury, and as the game restarted took the lead on the very next play. The BSL side scored a crucial second score soon after to move 14-0 ahead.The Raiders got back into the game on a Brad Smith run, but Kirk O'Fieldfired his third TD of the game to give the Sundevils the win 20-6 and the trophy.The Brockenhurst Exiles excelled - considering they are a BYAFA affiliated side. Helped by their three England U-19 Internationals (Pete McDougal, Tom Ruston and John Halling), they defeated 3 senior sides and only missed out on second place on points difference. The Leicester Eagles finished with a 2-2 record, and were most unlucky in their game against Bournemouth which ended with Daniel Nehorai's tackle on the 1 yard line to prevent the Eagles taking the win on the last play of the game.

The North Devon Dogs, who had left Barnstable at 5.30am to attend the tournament, also finished with a 2-2 record. Their two defeats (against Brockenhurst and Bournemouth) were by 2 and 4 point margins. Their aerial presence was a threat to all teams all day.

The Birmingham Raiders put points on every team, but a still looking for that elusive first win. They might have managed it in their last game against Brockenhurst, but the Exiles scored a TD on the last drive of the game, and scored the crucial 2 PAT as time expired to take the game 20-19.

Sussex Thunder showed tremendous spirit all day, as Gary Whitfield's team look to start building towards forming a new senior kitted side in Brighton. They put in a great performance against the Southern Sundevils in their first game going down 26-12, and also in their last game against the North Devon Dogs which they lost 16-7 after leading 7-0 for much of the game.

All in all a tremendous day of flag football, which is hoped to be repeated at some stage in the near future.

Final table:


The results are listed below.

Bournemouth Raiders 25-12 Birmingham Raiders
Leicester Eagles 19-26 Southern Sundevils
Sussex Thunder 12-26 Southern Sundevils
Brockenhurst Exiles 14-12 North Devon Dogs
Brockenhurst Exiles 28-8 Sussex Thunder
Bournemouth Raiders 13-12 Leicester Eagles
Birmingham Raiders 8-30 Southern Sundevils
North Devon Dogs 14-18 Bournemouth Raiders
Leicester Eagles 28-0 Sussex Thunder
Birmingham Raiders 6-38 North Devon Dogs
Brockenhurst Exiles 0-26 Leicester Eagles
Bournemouth Raiders 6-22 Southern Sundevils
Sussex Thunder 7-16 North Devon Dogs
Brockenhurst Exiles 20-19 Birmingham Raiders