It was a weekend of high scoring affairs as both the Hertfordshire Cheetahs and Thames Valley Tigers recorded their first 50-burgers in team history and two presumed playoff contenders in the North faced off to see whose undefeated record would last the week.
Game of the Week: East Kilbride Pirates Vs Manchester Titans
The East Kilbride Pirates got revenge for last season’s overtime playoff loss, outscoring the Manchester Titans 24-7 to stay undefeated in 2019.
The Pirates fought back from 7-0 down with 24 unanswered points to keep their undefeated streak alive. QB Scott McKigen continued his impressive run as full time starter, throwing for two touchdowns in the win; hitting both Christian Rubuga and favourite target, Michael Patton for scores, whilst the Pirates’ backfield-by-committee approach again stepped up as Rory Hutton found the endzone before halftime. EKPs defence also stepped up against a usually free scoring offensive unit, with a fumble recovery from DE Ben Hewitt in the first quarter setting the tone for the rest of the game.
The Titans started the game in promising fashion, with Ben Miles finding Max Gracie-Ainscough for six points on just the third play from scrimmage, but from there on out, the Titans could do little against a stout East Kilbride defence.
Now 4-0, EKP once again appear dominant atop Division 1 North with just two games remaining in the season. The Titans meanwhile, now halfway through the season, will hope to swiftly bounce back from their first slip up of the year as they face the Yorkshire Academy Assassins on Sunday.
Cobham Cougars Vs Hertfordshire Cheetahs
The Cheetahs finally played their second game of the season and took advantage, hanging 53 points on the Cobham Cougars.
It was another game, another shutout for the Cheetahs as they annihilated the Cougars 53-0. QB Liam McGovern threw three touchdowns in the win, hitting Jack Stodel on an early screen pass before finding Jay Stewart-Sinclair and Josh Miller-Hall to extend Hertfordshire’s lead. The backfield duo of Luke McCorkindale and Kamil Durak proved unstoppable, with both recording multiple scores, including a 55-yard scamper from McCorkindale.
With such a dominant performance on both sides of the ball, the Cheetahs proved they haven’t dropped off in their five weeks without a game, and go into the rest of a heavily backloaded season with high hopes of repeating last year’s playoff performance.
Thames Valley Tigers Vs Cambridgeshire Cats
The Tigers built upon their first ever win against the Southeast Legion with an impressive shutout against the Cambridgeshire Cats, defeating the visitors 52-0.
TVT’s dominant run game proved vital in a strong full team performance in Swindon. RB Luke Collins and QB JP Osmond both found the endzone on the ground, but it was Keanan Tate who again stole the show, rushing for two touchdowns, and adding a third on special teams as he returned a punt to the house. Thames Valley’s defence also stepped up with DBs Ted Mercer and Sam Blunden both recording picks as the unit pitched their first shutout in team history.
Following this dominant performance, TVT boast a winning record for the first time ever as they head into the second half of their season. Cambridgeshire meanwhile still sit winless at the bottom of the division, still searching for that elusive first victory.