When Carlisle Sentinels left the British American Football Association (BAFA) National League last year, it looked like it may be the end for ‘Gridiron’ in the city.

But head coach Paul Brady was determined to keep the sport alive, and as such, took the team back to its roots, re-branding it as the Carlisle Kestrels - the club’s original name when it initially formed in 1987.

Last year’s withdrawal, brought about by a number of mitigating circumstances, saw the club revert to Associate level for 2020 - effectively starting again from the ground up.

“The plan is to begin by building the squad and developing the players,” said Paul Brady, head coach of the Kestrels.

“We will probably have only three or four games and maybe a couple of joint training sessions.

“However, the plan is quite fluid and, if the year develops better than we initially hope, we could look to add some extra games and try to get back into the league this year.”

Regaining league status after just a year away would be quite an achievement, and Brady hopes going back to its original name will help give the club a real identity in the city.

“It always amazes me that, despite having a team for over 30 years, most people are unaware that there is American football in Carlisle,” admitted Brady.

“One of our biggest hurdles is increasing the team’s exposure.”

“We desperately want there to be a team in Carlisle and it was decided that part of starting again needed to be a re-brand.

“We wanted to be Cumbria, but BAFA have changed their rules and no longer allow regional names. As soon as we knew it had to be Carlisle, Kestrels just seemed the obvious choice.”

The team - also looking for sponsors - will again be using Gillford Park as their home, and training sessions start this Sunday from 1pm-3pm, and are open to all, something Paul was quick to point out.

“While we would welcome anyone with previous playing experience, we understand that most people in this area won’t have that,” he said.

“That shouldn’t deter anyone from coming down.”

You can find out more about the Carlisle Kestrels via their Facebook page.