Grangemouth Broncos will be in Germany this weekend competing in the biggest Flag Football tournament in Europe.
Big Bowl, run by the Walldorf Wanderers, attracts sides from all over the world. With top teams from the likes of the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Russia, Spain, USA and Venezuela.
This will be the Grangemouth club’s second outing to Big Bowl. Last year they were in a good position to reach the top bracket on day two when injury to key players Fraser Thomson and Kevin Woods curtailed their progress, losing to London Smoke to miss out on qualifying.
The Broncos, based in Whitecross, won two of their three matches on day two to take them to 26th, a decent finish in the circumstances.
This year the Grangemouth team will likely have to work hard to emulate last year’s finish. In their group they have some tough opponents. Allerod Armadillos (Denmark) are one of the best teams in Europe and generally finish in the top places in whatever contest they enter. Valencia Firebats (Spain) were semi-finalists at Champions Bowl (the equivalent of football’s Champions League) last year. If the Broncos want to be in the top bracket, they are going to have to beat one of those two teams.
Also in the group are English teams Nuola’s “Nucorp Alliance”. the Stormers and the ILM Roosters (Germany) who came 37th in last year’s tournament, so may struggle again this year.
The Broncos will feature some players returning to the Big Bowl arena. Matthew Ross, who started playing flag at Larbert High School has become a regular starter as well as defender Joe McIlwaine.
Scott McKenzie at quarter-back has become one of the best in the UK and his experience will be vital to the team’s performances. Liam Fleming has been to Big Bowl most, having travelled with the Scotland team previously. Jimmy Thomson has been playing American Football since before any of his team-mates were born.
Also joining them are John Heron, Euan MacLean, Luke Morrice and Ally Murdie. Brothers Callum and Kevin Woods miss out, while coach Fraser Thomson is still injured.
The Broncos hope to be able to keep fans up to date with their progress through Facebook.