By Ryan Duff
Another big week of football with six games played last weekend. It was a week dominated by high score lines, with Blitz, the Lions and the Pirates all recording blowout victories, but tight contests between the Warriors & Seahawks and the Cougars & Stallions ensured this week was not without its drama.
Game of the Week: London Warriors Vs Solent Seahawks
The London Warriors handed the Seahawks their first loss of the season in a closely fought 26-20 home victory.
The game certainly started in the Warriors’ favour, with the opening kick returned for a Touchdown by Lewis Kirby. London’s high-octane air attack then kicked into gear, with QB Matthew John throwing three TDs on the day. Seydou Traore found the endzone twice before Kirby went over the top of GB defensive back Andrew Banda for his second score of the day to give the home side a formidable half time lead.
The Seahawks defence played strong throughout, in spite of what the relatively high score may suggest, forcing six turnovers on the day. CB Sam Gee, in particular, stood out with two interceptions and a forced fumble but Kieron Johnson also added another pick to his collection -which grew substantially during the BUCS season. The Solent offence, however, took until the fourth quarter to really kick into gear, mounting an unlikely comeback. Ultimately, the Seahawks ran out of time to complete what would have been an impressive result, and the Warriors hung on to a one-score victory.
With this game in the books, the Warriors climb to 2-1 as the Seahawks fall to .500 on the season. With the campaign still in its early days, both teams are still very much in the hunt, but this result may prove vital later in the season.
Cambridgeshire Cats Vs London Blitz
In an article opener I should probably have saved as a default by now, London Blitz put up another impressive performance to hang 50 points on another shutout victim.
The Blitz came into this week as clear favourites and did not disappoint; defeating the Cambridgeshire Cats 52-0. London put on another strong performance in all three phases of the game, with the defence keeping the Cats out of the endzone and the Offence putting up an almost unbelievably high score once again.
The Cats meanwhile continue to search for an elusive first win at the U19 level and will be disappointed with such a one-sided score. However, with a far smaller and less experienced squad, Cambridgeshire should not be too disheartened with a loss to such a strong London Blitz side.
SE Legion Vs Thames Valley Tigers
TVT claimed their first win as an organisation this week, with a 22-8 win over the all-new SE Legion.
The Tigers achieved a historic victory on Sunday, coming away with their first win in team history. Having scored just one Touchdown last season, Thames Valley bested that total in a single game, scoring three times against the Legion. WR Josh Winters, who stood out on the Swindon Storm youth team in previous seasons, gave the Tigers their first points of the season with a receiving Touchdown, before RB Keanan Tate and QB JP Osmond both ran in scores of their own, driving the final score up to 22. Defensively too the Tigers did well to limit the Legion to just one early score, with CB Chan Rock earning the team’s MVP award.
With their first win in the books, the Tigers will be happy to have the monkey off their backs and ameslook forward to an interesting game against the Cambridgeshire Cats in a few weeks’ time, but not before the Legion have the chance to play the same opposition in the search for their first win.
Wembley Stallions Vs Cobham Cougars
A rare sight this week as Wembley and Cobham ended their game in an astonishing 36-point tie.
A football game literally cannot get closer than this. After a full game of high scoring football, neither team could quite break the deadlock, with the final score 36-36. The game did not initially seem so evenly matched, as TD passes to Lukasz Smolen & Mikey Williams Alonga and a pick six from Nathaniel Roberts saw the Stallions race ahead to a 20-0 half time lead. As the Cougars made their comeback, Wembley continued to add to their tally with scores from Reese Williamson White and Smolen.
Ultimately, however, the Cougars made it back into the game, thanks in part to a standout performance from RB Bliss Ukueku who found the endzone twice, whilst also contributing to the pass rush on Defence. This was not quite enough to break the tie however, and the game ended in a bizarre 36 all draw.
East Kilbride Pirates Vs Yorkshire Academy Assassins
EKP continued their fine form with another statement victory against the Assassins, who return from their trip north of the border still without a win on the season.
The Pirates did not disappoint this week, putting on an offensive masterclass against the visiting Assassins. EKP leant on QB Scott McKigen throughout the game, throwing for three scores and sending deep passes to his receivers up and down the field. East Kilbride’s first TD came on a gutsy call, with a 35-yard pass from McKigen to Michael Patton on 4th and 25. This pass set the tone for the day, as McKigen would later find Callum Wilson and Guy Shafar in the endzone. With Jack Cochrane still out injured, the Pirates took a ‘backfield-by-committee’ approach. Greg & Matthew Black, along with Robbie MacGregor shared most of the load, with MacGregor finding the endzone twice. Despite another rushing Touchdown from Yorkshire QB Zak Thompson, there was little the Assassins could do against such a strong team, and this game ended in a blowout.
Birmingham Lions Vs Nottingham Caesars
The Lions seem to be back to the winning ways of two seasons ago, grabbing their second win of the season; this week planting a dagger in the Caesars in a one-sided 60-8 victory.
After beginning their season with a 29-11 win against the Tamworth Phoenix, the Nottingham Caesars would no doubt have been optimistic going into the rest of the season, but a 60-8 thrashing at the hands of the Birmingham Lions would not have helped that confidence at all. Managing just one TD on the day, the Caesars offence was not nearly as effective as it had been against Tamworth, with the Lion’s defence mostly suffocating the usually strong backfield tandem of Samuel Agbemadji and Niall Simpson. Conversely, the Lions Offence led by GB QB Nathan Lester had a more than effective day, ultimately putting up 60 points against their midland rivals.
Having improved to 2-0, the Lions will no doubt have the success of two seasons ago at the back of their minds. With an undefeated regular season -then in the southern division- the Lions eventually lost to the eventual champions in the Semi-Finals. There still however remains much of the season ahead, and with teams like the Wildcats, Pirates and Titans in the division, even getting that far again appears to be a daunting task.