Last weekend saw the cross-conference round for Division 2A hosting all teams from the North and South at Sandwell.
This round brought all the new-to-sevens teams together and was sponsored by Atlas Copco Bolting Solutions.
Division 2A Cross-Conference Tourney Recap
By Libby Davoren
Game 1: Chester Romans vs Cardiff Valkyries
Chester faced old friends from 5’s the Cardiff Valkyries, first. Cardiff are the underdog in this Division but they certainly came out to play against this Northern powerhouse!
Cardiff were first to put points up on a QB keeper, taking the lead early at 6-0. However, Chester’s defence started applying the pressure forcing a high snap out of the end zone for their first safety of the day. The Romans running back duo, Jo Craze and Helena Lasok-Smith, worked up the field, eventually getting the TD and extra point bringing Chester the lead at 9-6.
However Cardiff’s defence then recovered a fumble pretty much on their own goal line allowing their linebacker-turned-running back (for one round only) Zoe John to punch it in for another TD bringing the game to 12-9 to Cardiff. This game was a tasty one, each team taking turns to bring in the points.
Cardiff did a good job to contain the Romans receiving threat Natalie Kelly, however, Chester’s running backs proved too much for the Valkyries. Chester’s defence also took another four safeties from the game advancing their lead. Cardiff however never gave up and ended the game on a high with an incredible passing TD to the standout player of the day, WR Ruth Lewis.
FT Chester 29 – 24 Cardiff
Game 2: Sandwell Steelers vs Wembley Stallions
The Wembley Stallions already had one automatic win in the bag due to the Teesside Steelers being unable to field a team for the weekend. However the Sandwell Steelers certainly made them work for it on Saturday!
Sandwell came out the blocks firing with two rushing TDs from running backs Natalie Talbot and Jo Bennett. Followed by a safety from a physical defensive unit, the Steelers took the lead early at 15-0 to end the half.
The Stallions made some adjustments to try and evade the Steelers defence. They started to make some significant positive yards getting dangerously close to the end zone eventually sneaking in a couple of TDs. However with the Steelers offence firing on all cylinders, the game just ran away from them. QB superstar Sydney Green marched the Steelers down the field for the final TD of the day, smashing her way into the end zone.
FT Sandwell 27 – 12 Wembley
Game 3: Portsmouth Dreadnoughts vs Chester Romans
Portsmouth were also handed one automatic win as, regrettably, the Teesside Steelers had to withdraw. However, Portsmouth certainly went out to showcase their footballing talent in their remaining fixture with the Chester Romans. It was a physical game but ultimately Portsmouth came away with another tidy win. The standout performance of the day from their linebacker core of Georgia Teague, Nicole Percy and Emily Nice.
Chester, unfortunately, went into the game missing their tag team running back duo Jo Craze and Helena Lasok-Smith due to injury. With both missing from the backfield, it was a rocky start for Chester with their offence fumbling the ball and Portsmouth’s defence scooping it for the first TD of the game.
Chester’s defence then answered right back forcing a safety after a botched handoff. The Roman’s offence, however, struggled to get going for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, Portsmouth were methodical in getting down the field with two further touchdown’s and a pick-six taking a strong lead of 26-2 at halftime.
Chester managed to get a touchdown on the board with a QB sneak after a deep ball to Natalie Kelly set them up on the goal line. However, Portsmouth’s DBs held strong for the rest of the game, even ripping the ball out of Chester’s hands at one point to stop a catch.
With turnover after turnover for Chester, their defence was becoming visibly tired. Portsmouth were able to capitalise taking the final touchdown of the game, breaking tackles all the way to the end zone.
FT Portsmouth 32 – 9 Chester
Game 4: Cardiff Valkyries vs Sandwell Steelers
Cardiff faced old friends the Sandwell Steelers for their second fixture. The Steelers set the tone early on with a couple of rushing touchdowns from veteran RB Natalie Talbot.
However, Cardiff weren’t going to be taking this lightly. Standout WR Ruth Lewis was working the seams in the Sandwell defence like a pro. In the end Sandwell had to adjust to minimal double coverage on the wily wideout just to keep Ruth contained.
Sandwell’s physical defence were living up to expectations, racking up a safety followed shortly after with a pick from safety Alicia Marcella. The Steelers offence seemed unstoppable with TD after TD, however the steadfast Valkyries never gave up.
The Valkyries battled on in what was a seriously fantastic game to watch. Speedy QB Kira Walker worked the pocket amazingly despite huge pressure from the Sandwell D. A massive shout-out to Elleanor O’Connell for this one-handed grab that set Cardiff up for a TD late in the game too.
FT Sandwell 51 – 20 Cardiff
This weekend proved to be an offensive milestone for teams. Cardiff, after struggling in round one and ending the first weekend with 0 points, instead managed to put up 44 points this time around against some tough opponents!
Meanwhile, Sandwell’s offence were relentless rounding off the weekend with their first ever fifty burger – #NomNomNom.
Portsmouth are clearly the team to beat in this Division. However Sandwell have also stated their case as contenders for the title with two solid wins for this round. Nothing is set in stone at this point though. With round three this weekend and some competitive rematches, we can’t wait to see who edges out on top!