Well done to everyone that played in our first Saturday games of the season this past weekend. It was the third weekend in a row on the road, so it was good we were able to field the 10 players that we did.
The results were a bit mixed on the day, with a pleasing win over an under-strength Coventry Jets team, before a disappointing – and somewhat controversial – loss to the London Rebels.
Off to our customary slow start, it wasn’t until the 2nd half that we managed to pull away from a Jets team that struggled to move the ball against our dominating Defense. Neil Henderson was on good form, throwing no picks and 4 TDs in the game – 2 of which went to gammy legged Simon Merton in his return to action after missing the last 3 matches. Despite the pain and the medication, Simon was able to break the deadlock with a long TD reception from Neil.
Eager to stay ahead of Simon in the race for the top spot in the scoring table, Scott Wilson was not to be outdone, snagging two TDs of his own. With Dave Lee and Mike Thompson both collecting their seconds picks of the season, the D was in fine form, limiting the Jets to just one score, as the Sharks ran out comfortable winners in a 26-7 victory.
The 2nd game did not quite go to plan. The Rebels are fast, big and experienced, led by the strong arm of QB Brad Madison. They scored early and we were chasing the game by halftime. Our only score in the first period came on a reception by receiver Josh Amis – his first as a Shark. The score line would have been closer had a long TD run by Center Gary Robinson not been nullified due to a lineman’s error. Gary made up for the lost score in the 2nd half by turning another short pass into a long score.
The Sharks D had a strong game despite the scoreline (Rebels had a short field on 2 scores), limiting the Rebels to 1 score in the 2nd half. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to prevent the loss, as the Sharks dropped an important game, 26-13.
Coventry also lost to the Rebels on the day, putting a significant dent in their playoff aspirations. Leicester continue to lead the table, with London in 2nd and Chichester 3rd.
London still have one game remaining against the unbeaten Eagles. The Sharks must hope Leicester win that and we continue to win the rest of our games, as we hold the head to head point difference tiebreaker over the Rebels. In the event of Chichester and London having an identical record and tied in 2nd place in the league table at the end of the season, then Chichester would progress to the playoffs.
Next week: Home tournament at Southbourne Leisure Centre versus Coventry and Hampshire