With the first week of Under 19 Britball fixtures under our belt, we will look over the past weekend’s fixtures!
Manchester Titans vs Chester Romans
By Ryan Duff
The fight for the North kicked off this week as the Chester Romans travelled to Manchester to face the Titans. Following a 40-0 thrashing last season, the Romans looked to reclaim their dignity against their local rivals, whilst a strong Manchester side sought to reassert their dominance to begin the season. In what was for the most part a defensive battle, the Titans pulled away in the second half to take a much closer 14-6 victory.
The game began very much in favour of the visitors, with RB Sam White taking a handoff 60 yards to the house on only the second play from scrimmage, giving the Romans an early 6-0 lead. Despite a promising opening drive, featuring a chunk play from Rueben Quinn Jr., a Samir Patel fumble recovery inside the ten-yard line gave possession back to the Chester Offense.
From here on out, however, the Manchester defense tightened up, with sacks from Vonte Glinton, Freddie Loach and Greg Morgan quickly stifling the ensuing Romans drive, and the unit collectively holding Chester to -8 rushing yards following the opening touchdown. Glinton had a game to remember, putting up 3 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss, leaving the usually effective Romans offense spinning their wheels for the remainder of the game.
Into the second half, the Titans echoed the Roman’s opening drive, with Tom Jones bursting out on an 82 yard touchdown run, and the successful kick giving the home side a narrow one point lead. Chester QB Sid Wright attempted to pilot a quick comeback, with two impactful scrambles and a 30 yard pass to Liam Coxon extending a valiant drive. This drive however ultimately proved ill-fated, with the Titans defense snuffing out a Fourth Down heave for the endzone and retaking possession.
With the ball back in his hands, stand out QB Ben Miles put together a drive of his own, hitting WRs Tom Morgan and Max Gracie-Ainscough for big gains down the field, and setting up Quinn for the Titans’ second rushing touchdown of the day. With the score at 14-0, both Defenses held firm, with Glinton sealing the game with his third sack.
After a tightly contested match, both sides will look to carry their good form into the rest of the season.
London Blitz vs London Warriors
By Jack Stodel
Last Sunday saw the Britbowl Champions, the London Blitz, facing off against the London Warriors. As a potential reignition of the historic London rivalry at the junior level, this was Double Coverage’s pre season ‘game to watch’. However, it turned out to be far more one-sided than we had anticipated, with the Blitz coming out as 22-0 victors.
Last time the Warriors played in the league they finished the season with a 4-2 record, and their run back to competitive football has been highly anticipated by much of Britball Nation.
The Blitz’s highly successful form from last year had many questioning whether their run could be repeated, due to the departure many players including Britbowl MVP Aaron Mahoney-Jones. However the Blitz have many talented new faces this year including rookies such as Israel Akano and Youth quarterback Marco Livi graduating to the Junior league.
The feared Blitz defense, equipped with players such as one of the Preseason ‘Player to Watch,’ Malachi Jameson set up shop immediately, wreaking havoc for the Warrior’s mobile QB, forcing 2 fumbles early in the game, which were both returned for TD’s (though one of these was brought back for excessive celebration). It didn’t get much better for the Warriors as QB Matthew John threw 2 picks, with one returned to the house by John Pablo. The Warriors did however show some promise with some sparks on O and the dual threat ability John possesses could prove deadly to other defensive units.
On offence, the Blitz struggled to retain the production from last year, and saw only 1 score against a prolific defence when QB Marco Livi completed a pass to WR Leonardo Sophoclis.
In a matchup where two defences shone, both offences struggled to operate and both teams will look to correct this moving onto their next matchups.