After a rousing start to the series last weekend, this week was no different, with Birmingham Lions further cementing their lead at the top of the conference. The London Warriors, however, are biting at their heels, a mere two points behind. Hertfordshire Tornadoes put in a gallant effort, whilst this week it was Derby Braves who were plagued by injuries.
Division 1A South Tournament Two Recap
By Claudie Allan
The second round started with Herts versus Birmingham and London versus Derby.
Hertfordshire Tornadoes went into this tournament without their starting QB, who was unfortunately injured the week before, and were also lacking offensive powerhouse Jess Anderson.
That being said, despite being dwarfed by the Lions roster, they performed to their best – with Oli Davies stepping up to score their only touchdown against a swarming Lions defence – bolstered by the return of stars Phoebe Schecter and Nancy Stone, contributing to a D that added two pick sixes to the Lions’ impressive tally of points.
Highly effective play from the Lions’ O line created flawless holes for their rookie running back, Ashleigh “Mash” Aiston, to slice her way through – one of eleven rookies having an impact for the deep Lions roster during the day of balling.
The Tornadoes scored two safeties to add to their touchdown, but ultimately the Lions’ proved just too much for their depleted team.
Final Score: Birmingham Lions 61 – 11 Hertfordshire Tornadoes
Meanwhile, the Derby Braves took on London Warriors for the second time in two weeks, with a very similar result.
The Warriors were back to almost full strength, although they were lacking certain, potentially key, members of their offence. Sarah-Shay “Shay” Okelola stood out as being a beast on both sides of the ball, with three touchdowns, and a sack to her name over the tournament.
The Braves put up a strong fight, with their defence holding the Warriors to just two touchdowns. Ultimately though, it wasn’t enough, and they started their weekend on a loss.
Final Score: London Warriors 15 – 6 Derby Braves
Despite having a good deal of high-quality players, Hertfordshire were running with a depleted roster on Saturday – likely not helped by the short turnaround between round one and round two.
After their hefty loss against Birmingham, the Tornadoes had to face local rivals, the London Warriors (well, as local as you can get in this conference).
Despite exchanging wins with the Warriors last season, Herts couldn’t find a victory on Saturday – though there’s still plenty of balling ahead of them to get healthy.
Hertfordshire scored themselves a single touchdown, but failed to convert it – the Warriors’ highly aggressive defence stifling the depleted Herts O. Meanwhile, the Warriors took advantage of so much time on the football to rack up points – winning the battles in the trenches as Vanessa Mansaray and the London o-line busted huge holes.
Final Score: London Warriors 35 – 6 Hertfordshire Tornadoes.
The final game of the day saw Derby take on the still undefeated Lions. Four fixtures in such a short time frame was beginning to take its toll and as such this one ended up being cut short due to safety concerns – the Braves lacking enough lineman to play out the fixture.
The first half was very stop-start, with both teams taking a knee whilst the physio tended to repeated injuries in a hard-hitting opening few minutes.
Even in just over half a game, Birmingham were still able to find ways to put up points – the Lions o line once again showed what they were made of, providing perfect lanes for their running backs. The Braves displayed impressive tackling, but former GB player, Antoinette Morgan just kept running, driving the Lions forwards no matter how many Braves tried to take her down.
The Lions scored to open the second half, Jo Kilby connecting with rookie wideout Jess Hastings for the third and final score of the game – the Braves forced to throw in the towel with about seven minutes left on the clock due to a lack of fighting fit line.
Final Score: Birmingham Lions 18 – 0 Derby Braves
Despite not having won a game yet, Derby are putting up a good fight against everyone they face. With a home tournament up next, and a chance to play someone different, the Braves are sure to be itching for a win. Hertfordshire are sure to be disappointed with their way their season is turning out, but hopefully with the break next week, they will be back on form for the Cross-conference tournament at the end of the month. The London Warriors have understandably high expectations of themselves, which they met with two solid wins, and that’s a mentality that will carry them well through this season. Birmingham will be looking to protect their spot at the top from those who would want to take it from them.