Northumberland Lightning American football team has had its application accepted to join the British National American Football National Leagues for the 2015 season.
The club, based at Ashington Rugby Club, is the first and only American football team based in Northumberland, and wears the county’s colours as its home uniform.
Formed in November 2012, the team started training in January 2013 with just 12 players initially. It was not until May 2013 that the club found its current home.
Lightning played two scrimmages in the 2013 season against Durham Saints and Walney Terriers. At this point the team boasted a squad of 30 players and seven qualified coaches.
After a difficult start to the 2014 season, the club began to flourish at the mid-point of the year and competed in three more scrimmages against Tynedale Fury, Durham Saints again and Carlisle Sentinels.
The club also competed in two games, one against Northumbria Mustangs and one against West Coast Trojans.
On December 16, the club was informed it would be playing in the Northern Football Conference Division II in the 2015 season.
Committee member Stuart Dick said: “We have been working towards this for the past two years and it is a great triumph for the club to be accepted into the National League. The euphoria of being accepted was clear to see when it was announced. We have 40 members currently on the books and, over the last two years, we have introduced the sport to more than 150 people in the Northumberland area.”
The club are hosting a free open rookie day for 16+ on Sunday, January 25, at 10am at Ashington Rugby Club. Anyone interested in getting involved as a player, coach, fan or volunteer is welcome. Confirm interest by email, chairman@northum berlandlightning.co.uk or via the Northumberland Lightning American football Facebook page or @North_Lightning on Twitter.