The MEC South features the juggernaut Sheffield Giants squad, with two other squads with playoff experience in the form of the Mansfield Honey Badgers and Sheffield Vipers. The Nottingham Bears round out the group. They met in the first game week for the opening round of fixtures to set the tone for the season.
Sheffield Vipers 32, Mansfield Honey Badgers 6
The Vipers started strong out the blocks with a huge win over the playoff-hopeful Mansfield Honey Badgers. Three early TDs from QB Keith Woodley to Luke Bennett in the first half gave the Honey Badgers a tough task in the second half. The Vipers continued their dominance through TDs from Tom Fowkes. The Honey Badgers could not crack the suffocating Vipers defence consistently, but did add a consolation score. This will likely be a closer affair in the second round between these two teams, but the Vipers sent a clear message. Luke Bennett gets our game ball for this game!
Sheffield Vipers 47, Nottingham Bears 19
The Vipers kept the good times rolling against the Nottingham Bears, securing a fairly comfortable victory. The Vipers rotated some players in this game but showed tremendous depth as they still managed to beat a well drilled Bears side by a resounding scoreline. QB Keith Woodley threw an impressive 7 TDs in this game to earn the game ball.
Sheffield Giants 34, Mansfield Honey Badgers 33
In the standout game of the day, the Sheffield Giants sank the Honey Badgers with a late TD score and conversion with 12 seconds remaining. The Giants started slowly, going four and out on their first two drives. The Badgers capitalised, and gave themselves a two score lead early in the contest. The Giants came roaring back however, and scored three unanswered TDs, but the Badgers replied emphatically, recapturing the lead 34-28 late in the contest. An expert drive, marshalled by Dean Whittingslow gave the Giants the dramatic victory with 12 seconds to go. Paul Oates caught the tying score, while Luke Fadrique caught the game winning XP.
Sheffield Giants 32, Sheffield Vipers 20
The Vipers could not capitalise on the Giants display of rust, and were put to the sword by an impressive offensive outing from the Giants. Where the Vipers had been previously stingy on defence, it seemed they had no answer for the Giants offence. Giants QB Dean Whittingslow threw 5 TD passes, three of which went to star receiver Josh Allen, who earned our game ball for his efforts in this tussle. The Giants had a commanding 19-0 lead at the half. Keith Woodley responded for the Vipers through Mike Sullivan, Luke Bennett and Tom Fowkes, but it wasn’t enough to topple the seemingly awakened Giants squad, who added to their half-time lead to seal the victory.
Mansfield Honey Badgers 32, Nottingham Bears 12
The Honey Badgers got their first win of the season with a convincing performance against the Nottingham Bears. Mansfield shook off any disappointment from their heartbreaking loss against the Giants to put themselves back on track for a play-off position.
Giants 55, Nottingham Bears 0
The Giants showed in their final game of the day why they are the class of this division with a dominating display against the Bears. The Bears had been fairly solid in their earlier fixtures, however the Giants defence put in a performance we’d expected from them all day. Their offence remained efficient, and the Giants would go 3-0 on the day. Nottingham, while going 0-3, still put in some good performances. QB Gareth Lucyszyn earned commendations from his opponents for his impressive display on both sides of the ball.