While Tourney One saw teams from either side of the wall battle it out, the key matchups in this second straight week of balling were definitely the ‘local’ rivalry games, as the Pirates and Wolves competed to be top-Scots, and Manchester took on the Chargers on their home soil in something of a Roses showdown.
Division 1A North Tournament Two Recap
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While there were four games taking place in Leeds on Saturday, there’s no denying the major focus of all four teams, and fans of the 1A North, was on the first pair of fixtures.
In the ‘Scot-off’ the East Kilbride Pirates, yet to put their first notch in the win column since stepping up to sevens balling, were eager to kickstart their campaign after a tough opening round of fixtures.
And it looked like that just might happen, as they fought a highly competitive first half against an Edinburgh Wolves side that had bested them when the two sides met in 2017.
Back and forth scores from both Scottish outfits saw the scoreline climb steadily, before perhaps the Wolves’ postseason pedigree from last year shone through. With their impressive 5th place National Ranking, that same determination saw Wolves pulling clear as the game ground on, to eventually run out 34-19 victors.
Meanwhile, on the other pitch, two as-yet-undefeated programmes squared off in a fixture, that even this early in the series, will likely go a long way to determining the top spot in the North.
Boasting two of the larger rosters in the series, and each coming in relatively unscathed following comfortable double-wins for both teams in the opening weekend, this clash of the titans (pun intended) didn’t disappoint.
Both outfits found ways to put up points, but as the two teams sought out one another’s weak spots, it was the Chargers’ talent that rose to the fore.
Quarterback Lucy Peaty balled out – effectively accounting for 40 of the Chargers 41 points of offence with one TD pass alongside a whopping FIVE rushing scores – tacking on four PATS through the ground and air to boot!
The Titans put up a pair of scores of their own, finding flurries of offensive production, but unable to capitalise. Their O-line kept the rampant Chargers D somewhat in check – two Chargers combining in the backfield for only a single safety – compared to the ten safeties they’d piled up in the two fixtures prior to this!
Ultimately though it was round one to the Chargers, who’ll head to the cross-conference Tournament Three with great momentum, before they face the Titans once more in Tourney Four.
With the top two northern sides coming out of their bitter duel surprisingly intact considering the huge hits, the latter matchups of the day went much as they had in their first iteration in tourney one.
The two English sides are stacked with GB-Calibre talent, and this shone through as the Titans took on the Pirates, while the Chargers hosted the Wolves.
Perhaps playing with a chip on their shoulder following a disappointing loss to Leeds, the Titans came out balling and ultimately outmuscled the Pirates – putting in their second #50Burger performance of the series so far and taking a 53-2 win.
Across from them, the Chargers offence was putting on a show against the Wolves as GB Fullback Gaby Knops racked up the yards and scores with nearly 120 all-purpose yard and three TDs, alongside the ever-effective Lucy Peaty‘s four scores – two on the ground and two through the air.
Always eager to keep pace with their electric offence, the Chargers D responded in kind with a dozen points of their own during the fixture. Despite some tough balling from the Wolves offensive line Bo Steward was her usual wrecking-balling-self on the d-line, notching up two and a half safeties, alongside a fumble recovery for a score from Caroline Spencely to put an exclamation point on a highly successful day for the Chargers.
As much as there’s been some great battle so far this series for the Northern sides, perhaps their toughest tests will come in Tourney Three, in the cross-conference clashes hosted in Derby on 24 February.
While the South ran the regular series last year, might 2018 be the year of the North?