Pekka Lylyharju

Diamond Bowl: Afterthoughts

The tight scheduled tournament is over. With six 2 x 12 min. games and 4 x 12 min. final, there were plenty of games to watch and a lot of good American football. What do we know after the dust has settled?

Birmingham Lions was the best team of the tournament without any arguments. They also had the best athlete of the tournament. RB Ruth Matta is fast, finds the gaps and is almost unstoppable in open field. They could travel home with the Diamond Bowl trophy knowing they can play 11 vs. 11, although normally playing 7 vs. 7 in Britain.

St. Petersburg Valkyries improved their game the most during tournament. After clear loss against Lions in first game, they forced Lions to give their best to win the final. RB Daria Briukhovetskaya proved to be a dangerous kick-off returner as well as dangerous running back. They still have a lot to improve on onside kicks and punt returns.

Tampere Saints Ladies had the largest roster coming to tournament. Their defense was solid and without a couple of poor field positions to start their defensive drive, the numbers against Birmingham Lions could have been much better. Saints offense has potential, but there is still a lot to do before Women’s Maple League starts.

For the host team Helsinki Roosters Women, the tournament raised many questions. Like Saints, Roosters defense looked good from the beginning of the tournament, but in offense (although they were the only team to score against Lions before final) there is still work to do before season starts. With already some key players being aside, more players headed to sick bay during weekend forcing the team to withdraw from bronze game. But those who were able to play played hard to the end. And in bright side, many younger player, rookies and less experienced players got plenty of play time and valuable real game experience to take with to Women’s Maple League.

And for Helsinki Roosters as an American Football Club? The tournament showed that Roosters is capable of arranging a tight scheduled international venue without major hiccups.

Pekka Lylyharju

A long time American football and Helsinki Roosters fan, who after strange coincidences have found himself writing for the Roosters.