Swansea Hammerheads

Our November Club of the Month takes us to Wales and we profile our first ever Welsh team. Swansea Hammerheads may have only been going for a year but are already growing in number and ready to take on their first BAFA competition. Read more from player and head coach Paul Labbatt about the Hammerheads.

  • When was your club formed, where and by who?

The club was formed by Matt Ward in the Autumn of 2016.  The first players were Andrew Cooper and Thomas Astley. These pioneers were joined by current players Paul Labbett, Harley Labbett and Tom Whayman for some very muddy practice sessions in Upper Killay, Swansea. Andrew Cooper, Thomas Astley, Paul Labbett and Tom Whayman had all played contact football before. Harley particularly grew up on a diet of NFL. After initially coming to watch Paul joined in the practice and has eventually become a player and Head Coach.

Early practice in Killay featuring current players Andrew Cooper, Paul Labbett, Harley Labbett and Tom Whayman. Photo credit Matt Ward

  • What teams do you currently have?

We currently run an Adult Flag team which we have registered for BAFA in 2018.  This is for 16+ though we have 4 U17 players at the moment. Should we get more we may explore the opportunity of playing a few U17 friendlies. However, we are a little too far away from the current U17 BAFA league teams to join the league.

  • Where and when do you train?

We train on the Rec on Swansea seafront (alongside the rugby/cricket ground St. Helens). We train on Sundays between 3-5pm.

  • What are your plans for the next twelve months?

In the next 12 months we will be playing in the Macron South West Series (information on Facebook 2017/18 Macron South West Series). The schedule is 4th November Buccs host (Falcons bye), 18th November Hammerheads host (Buccs bye), 2nd December Bolts host (Hammerheads bye), 27th January Lions host (Hurricanes bye), 10th February Hurricanes host (Bolts bye), 24th February Falcons host (Lions bye). We will also be playing in the BAFA National Flag League in the 2018 season.

  • Why should people get into American Football?

People should get into Flag Football because it’s a game for all shapes, sizes and ages. We currently have players from 16 – 51. We have male and female players. We all get together on a Sunday, play a bit of flag and enjoy football.

  • What would you consider the clubs greatest achievement?

The club is very new so our greatest achievement is going from a rag-tag group with no flag experience to forming a team in less than a year. We have managed to beat another fledgling team in the Cynon Valley Celts who had a number of experienced flag players. They have gone on to perform creditably in the recent Outlaw league and to date are in front in our head-to-head.

A flying Yomi Foyer looking like he’s about to pancake Dale Davies
of Cynon Valley Celts (he didn’t land on him!) Photo credit Damien Prosser Photography

  • Do you have any players and coaches of note – past or present?

We’ve only just formed so that’s a difficult call. However, in our early matches we have had Sim Stoodley playing. He has just moved away to a new job in Oxford after getting a first at Swansea University. He finished the season with the Swansea University Titans and then brought his upbeat attitude to help propel us through our early matches. He was also a fabulous receiver and safety. Another player of note is Tom Astley, QB of the Swansea Titans, who steered us to victory in our first game. He also passed on his knowledge to our current QB, Harley Labbett, adding much needed experience to our young team.

  • Why should people join Swansea Hammerheads?

People should get involved with the Hammerheads if they like football. It doesn’t need to be as a player. Anyone that can help including refereeing, taking statistics, photography, coaching and generally supporting will find a home. We keep our training sessions fairly light-hearted and the emphasis is on having fun playing football. We check with the team after each session what could have gone better, did they enjoy it or ideas for the following week. We then weave this in to our overarching coaching plan.

Harley and Paul Labbett in another early friendly against Cynon Valley Celts. Photo Credit Vanessa Hammond

  • What would be your favourite football moment ever – either domestic or international?

Favourite moment was watching my beloved Vikings at Wembley. All Day (Adrian Peterson) hit the hole in the line and then was gone. As he ran towards us we went nuts knowing he was never going to get caught. Awesome running-back.  Being a Viking fan there’s not so much to cheer.  Founder and Club Chairman Matt would mention some Patriots moment; but I’m the one answering here!

  • Please sum up your club in 25 words or less!

Fledgling flag football team in West Wales seeks others interested in non/low-contact gridiron for catching, blitzing, running, road trips, and excitement. Bring own boots.

  • Can you provide contact details for people wishing to join the club

We’re on Facebook as Swansea Hammerheads and can be contacted on hammerheadsfootballuk@gmail.com.