If it seemed the Sharks were a little late to the party that is the 2014 season, then consider it fortunate that some of the team made it at all. As most of the squad stretched in eager anticipation of the Sharks season debut, one carload sat forlornly waiting at the roadside waiting for the arrival of the AA.
Having sat by as other teams around the league rack up the games played, the rest of the Sharks were eager to get on and play, regardless of the suddenly reduced numbers. First up were the reigning Flag Champions, the London Rebels, already off to a 3-0 start, very much mimicking their unbeaten season last year.
Sharks vs Rebels is always an eagerly awaited match up, with a rich tradition of close, competitive games. In the pre-game words of team captain, Toby Chopra, “We have to give it 100% on each and every play, as we know that to win this game it will come down to the very last play of the game”.
Sadly, our first half performance was as pedestrian as the progress of our teammates still sat on the hard shoulder. Unfortunately for us, the Rebels were flying along in the fast lane. London were ruthlessly efficient, with QB Calvin Tarlton finding the holes and picking apart the Defense. It didn’t help that the Offense was spluttering, with two promising drives ending prematurely by interceptions.
By halftime we were in a hole, down 26 – 6, a difficult spot to recover from against a team like London. Fortunately, the fighting spirit of the team is strong and we didn’t crumple. Whilst it wasn’t enough to snatch the win, the Sharks O found it’s feet and were able to put up 4 scores in the 2nd half. The final score was a more respectable, but disappointing, 46 – 32 to London.
A nod to Mike Thompson for his excellent iron man performance during the game, snagging 3 TD passes and picking off an extra point attempt in the endzone. The remaining 2 of Neil Henderson’s 5 TD passes went to Gary Robinson and Pete Busson.
Sharks vs Panthers
The Victoria Park Panthers are new to the BAFA Flag league, so all our knowledge of them came from refereeing their debut versus London just before our match up. It was a rude welcome to the league, going down 54 – 18 to the Rebels. They were clearly in the mood to put things right in their second game, surprising the Sharks with their swift movement downfield and in for the score on their opening drive.
The lead was short-lived however, as the Sharks calmly started racking up scores of their own. Calmly might be overstating it a little though, as the game got a little chippy, with Ref Calvin Tarlton appealing for a few deep breaths from both teams at halftime. Despite that, the game was played in good spirits and, at least from the Sharks perspective, was more fun than the first game against the Rebels.
Mike Thompson continued with the good form, this time pulling in 3 TD passes from Neil Henderson, Gary Robinson added his 2nd of the day, whilst rookie Corey Bedford notched up 2 scores on his debut. The defensive performance overall was better in this game, creating 5 interceptions – 2 for Mike, 2 for Ed Acton and one for rookie James Harris (who had finally managed to drag his car the rest of the way to Wanstead Flats).
Final score was Chichester Sharks 45 – 13 Victoria Park Panthers
So overall a mixed bag for the Sharks. Well done to all that played, especially all the rookies playing in their first league games. Next up is a home tournament In Chichester on Sunday 25th May. Held at Oaklands Park, the games start at 10am and all Sharks players are requested to arrive for 9am.