Jayne Meadows: One Woman, One Year, Three European Championships

Representing your country is a huge honour, no matter what sport you’re competing in, but competing at three European Championships in two of the most intense sports in the world is one hell of an achievement.

And that’s exactly what 2019 had in store for Wandsworth Demon Jayne Meadows. After helping the England Vixens to second-place in the Euro Cup and the Great Britain American football side to a third place in the IFAF Women’s European Championships, she now turns her attention to the Australian equivalent in London this October.

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“Playing American football has taught me to adapt and switch on at short notice,” said Meadows. “It has also taught me to have short term memory, it doesn’t matter what happened a minute ago just focus on the next job.”

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After coming fourth at the World Championships in Canada two years ago, Great Britain’s American football side faced off against Finland, Sweden and Austria with three games in the space of a week.

Heading into the final match against Finland, Great Britain needed to win by five points to secure the title. Great Britain did enough to secure victory, but an 18-14 scoreline saw reigning champions Finland secure their second successive title

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Meadows, who also plays rugby, is in her fifth year with the GB American football squad but will be making her competitive debut with the Great Britain Swans come October. She says she first got into football after a rugby coach recommended that she give it a go.

“She told me her team trained on Wandsworth common, so towards the end of the rugby season, I looked it up and went down to my first training session with the Wandsworth Demons! I absolutely loved it and never looked back.

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“It wasn’t until a few months later that I had actually joined the wrong team! Turns out the coach meant for me to go down to Wimbledon Hawks who also train on the common over summer!

A linebacker in American football, Meadows plays as a forward for the Demons. The side made it to the Women’s Premiership Grand Final this year, missing out to the North London Lions.

“It was amazing for the Demons to make it to the final and the game was ridiculously close. I think it shows how far teams in the London league are coming and the standard of football being played is getting better each season.”

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Several other Demons teammates have made the squad, and Meadows expects the support aspect will play a big role.

“It is amazing to have your fellow teammates there to support you; there is a sense of comfort when you’re playing alongside some you know well.”

Meadows also played a role in England’s success in the 2019 Euro Cup, falling at the hands of Ireland in the Grand Final.

“Like having some of the demons with me it will be great to have fellow Vixens on this journey as well. We worked hard in the Euro Cup and got to know each other’s strengths and how to play off each other.

“The game works and flows better when we are having those little conversations between us and it makes it a lot easier when you already have that trust there. With a number of our leadership group having played previous international games we hope to bring a sense of calm and level-headedness when needed.”

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With a second-place at the 2019 Euro Cup and a third-place at the IFAF Women’s European Championships, Meadows will be hoping to secure gold at the European Championships in London this October.

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