The start of the 2012 BAFA Flag Football season was held on a day that few would associate with a SUMMER football league. Despite heavy rain and a waterlogged pitch, the Chichester Sharks, Basingstoke Zombie Horde and South Wales Warriors did battle in Cardiff last Sunday.
The Sharks travelled with 7 players, 3 of which were rookies, to match up with two teams who are perennially playoff contenders.
The Sharks kicked off the day with a game against Basingstoke, followed by a match up with South Wales. The Horde and Warriors rounded out the fixture list.
From the get go it quickly became apparent that there would be no ariel passing masterclasses this day. The strong wind and wet ball reduced the offensive attack of all teams down to short passes and yes, believe it or not in a flag league, the running game. Tackling played a crucial role, as the rain reduced any grip on the wet vinyl flags.
The Sharks vs Horde game was exceptionally close, with Chichester holding the lead inside the final two minutes. Basingstoke had just too much time and managed to punch the ball into the endzone to snatch away the victory. It was a painful loss for the Sharks as too many opportunities were missed, but a valuable learning experience for the rookies playing their first competitive game.
Final Score: Chichester 25 – 26 Basingstoke
Despite the loss, the Sharks thankfully came out strong against the Warriors. Chichester’s games against South Wales are always highly competitive and the scoreline close. This game was no different. The Sharks took the early lead, ahead by 2 scores at the half, but lost focus early in the 2nd half letting the Warriors get back into the game on the back of a strong running game.
The teams battled back and forth but it wasn’t until Pete Steel picked up a 1st down on a 4th down pass from Neil Henderson inside the final minute that the victory was assured (it’s debatable what was more dramatic – getting the catch in that scenario or Pete’s 20 foot slide through the mud with a trailing spray of water?).
Final Score: Chichester 32 – 30 South Wales
In the last game of the series Basingstoke beat South Wales 18 – 0.
It’s hard to get a gauge on what this means for the season, as the weather completely changed each team’s usual gameplan. The results could be completely different when we meet up again next month. But what we could see is that all 3 teams are in the hunt again this year.
Neil Henderson: 8 x TD, 3 x 1pt XP, 2 x INT
Gary Robinson: 3 x TD
Phil Morris: 2 x TD, 1 x 1pt XP
Pete Steel: 1 x TD, 1 x 1pt XP
Tomas Geciauskas: 1 x TD rec, 1 x 1pt XP rec
Pete Busson: 1 x TD
Neil Henderson: 2 x INT
Phil Morris: 1 x INT (for a TD)
Toby Chopra: 2 x sack