The 2019 U.K NFL Flag National Championships created many firsts:
Another not so well known first was that many of the children from a small school in North Wales, Ysgol Gwynedd, had never left their home county of Flintshire before, and what a first trip away from home this turned out to be!
Ysgol Gwynedd reached the final of the NFL Flag National Championship at Tottenham Stadium in July but lost 26-25 to Houghton Primary School, missing out on the chance to represent the UK at the 2020 NFL Flag Championships in Orlando, Florida. Hundreds of schools across the country had competed for the 12 spots available in the final.
Speaking to a local journalist at the Leader, Ysgol Gwynedd's PE coordinator and Year 5/6 teacher said: "We had an amazing experience which was better than any of us could ever have expected, and something the children will never forget.
"Florida was just a distant dream when we started training so we did really well to get that close while representing Flintshire and all of Wales. The team should be proud of themselves for showing that they are the second-best team in the UK.
"It was a surprise for us to perform like we did against teams who have been playing for years. We came so close, and at the end the difference was just a point after touchdown (PAT) which they made while we didn't, and time was against us from then.
"There were a lot of tears at the end but on the long trip home they started to realise just what they'd accomplished. It was the best experience we've ever had as a school."
The National Championship experience has created a buzz in Flintshire and is set to become one of the largest regions of the programme outside of London. The person responsible for first applying to bring the NFL Flag programme was Will Brooster, School and Community Sport Coordinator for Aura , an non-profit leisure and sports provider in Wales:
"Flag Football within Flintshire has started to grow since introducing the sport to local primary schools last year. With the first festival having 12 primary schools attending, we hope to have 20 primary schools attending for this year's festival. We have developed a community club which is linked with a local American Football Team and has currently 30+ members having attended over past 12 weeks. Over the next year, we hope to have Wrexham primary schools involved with Flag Football Club set up from the back of it and Flintshire (Romans) Flag Football Club games being arrange at half time of the Chester Romans Senior games over the course of the 2020 season."
The relationship built between the schools and American football club has created a new community hub providing further opportunities for young people to participate in sport.