The Algarve Pirates got a bit of a bashing on Saturday (8 March) near Alcantarilha in the Western Algarve at the hands of the Maximinos Warriors, who had travelled from Braga in northern Portugal.
No, it’s not civil war in Portugal – it’s American Football which is fast gaining popularity here in the sunshine.
Thanks to a post in the excellent Algarve Daily News, the essential English online daily publication that keeps expats in touch with Algarvian news and events, we discovered that the Algarve’s recently formed grid iron team were playing this afternoon at the Amendoeira Resort, so we toddled along. It was totally free of charge and a turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining afternoon in the sunshine.
The only downside was that the Pirates got to walk the plank with a score which I reckoned to be 34-6, although there were a number of different scorelines according to members of the crowd of about 100 people.
Don’t be put off by the disappointingly small crowd – this was thoroughly entertaining stuff. The commitment of the two teams and the noisy enthusiasm of the crowd would put most larger sporting occasions to shame.
It’s a rough game and unfortunately the Pirates’ Wide Receiver, apparently a key member of the team, was stretchered off and taken by our long suffering Bombeiros to the local hospital.
It is 30 years since I last attended American Football games, watching the London Monarchs at Wembley, and I was rusty on the rules and the scoring, but this is a game which is at least as enjoyable as rugby and, in my view, more tactical. Sadly on my two visits to the USA there were no games in my vicinity – I’d love to watch a top class game live.
On occasions I lost sight of the ball in the mass of heavily armoured bodies – and so did the players!!
The visitors showed that they had been playing together for longer than the Pirates, as the scoreline suggests, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd, especially when the home team managed an impressive attack.
The Pirates (in black) did manage one or two good attacks…
…but the Warriors were no slouches as their kicker showed…
More pictures here including attractions on and off the field: