1997 GB Lions

8th FIAF European Championships of American Football in Bolzano, Italy (16th & 19th July 1997)

Great Britain 6-24 Finland

European Nations Championship Semi-Final at Bolzano, Italy - 16th July 1997

GB, having defeated Spain, therefore had qualified for the four nations finals in Bolzano, Italy. The other sides to qualify had been the hosts, Finland and Sweden. GB were drawn to face Finland in the semi-finals. GB quickly fell behind 10-0, but Victor Muhammed's 80 yard TD run reduced the scoreline to 10-6 at half-time.

Finland pulled away in the second half with two further TD's to win the match 24-6.


1st Qtr Finland 18 yd TD catch Sevon XP Kick 7-0
Finland 28 yd Field Goal Grenroos 10-0
2nd Qtr Victor Muhammed 80 yd TD run (XP Kick blocked) 10-6
3rd Qtr Finland 12yd TD reception Suoniemi XP Kick 17-6
4th Qtr Finland 11yd TD run Penki XP Kick 24-6

Great Britain 7-14 Italy

European Nations Championship 3rd/4th place playoff at Bolzano, Italy - 19th July 1997

In the third/fourth place playoff, Britain finished the tournament with a disappointing 14-7 defeat against the hosts, Italy. Victor Muhammed scored the sole British TD of the game on a 1 yard run in the second quarter with Jon Wyse adding the PAT. Italy levelled the scores before half-time on a 8 yard TD catch from Barbaotti. Italy won the game in the fourth quarter on a 2 yard TD run from Angeloni.


2nd Qtr Victor Muhammed 1yd TD run Jon Wyse XP Kick 7-0
Italy 8yd TD catch Barbotti 7-7
4th Qtr Italy 2yd TD run Angeloni 7-14

Full squad for 1997 European Championships of American Football

QB’s. Cliff Boddington (Winchester Rifles), Derek Freeman (Sussex Thunder), Junior Price (London Olympians)
RB’s. Justin Oke, Stephen Hutchinson (London Olympians), Victor Muhammed (London Monarchs), Matt Townsend (Crawley Raiders), Derek Gallagher
TE’s. Gerry Anderson, Darren Cooper (both London Olympians)
OL. Dean Locke (London Olympians), Gerard Colquhoun, Tim Green, Don Edmonson (Stirling Broncos), Gary Mills, Nigel Thomson, Richard Barrett (all Birmingham Bulls)
WR. Steve Branscombe (Scottish Claymores), Marc Cohen (Birmingham Bulls), Jason Byworth, Leeroy Innes, Clive Palumbo (all London Olympians), Graham Reith (Scottish Claymores)
DL. Matthew Barrett (Birmingham Bulls), Paul Balfour (Glasgow Lions), Greg Cross, James Dorman, David Glover, John Letham, Gary Thomas (London Olympians)
LB. Ken Biggs, James Dougall (East Kilbride Pirates), Richard Draper, Ken Lewis, Paul Newey (all Birmingham Bulls), Simon Newnham (London Olympians), Mark Pagett
DBs. Rowelle Blenham (London Monarchs), Mark Donaldson, Neil Edwards (Milton Keynes Pioneers), Ahmed Hashim (Birmingham Bulls, Lance Knight (London Olympians), Scott Rowe (Hannau Hawks), Jon Wyse (Staffordshire Surge)
P. Mark Cohen (Birmingham Bulls)
K. Jon Wyse (Staffordshire Surge)

Head Coach - Riq Ayub
Consultant Coach - Tony Allen
Assistant Coach - Steve Collins (DL)
Assistant Coach - Trevor Carthy (DBs)
Assistant Coach - Paul Jarvis (Off)
Assistant Coach - Cliff Morgan (RBs)
Assistant Coach - Leroy Slue (LBs)
Leigh Ensor - General Manager
Lee Collins - Team Manager
Michael Self - PR Manager/Photographer
Albert Lambert - Equipment Manager
Delroy Bryant - Assistant Manager
John Fem - Trainer


Victor Muhammed had the highest average for any RB with 21.8 yards/carry against Finland, and the longest run of the tournament (an 80 yard TD).

Mark Cohen had a tournament high for receiving against Finland (6 for 85 yards).

Kevin Lewis made the highest number of tackles in the tournament - 7 solos and 5 assists against Italy, and 7 solo and 3 assists against

So after the debacle of 1995, the Lions returned to play their first competitive games in six years in Madrid in February 1997. After entering that years European Championship, they were drawn to face Spain away in a final qualifying match.

Spain 14-17 Great Britain

European Nations Championship Qualifer in Estadio de la comunidad, Madrid, Spain - February 23rd 1997

Great Britain took on Spain in a qualifying match in Madrid in February for the European Championship finals in Bolzano, Italy that summer. In a game that was a lot tighter than most people expected, GB won 17-14, but only after a last minute 41 yard TD pass from Stuart Franklin to Mark Cohen. Seale-McConnie had put the Brits on the board in the second quarter with a 10 yard run, but Spain responded before half-time to make the score 7-6 to GB at the break. In the third quarter Jon Wyse's 20 yard field goal put GB 10-6, before Spain took the lead with a 1 yard run and converted the 2 PAT to go 14-10 in front. Late in the fourth quarter Cohen's catch from Franklin saved red faces all round.

Click here for a full match report


2nd Qtr Seale-McConnie 10yd TD run Jon Wyse XP Kick 7-0
Spain replied TD 7-6
3rd Qtr Jon Wyse 30 yard Field Goal 10-6
Spain 1 yd TD run and converted 2 XP 10-14
4th Qtr Mark Cohen 41 yd TD pass from Stuart Franklin XP kick Wyse 17-14

Full squad v Spain

QB. Doug Cotterill (Birmingham Bulls), Stuart Franklin (London Olympians)
RB. Justin Oke, Collis Seale-McConnie, Stephen Hutchinson, Nigel Fleming (all London Olympians), Matt Townsend (Crawley Raiders), Derek Gallagher
WR. Mark Cohen (Birmingham Bulls), Leroy Innes, Clive Palumbo, Jeremy Simms (all London Olympians), Graham Reith (Scottish Claymores)
TE. Gerry Anderson, Darren Cooper, Adam Earle (all London Olympians)
OL. Barry Driver, Richard Barrett (both Birmingham Bulls), Dean Locke, Tony Hales (both London Olympians), Gerard Colquhoun, Don Edmonson (both Stirling Broncos)
DL. John Adams (East Kilbride Pirates), Matthew Barrett (Birmingham Bulls), David 'Farmer' Glover, Gary Thomas (both London Olympians), Tony McKenzie (London Monarchs), Kirby, James Dorman, Adi-Buer Puplampu (Bristol Aztecs)
LB. Booth, Ken Biggs, James Dougall (East Kilbride Pirates), Richard Draper (Leicester Panthers), Martin Fisher, Paul Newey (both Birmingham Bulls), Simon Newnham (London O’s), Mark Pagett
DB. Sonnell Baptiste, Rowelle Blenham,), Lance Knight, Scott Rowe, Jon Wyse, Ahmed Hashim (Birmingham Bulls (Staffordshire Surge)
P. Mark Cohen (Birmingham Bulls)
K. Jon Wyse (Staffordshire Surge)

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