Chichester Sharks Defender, Ed Acton, gives his account of the opening weekend games of the 2013 season.
This is what we had been training for all through winter, the inaugural games of the 2013 BAFA Flag Football season. The journey would take us to the home of the London Rebels to face stiff competition – the Rebels and the new look Welsh team, the Cardiff Hurricanes. After the fun and excitement of checking everybody’s pictures on the rosters, it was time to get down to business.
Game 1 Hurricanes v Rebels
The game started off slowly, as each team got a feel for each other, and before we knew it halftime was here and it was scoreless. The second half started much the same as the first, with each team giving up turnovers on offense. The deadlock was broken when the Hurricanes QB threw a great post pattern pass to the WR for the first score of the game.Londonthen got into gear and scored a TD of their own but missed the XP leaving the score 7-6 toCardiffwith a minute and a half left on the clock. All Cardiff needed to do was run out the clock and avoid turning over the ball. Unfortunately, the second pass of the drive was an interception that was run back for a TD. It was all over – Rebels 13 Hurricanes 7
Game 2 Rebels v Sharks
So the Sharks only had 8 players due to one WR oversleeping and missing his lift – we won’t mention any names to save embarrassment. The Sharks started on offense, mainly made up by defensive regulars due to Phil Morris sleeping in. And what a start it was, as Neil Henderson threw a long pass to Mike Thompson, which he took all the way for the opening score. The Rebels were quick to respond, working the ball up the field on their first drive and came away with a score of their own. The two teams were very evenly matched, with the Sharks pulling ahead 20-14 late in the game following scores by Gary Robinson and a second from Thompson.
In the final few minutes of the game, the Rebels were driving. After a questionable officiating decision moved London into scoring range, the Rebels managed to get into the end zone and convert the XP to take a 21-20 lead, leaving the Sharks just 25 seconds to work a miracle. The Sharks marched right up the field. It would come down to one last play in the final seconds….the ball was snapped, but the Rebels’ blitz made it very difficult for Neil to make a pass. Sadly it fell incomplete and the game ended. Final Score Rebels 21 Sharks 20.
Game 3 Sharks v Hurricanes
The final game of the day was upon us and the Sharks were up against the Cardiff Hurricanes. The game played out much like a mash up of the first 2 games with Sharks and Hurricanes going toe to toe on scoring all the way up to the final two minutes (Sharks’ scores from Thompson (x2) and Justin Handley). With the Hurricanes leading 21-19, the Sharks had the ball and looked to be driving for a winning score. Sadly, this would not be the case as the Hurricanes D held strong and Sharks turned the ball over on downs just shy of the endzone.
So it came down to the same scenario as Game 1, the Hurricanes had the lead and the ball and an opportunity to run down the final 20 seconds off the clock. The ball was snapped but the Hurricanes’ QB abandoned the called run play when he saw a chance to end the game with a quick pass. He didn’t count on Elliott Harrison turning into a superhero and plucking the ball out of the air for the interception. Requiring a score to win, Elliott needed to run the 10 yards back to the Hurricanes endzone. In a blink of an eye, dodging 3 players on the way, Elliott made it in for the score and the Sharks were victorious. Final score Sharks 25 Hurricanes 21
A great day and three really good hard fought games, the Southern Conference will be a tough one this year. Next stop Basingstoke in June to play the Horde and Plymouth Extreme.