Man, I should never have joked about the bus…that was one hell of a journey to Leicester and back!
For those who were not there, I could have outrun the bus on some of the hills on our trip – I think 3rd and 4th gear disapp…actually 2nd and most of 1st gear disappeared a loooong time ago.
Huge thanks to Thierry for organising the bus and HUGE thanks for Lena (mrs thierry) for driving us there and back – it was much appreciated.
I think the acceleration of the bus was an omen – as it wasn’t the only thing not firing on all cylinders that day.
My apologies to everyone on the team that weekend for the shocking day I had ‘receiving’. No idea what happened there – but I have no intention of repeating it again.
I’ll get to the games in a second, but a few thanks first…
* thanks to all that played. We took 9 players and everyone contributed. It’s so important to the continued success of the team that we make our best efforts to attend, so thank you guys.
* thanks to Ewan for running G-TV on Sunday. There was not a lot of ‘G’ but a lot of TV. I have about 50 minutes of unedited footage of all three games. Once I figure out how to edit I’ll post some links up on the site so you can view the highlights.
OK, on to the games. Now, apologies if this gets a little long. For the first time we have video evidence, so those of you who weren’t there (or those who were and have no memory capacity) now get a blow by blow account… 🙂
Game 1: Chichester Sharks vs Voodoo
Voodoo only travelled with 5 players, but put up a good show throughout the day. Things didn’t start out good for them however, as I managed to sack Ty in the endzone for a Safety.
A quick march by our Offense soon after resulted in a 7 yd hook to Ben for the TD. Setting the tone for the game, the Shark D quickly stopped the Voodoo attack, before Neil came back in and threw a 15yd fly to the endzone for Ben’s 2nd TD.
Constant pressure from our D – this time with Neil blitzing, got the ball back soon after. On the next drive, 2 key catches from Thierry, including a nice 1 handed catch, ate up a great chunk of the field. Then avoiding the sack, Neil managed to get a short dump off pass to Pete who ran in for a 10 yd score.
Voodoo were getting frustrated by this point, as great tackling by Matt, Jon and Adam halted another Voodoo drive short of halfway.
On the next drive, under pressure from the blitz, Neil overthrew me and was picked off by the Voodoo defender. Given a short field, Ty made the most of the opportunity and threw a jump ball into the endzone, that fell between a leaping Pete and Adam and was caught by a 5 foot odd receiver for the TD. 😉
Disappointed with losing the shut out, the Sharks responded with a quick drive upfield, which resulted in a TD catch for a whooping Ben, who then made even more girly noises when he caught the PAT.
Chichester Sharks 25 – 7 Voodoo
Game 2: Chichester Sharks vs London Liberty
With a new QB/Coach, Liberty sliced through the Shark D for the entire game, passing at will and spreading the ball around the field.
It started badly, as on the 2nd pass of the game, the QB threw the ball the length of the field to connect with his receiver for the 1st score.
The Sharks came back strong. A quick pass to Thierry set up 2 long completions to Ben, the 2nd for a whooping score.
Liberty responded quickly with a short pass to a receiver who ran and spun his way down the sideline and through the defense for the score.
The Sharks O came out spluttering with 2 rushed passes falling incomplete before a crucial catch by Ben gave the Sharks a 4th and 3 at the halfway line. Lined up for Starburst, the O fanned out – me colliding with the belly of the big Liberty lineman – before I rolled out into the gap behind where I caught the dunk pass from Neil and avoiding 2 defenders ran the half into the endzone (I worryingly have no memory of this play!).
With the scores tied, the Sharks were back in control as Neil picked off the first pass thrown by the London QB. Unfortunately this didn’t last long, as an option pass from Pete was clipped as it left his hand and fell short into the arms of the Liberty as the half ended.
London maintained their precise offensive execution by carving their way through our D for a quick score as the 2nd half opened. Despite some good tackling from Billy and Matt, the number of rookies and O players playing D was beginning to show – there was little we could do to stop them.
Luck, however, was on our side on the next drive. Under pressure Neil threw on the run a long, high ball down the sideline to Pete, who unable to reach it tipped it up in the air and into the lunging hands of yours truely, who ran it upfield to the opposition’s 5 yd line.
Avoiding the blitz, Neil then rifled it into Ben’s hands for the score.
Following an exchange of picks from each side (ours nicely snagged by Matt), the Liberty broke the deadlock with just seconds to go with another swift TD through the air for what was to be the final, winning score.
The game finished 28 – 20 to Liberty. The scoreline was close but it seemed like we took a hell of a beating on D and it was a dejected Sharks team that headed for the sideline.
Game 3: Chichester Sharks vs Leicester
Games against Leicester are always tough and this one was no different. The short slants had been working against the opposition all day for the Eagles and it was no different on the first drive as they used it to good effect to march downfield for the opening score.
An ‘Arrows’ completion to me, followed by a nice reverse by Pete, set up a beauty of a ’30’ play for Pete to slice through up the gut of Leicester and sprint away half the pitch for the score.
It wasn’t to last long though, as the Eagles snatched back the lead just before the half with a score of 13-6.
A determined Sharks team came out firing in the 2nd half to tie the lead with a TD (no idea who got it as the cameraman got stuck behind Matt’s head!). Then followed a controversial PAT to tie the score. Running the ‘Z Stack’ I broke free to the left, the ball hit my hands – and typical of the day I was having – bobbled 2 or 3 times, as I eventually hit the ground with the ball under ‘control’. The fact that my feet were arguably no longer in the endzone at this point didn’t help matters. Despite cries from the opposition the Refs awarded us the point to tie the game 13-13 with just a few minutes to go.
A strong effort by our D gave us the ball back with less than a minute to go. Despite quickly gaining the first down, we were unable to knock it in for the winning score and Leicester got the ball back with 20 seconds to go.
The D stopped them once, then again and again. One second left on the clock and 4th and half the pitch to go. Sharks send a blitzer, the Eagle QB swerves, resets and heaves a Hail Mary into the air…and it drops neatly into the hands of his receiver in the endzone.
As gutting as it was, it was a great pass and a great catch.
Final score: Chichester Sharks 13 – 20 Leicester Eagles
We finished the day with a 1-2 record – our first losing tournament in quite a while. While we may not have been on top form, we all played hard and we should take some consolation from that. We should have also learned a few lessons from our play. Things that we should address in training to make sure we improve for the next few tournaments. We can d
iscuss these on Sunday – have a think about it.
Back Slap Award: goes to Ben, who by my reckoning had 5 TDs on the day and a bunch of PATs.
Face Slap Wake Up Award: goes to Ben who stopped running on what would have been a TD, because he thought he’d been ‘pulled’ by a Leicester player.
Boot to the Bench Award: goes to me for my 5 ‘or so’ drops (though in my defence, I did get better with a TD, PAT and 2 Safeties)
Ouch that must’ve Hurt Award: goes to Adam for his interpretation of the phrase ‘non-contact’ on his goal line stop of a Liberty receiver
Way to wind him up award: goes to Adam for the same play. Cheers for dropping the O in it after winding the Americans up on that play. I can still hear the line ‘OK, so you want to play real football…’ coming from one of the p*ssed off Americans as we lined up to start the next drive…
I’ll be preparing video highlights of all three games during this week and hope to get them up online soon.
Well done to everyone that played Sunday, it was a great team effort. The next tournament is on the 20th August in Westergate, north of Bognor, so I’m hoping for a greater turn out and maybe a Thespians team too.
Have a good week all and see you at training Sunday.
P.S. if you have anything to add, don’t forget to leave comments!