Cancellations galore left only two matchups this week. Both were important, however, with playoff implications for three of the four teams involved!
Under 19s Week Twelve Recap
By Alex McLachlan
East Kilbride Pirates V Manchester Titans
By Bruin White
The East Kilbride Pirates suffered a 37-12 defeat at the hands of the travelling Manchester Titans on Sunday after an unexpected turn of events (Eds: to anyone outside of the greater Manchester area that is) left the Titans at the top of the Northern Division.
The Manchester defence, back in full swing, limited an East Kilbride team – who had averaged 44 points per game prior to this matchup – to just 12 points. Defensive Backs, including Martin Lewis and Denylo Blackburn, helped to limit what is normally an effective EKP passing game, to an anemic performance: the Pirates’ only scores coming on the ground. Up front, the Big Blue Wreckin’ Crew of Vonte Clinton, Michael Tomlin and Greg Morgan contributed a total of five sacks. These combined efforts resulted in dominance over a notoriously authoritative offence.
East Kilbride started flat, making mistakes which would soon find them at a 17-0 deficit to a strong Manchester side after Quarterback Ben Miles hit Max Gracie-Ainscough in the endzone following a fumble recovery and Running Back Rebs Quinn ran in for a second score. With no more time for blown assignments and missed blocks, the East Kilbride come back with a touchdown run from Jack Cochrane either side of halftime: bringing the score to an unsteady 17-12.
Ben Miles responded quickly, leading the fully-established Titans offence the length of the field on the following drive, taking momentum back onto the away team’s sideline. Running Back Tom Jones stepped up in the fourth quarter and, despite being 200 miles from the Green Green Grass Of Home, showed great stamina on a hot day and earned himself the ‘pull away’ scores.
East Kilbride need to get back on their feet quickly to secure a spot in the playoffs, their next game this weekend against Scottish rival Highland Wildcats. Manchester now wait until the 22nd, when they will hope to continue their winning streak, hosting the winless Nottingham Caesars.
Hertfordshire Cheetahs vs Thames Valley Tigers
By Jordan Fearon-Lee and Liam MacGovern
A hot and sunny Sunday held a 48-0 blowout away game win for the Hertfordshire Cheetahs who battled against the Thames Valley Tigers.
An afternoon of intense football begun with the Cheetahs starting with possession of the ball. Another strong performance by RB Ashley Gatulah who displayed his awareness, speed and strength at the position while putting three touchdowns on the board. Furthermore, FB Byron Kealy also scored with a run up the middle early in the game. Whilst the game consisted of heavy runs by both backs, WR Josh Miller-Hall displayed good hands with a catch in the corner of the endzone to finish off the first half.
Although the Thames Valley Tigers had home field advantage, they unfortunately could not put any of their own points on the board. However, they showed promise with a couple of shots to TE Lewis Marstin. That being said, for the second week the Cheetah’s displayed a shutdown defence with a strong pass rush unit consisting of standout performances by LB Patryk Cwiertnia and S Jack Preece both putting a stop to the Tiger’s run game.
The Cheetah’s also showed a solid and confident secondary, with GB CB Johanne Remigio batting down several passes along with CB Daniel Ward who had an exceptional day with two interceptions, one of them being a 105-yard return for 6 points. The special team’s unit converted all six field goals due to K James Abegglen.
That all being said, the Cheetahs are far from complete. Head Coach Alex Halms said
“On Sunday, we looked uncomfortable being favourites.”
At 3-1, the Cheetahs have a lot to improve on before they play the London Warriors.
With another loss, the Tigers now fall to 0-5 and have yet another battle with one of Britain’s finest in the 4-0 London Blitz.
The end of the regular season is quickly approaching, so teams must put everything on the line to secure a playoff spot.