Tournament Report | BAFA NL ’19 – U17 South T4


On 8 June, the Hertfordshire Cheetahs U16s played host to the Farnham Knights and Poole Dolphins. The Berkshire Renegades were also scheduled to play, but unfortunately, had to pull out due to many players putting in last-minute GCSE revision. The day started off wet and overcast, but luckily the skies cleared for game time, where the home side took on the Dolphins first.

The visiting squad won the coin toss and elected to go on offense first. The Cheetah defense was stout – only allowing for a few positive yards before forcing a turnover on downs. The Cheetah offense took over – QB Sonny Hack moving the team efficiently down the field to a touchdown by Charlie Barnett (keyed by a devastating Hack block) in just three plays. After a failed conversion, the Dolphins took over again and had similar lack of success moving the ball to put the ball back in the hands of the Cheetah offense after four plays. A tough run by WR Ewan Macdonald for a first down allowed for an Alex Niciou 14-yard touchdown scamper up the middle. This time, the conversion was a success and the home side were up 13-0. The Dolphins took over again and this time were able to move the ball onto the Cheetah side of the pitch, but solid tackles by corner Bryn Mendes-Lewis and linebacker Jack Wiseman stopped the Dolphins before the end zone. With time running out in the half, the home squad took over and found success on a 40+ yard bomb from Hack finding a wide-open Macdonald streaking down the sideline, hitting him in stride for another score. After another successful conversion, the first half ended 20-0.

The Cheetah offense took over to start the second half, and after a few uncharacteristic penalties, the story was much the same. Four tough runs by Olly Murat, the last being a 27-yard burst up the middle for the score and a conversion by Barnett made the score 27-0. After initial good run by the young Poole running back, the Cheetah defense held firm to force another turnover on downs. Two plays later, Macdonald found pay dirt on a 31 yard end around and Niciouconverted to make it 34-0. Poole took over again, but found no success, with the big play coming on a sack from defensive tackle Jack Byrne, whose pressure played havoc with the Dolphin QB all game. The Cheetahs took over again, scoring after Murat broke three tackles for a long run before a Dolphin defender was able to knock the ball loose where it bounced right into Barnett’s hands, who took the ball the last ten yards for the score. A conversion from Hack to receiver Cole Braddon made the tally 41-0. The defense again forced a turnover on downs after four plays. The Cheetah offense was back on the field with rookie QB Luca Cook taking the ball. After a few plays, the game ended, with the final score 41-0.

Cheetahs defence close in on Dolphins (c) Mark Long

After a break, during which the Dolphins took on the Farnham Knights (where the Knights came away with a closely fought 24-6 victory), the Cheetahs were up against the Knights. Again, the visitors won the toss, but this time elected to go on defense first. The Cheetah offense started up right where they left off, with Hack moving the ball in six plays to the end zone on a reverse finished by receiver Taylor Bloor. The conversion fell short. The Knights took over and while they were able to drive for the first down, were not able to move from just over halfway due to continued success from Wiseman, Byrne and Mendes-Lewis (despite letting an easy interception go through his arms), with rookie CB Max Nissim leaping to bat down a deep ball that looked bound for the end zone. The Cheetah offense took over and was immediately effective – scoring on three plays on runs from Murat and a touchdown pass from Hack to Macdonald. The two-point conversion was this time successful, with Bloor finding the goal-line just before being pushed out of bounds to make it 14-0. The Farnham side took over to try and get on the board themselves, but their first snap sailed over the head of their quarterback and out of the back of the end zone for a two-point safety – also giving the ball back to the Cheetah offense. Another possession with the same outcome, the home side ruthlessly marched down the field before Niciou put the ball over the line on a weak-side sweep from ten yards out. The conversion was made good by substitute center Ivan Ginelli on a short reception. The score was now 23-0. The Farnham offense ran into a Cheetah defensive wall on their next possession; they were unable to secure the first down. With the first half coming to a close, the Cheetah’s offense looked to repeat their success from the first game but just missed when a Hack throw sailed over Barnett’s outstretched hands.

Read the rest of the Cheetahs’ Tournament recap over at




Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1