Lionscreed Lionesses become first women’s team to qualify for UKEL

Lionscreed Lionesses

Left to right: Coach Pew Bakura, ADC DejaVoo, top-laner GertrudeThePony and support player Charlotte

The Lionscreed Lionesses, the women’s League of Legends team of UK esports organisation Lionscreed, have qualified for the UKEL.

They beat Rize 2-0 in the lower bracket of the UKEL 4 Nations Open Qualifier this week, and are now one of 12 remaining teams in the qualifiers. They’re also the first women’s team to qualify for the UKEL.

The top four teams from the qualifiers will reach Division 1 of the UK Esports League (UKEL), while the next eight will head to Division 2.

However, because Lionscreed’s first team are already in Division 1 (along with Ruddy Esports, DMG Esports and Belfast Storm), the Lionesses wouldn’t be able to also play in Division 1.

The Lionscreed Lionesses had two subs for this week, because their full roster was not available for a couple of the UKEL days, so Panda and Yusa (male players not related to the female team) helped out.

The Lionesses women’s roster currently features top-laner GertrudeThePony, mid-laner Piiiia, ADC DejaVoo and support player Charlotte, with the jungler to be announced soon. Their coach is Pew Bakura.

Other teams still in the qualifiers include NXT, Paragon, Tempest Gaming and Arcadeia, the latter of which features some UK League OGs such as TeaTime and Brixton. You can see more on the UKEL 4 Nations open qualifiers 2023 Liquipedia page.

The news comes just over a month after it was announced that the UKEL, a UK League of Legends national league, would be returning some two years after it was shut down, following Freaks 4U’s appointment as operator of the Northern Europe NLC in August 2021.

The UKEL 4 Nations regular season will start on September 18th 2023.

Interview with UK Lionscreed Lionesses top-laner Laura ‘GertrudeThePony’ Riches on reaching UKEL Division 2

gertrudethepony lionscreed lionesses

Congrats on qualifying for the 4 Nations Division 2! How does it feel to be a part of the first women’s team to play in the UKEL?

I’m super excited to play in the UKEL with my team. Whilst on a personal level I don’t feel a significant difference between playing in the UKEL and any female tournament, I certainly recognise that it’s important for us to show we can compete and perform in the context of the mixed scene.

I think there’s a lot of talented females who still feel somewhat anxious about potential discrimination in these mixed tournaments, and I’d like to think us competing in the UKEL might help to prove there is no need for such fear.

What was it like taking part in the qualifiers, can you reflect on your performances?

I think we got off to a bit of a shaky start in the qualifiers – maybe a combination of pressure and unfamiliarity with our roster since we were using two subs. Personally, I think I could’ve played a lot more proactively, I just didn’t want to be the reason we lost and didn’t make it through qualifiers.

However, despite our start I think the team really pulled together and worked it out. In particular I think it was our focus on communication and ability to adapt to how we play with different players that secured us our victory over Rize to qualify.

“I think there’s a lot of talented females who still feel somewhat anxious about potential discrimination in these mixed tournaments, and I’d like to think us competing in the UKEL might help to prove there is no need for such fear.”

GertrudeThePony, Lionscreed Lionesses

Yusa and Panda stepped in as subs this week, will the full women’s team be available for Div 2?

The full woman’s team will be available! Our ADC, DejaVoo, was just away for the week of UKEL (imagine having a social life) and as for our jungle, well, she’s a secret for now…

Please tell us about your competitive background.

I started playing top-lane around three years ago when I was filled in the first split of Women and Non-Binary NUEL UK university tournament. I really enjoyed these tournaments and actually met my support, Charlotte, in the first split since we were randomly assigned to the same team!

After a year of playing and reaching high Diamond, I trialled for a couple female teams before landing myself on a roster for Rising Stars 2022 (a roster which included DejaVoo). We finished in the top eight and I was really proud we had such a good showing in my first ever comp tournament.

The team disbanded, but I stayed in contact with Deja. Eventually, her, Charlotte and I became subs for the NLC Div 3 Team Fourth Wall; I even got to play my NLC debut despite my sub position.

And finally that leads us to my spot on Lionscreed Lionesses, with Deja, Charlotte, Pia and *insert jungle here*. We have played in Pathfinders, NLC Div 3 and will now be playing in UKEL as well. Overall my journey seems to have been a happy little accident.

The Lionscreed Lionesses have also qualified for the Pathfinders tournament this year

Thanks for the interview and good luck in Division 2!

Related article: Foxdrop joins Lionscreed as UK esports organisation sign six-figure partnership with Plutus, announce education initiative

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