Sharks host friendlies

The Chichester Sharks hosted fellow BAFL Flag team the St Albans KIngs and newly formed Peter Symonds Sabres last weekend in Chichester in a series of post season friendlies.

First up was the host team Sharks vs new boys the Sabres, who formed in January at Peter Symonds sixth form college in Winchester, for their first competitive game. Sporting a number of rookies who had only had one training session the Sabres took the early lead with a long pass on their first possesion after the Sharks couldn’t move the ball on their first. The teams traded scores, including a first ever pass completion for a TD by Sharks long time centre Gary Robinson (on a trick play to QB Neil Henderson). The Sharks led by a single score at the half but experience soon started to tell as they held the Sabres to a single 2nd half score while converting several drives (and turnovers for scores) to run out convincing 58-31 winners as time expired.

The Sabres looked to bounce back against a Kings team which never gave up during the recent inaugral BAFL Flag season despite having a small squad to work with. The Sabres’ youth and speed was too much for the Kings who were denied a number of scores from dropped passes. Tiring in the second half and frustrated by a sharp Sabres defence the Kings struggeled to move the ball and fell foul of a number of penalties and despite a late scoring flurry could not prevent the Sabres from notching up their first competive win in a convincing 44-20 win.

The Sharks faced the Kings in the 3rd and final game of the day and again experience was deciding factor. Putting constant pressure on the Kings QB the Sharks were able to get a number of turnovers and had no trouble moving the ball. Fielding a number of rookies the Sharks were abke to mix up their personnel in various positions and try out a few new plays and finally ran out winners 60-6.

The Sharks organisation would like to thank the Kings for making the journey down from St Albans and to welcome the Sabres officially to Flag Football and look forward to playing both teams again soon. All of the games were played in extremely good and competitive spirits.

Strong start for Sharks

Well done to all the guys that struggled through the snow to Mildenhall yesterday, to kick off the Sharks 2008 season. I’m gutted I couldn’t make it (the boy is now fine btw). By all accounts you put up a good fight and gave the Mayhem a run for their money. Just a shame they went and ruined it for you with a last second TD.

Extra nod to the performance of two new guys, Sean and Tom (well kinda new in Tom’s case), who both racked up a couple of scores apiece, with some great catches.

I also hear there was a 2 length-of-the-field TD performance from our ‘retired’ Coach Kirby. That would have been fun to see.

It’s a little hard for me to write the day up (not being there), so Neil has chipped in with this match report:

The Chichester Sharks played their first games of the inaugural BAFL Flag League after battling through the snow to get to RAF Mildenhall and in their first game they faced league favourites the Mildenhall Mayhem. The Sharks took the lead with a Neil Henderson pass on 4th down to Tom Newbery to get the Sharks first points on their opening drive of the new season and the XP made it 7-0. Mayhem scored a TD but couldn’t convert and trailed 7-6. Mayhem scored another TD but couldn’t convert the 2pt XP and led 12-7. Sharks retook the lead 13-12 with the misses XPs by the Mayhem starting to tell.

In the second half a short pass for the Mayhem turned into a long score as several missed tackles by the Sharks Defence made it easy for the Mayhem. A converted 2pt attempt made it 20-13 to the Mayhem setting up an exciting end to the game. Inside the 2 minute warning the Sharks drove down field and a third TD pass by Henderson found rookie receiver Sean Wasley in the endzone. The XP was successful and the score was tied at 20-20.

Unfortunately for the Sharks there was still more than a minute on the clock and this was just long enough for the Mayhem to drive downfield and on fourth down scored a short TD to take the vital late lead, again the Sharks D was able to stop the XP.

The Mayhem had used the clock well and left the Sharks only 12 seconds to try and salvage something from the game, two short passes which stopped the clock left one second on the clock and half the pitch to cover and a TD needed to tie the game. The Mayhem did not blitz and the Hail Mary pass by Henderson was launched into the End Zone. The ball was tipped by a couple of Sharks players but was eventually intercepted by the Mayhem as time expired and snubbing out any chance of a last second score. Final score Mildenahll Mayhem 26 Chichester Sharks 20.

In their second game of the opening day of the season the Sharks faced new team and unknown quantity the St Albans Kings. The Sharks did get to see the Kings play the Mayhem which gave they some idea about what they faced. While the Mayhem ran out easy winners over the Kings 76-6 the Sharks couldn’t afford to be complacent.

The Sharks won the toss and started with the ball on their own 5yd yard line and went to the air straight away with England and GB quarterback Neil Henderson hitting rookie Sean Wasley for the second time on the day for the long early TD. The potent Sharks offence continued to pile on the pressure and added scores by Pete Steel, Tom Newbery and 2 by new Head Coach and player Dayle Kirby. A poor Sharks pass led to a Kings interception which was returned deep downfield and subsequently leading to a Kings TD which left the Sharks 33-6 ahead at the break.

A couple of injuries to Kings players left them with only 4 players and while they could have carried on the Kings coach chose to call the game so as not to incur any further injuries. Although this stopped the Sharks scoring more points and getting back some of the points difference that the Mayhem had earlier enjoyed they were still happy with the win.

GB Lions and new Sharks Head Coach praised all of his players on what was a tricky day. He said after the game “After the pre-game problems we encountered, in arranging the fixtures, last minute player call offs and battling through the snow on the way to the ground, I was delighted by the teams performance. Every player made a positive contribution to the team. Even when we went behind everyone pulled together to try and get the win but it wasn’t to be. We couldn’t of started with a harder game than that against the league favourites but our performance shows we will also be a team to contend with”.

I shall be adding the scores and stats from the matches to the site later this week – as well as the remaining fixtures if we manage to get them finalised this week!

Please do add any comments about the weekend below – it would be nice to hear what others thought.

See you at training on Sunday!