The top mixed and female teams from around Europe descended upon the fantastic facilities at Cambrils Park Sport Village in sunny Spain for the ninth edition of the Champions Bowl!
Champions Bowl is unique in its format, in that its by invitation only. Generally top/top 2 teams from each nation are invited to represent their league! 12 Mens teams, from 8 different countries, and 8 Ladies teams from 5 nations all took part in one of the highlights of the flag football calendar! Here’s how the action unfolded!
We had two favourites for this group, as we couldn’t see past the Foxes 82 and Coventry Cougars. Both teams were no strangers to international competition, and their experience would surely help them – and we weren’t wrong! After the group stages, the Foxes sat pretty on 6-1, but had injuries to worry about going into the knockout stages. The Pink Elephants from Italy, and the Cougars both sat at 5-2, while the strong Vienna Constables made up our final 4!
The Cougars managed to avenge their group stage loss to the Pink Elephants, winning 27-12! The Foxes 82 flexed their championship credentials with a resounding 32-12 over the Constables, avenging their previous loss to the Vienna side in the group stages. With that, we had a final between the favourites!
As expected, it was another close contest, but the Foxes 82 managed to do the double over the Cougars, winning by 7 points in a 27-20 epic! The player of the tournament was the excellent Emma Garcia!
The Mens competition was a far less straight forward affair. With a number of tournament wins under their belt, and with members of the squad putting in strong shifts at Pink Bowl for Team Germany, we expected the Walldorf Wanderers to be in the mix for the trophy. Meanwhile, the defending champion Sollerod Gold Diggers would need to dig deep (sorry) with a patchwork squad for the weekend – however they were more than capable. The Herlev Rebels were not to be discounted either, as their victory over SGD in the 2017 Danish League finals earned them their trip to Spain! Sphinx De Pau were also a force to be reckoned with, as they returned to the competition after missing last season.
In the group stages, the Gold Diggers made life tough for themselves, losing early contests to the Baker Street Buttonhookers and Sphinx De Pau. They overcame the Firebirds, Blackbirds and Lizzards to progress to the quarter finals. Sphinx De Pau went a perfect 5-0 in group play.
In the other group, the Wanderers and Rebels both finished 4-1, with the Wanderers finishing top after beating the Rebels. A shock quarter-final loss to the Firebats sent the Wanderers home early, while the Rebels powered past the Buttonhookers 40-18.
Sphinx De Pau did start to show the rigours of the tournament in the knockout phases however, as they squeaked past the Constables by a score in the quarters, but lost in the dying seconds to the Herlev Rebels in the semis. Meanwhile SGD’s championship credentials were on full display as they powered towards the final, beating the Firebats comfortably to set up an all-Danish final!
The final, between two familiar sides, was another tight affair. The Rebels dominated the early proceedings, but two scores from the Gold Diggers kept them within a score going into the half. While the SGD defence stiffened in the second half, and gave their offence the ball with a minute to go, they couldn’t punch it in, and the Rebels held on for a huge victory! SGD did especially well to get this far with only 6 players due to injuries, but you can’t take anything away from another incredible achievement for the Herlev squad! The imperious Jonas Bo Hansen of the Gold Diggers earned himself MVP!
Congratulations to all teams involved in this excellent weekend of football! We can’t wait for what we’re sure will be a special 10th edition of Champions Bowl! The final rankings for the tournament are below! All images are courtesy of Champions Bowl 2018.