Northumberland Lightning American football team join national league set-up

The  Northumberland Lightning American football team in a huddle.
The Northumberland Lightning American football team in a huddle.

An American football team based in Ashington have had their application to join a national league accepted.

Northumberland Lightning, who are based at Ashington Rugby Club, will take part in the British National American Football National Leagues for the 2015 season.

Northumberland Lightning Rookie Day.

Northumberland Lightning Rookie Day.

The club, based at Ashington Rugby Club, is the first and only American football team based in the county and wear its colours of red and yellow as the home uniform.

Formed in November 2012, the team started training in January 2013 with just 12 players involved initially.

It was not until May 2013 that the club found its home when terms were agreed with Ashington Rugby Club.

The club played two scrimmages in the 2013 season against the Durham Saints and Walney Terriers, at which point they 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 the Tynedale Fury, Durham Saints again and the Carlisle Sentinels.

Alongside the scrimmages, the club competed in two games, one against the Northumbria Mustangs and one against the West Coast Trojans.

Now the club has been informed they will 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.”

In preparation for the 2015 season, the club will be hosting a free open rookie day for those aged 16 and over on Sunday, January 25, at 10am, at Ashington Rugby Club.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the club, whether it be as a player, coach, fan or volunteer, is welcome to attend.