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Opal Series – North Week 2 Review

The Northern teams were back at it again in week two after an explosive first round of games!

Sleeping Giants?

The Sheffield Giants were probably the biggest winners coming out of game-week 2 after they romped their schedule, including a massive 49-0 thumping of the Sheffield Hallam Warriors. They might not have started their season in perfect fashion, losing by a point to the EK Pirates, but the Giants put up a bevvy of points against the Buccaneers and Hallam Rangers to keep pace with their Northern foes. Sabrina McKetty-Edwards was particularly devastating for the Giants defence, while Amy Wells continued her banner year.

Credit: Samcrow Lee

Hoist the Mainsails!

While the Giants went undefeated, the East Kilbride Pirates matched them with them relative ease. After an early win against the Warriors (14-0), they went on to crush the Nottingham Green side 70-0, and defeat the Gold side 34-0. The Pirates defence in particular was downright nasty, conceding a ridiculous zero points on the day, while running back six interceptions of their, including four in an encore showcase for Jem Thomson, who we highlighted as a player to watch in our last recap. While the win against the Warriors saw the offence stutter at times, they never looked out of control, and their final two wins were altogether comfortable. We’re looking forward to the huge clash against the Giants at the next set of games. While the Pirates may come in without the services of some key contributors, they’ll still fancy their chances at doing the double over the Giants, especially if their offence clicks into gear to compliment their suffocating defence.

Wounded Warriors?

We speculated about the Sheffield Hallam Warriors’ title credentials in our last update, as they faced both the Pirates and Giants this past weekend. They’ll be disappointed that results didn’t go their way against the two assumed powerhouses, but they’ll be particularly worried that they didn’t get a win against the Chorley Buccaneers. They sit just ahead of Chorley by virtue of point differential, which could be huge in their seeding for the playoffs. They weren’t helped by the unfortunate injury to Katie Lobo early in their opening contest.

The Buccaneers on the other hand will be excited about the prospect of playoff football. They went 1-1-1 on the day, including a tight victory against the Nottingham Gold side and a draw against the Warriors. With only two points separating the Warriors and Buccaneers, this race for (likely) third place in the North could go right down to the wire!

Credit: Samcrow Lee

Golden Future?

The Nottingham Gold team added to their first win of the year by putting in three excellent performances, despite their relative rookie stature. The play of Anu D’Costa was a particular highlight for the squad, who showed further signs of improvement during gameweek 2. Emma and Laura Dedicoate also put in great showings for Nottingham, who could make a late push for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Nottingham Green side failed to pick up a win, struggling in particular to stop the rushing attacks of their opponents. They lost twice to the Hallam Rangers on the day, but managed to get a score on the board from Lily Marrable.

Here’s how that leaves things in the North after two weeks of action:

Opal Northern Conference

PosTeamGPWLTPFPANet PtsPts
1EK Pirates77002392421521
2Sheffield Giants W65102952527016
3Sheffield Hallam Warriors7331129135-614
4Chorley Buccaneers7331103111-814
5Sheffield Hallam Rangers734095198-10313
6Nottingham Uni Gold725091184-9311
7Nottingham Uni Green707012287-2757

Standout Performers

There were a number of noteworthy performances in week 2 – here’s just a few that caught our eye!

Lamorna McNevin, Sheffield Hallam Warriors

Lamorna put in another excellent shift for the Warriors this past weekend, despite her team’s missteps. She uses her range and experience to frustrate opposition on defence, while also showcasing a safe pair of hands on offence. She had a telling impact against the Sheffield Giants, as the Sheffield squad were forced to re-evaluate their plan of attack after Lamorna had initially hindered their progress. When she gets up to speed on offence, she’s hard to stop. We imagine she’ll be competing for a GB Lions place in the coming years, if not sooner…

Lamorna makes the tackle – including belt and flags! Credit: Garry Charles©MyLonelyTreeMedia

Faye Doherty, Sheffield Giants

Faye introduced herself to the Opal series with a strong debut for the playoff-bound Giants. She provides an excellent compliment to superstar Amy Wells, as she’s athletic enough to outrun defenders, and has excellent hands to reel in any pass. Faye makes the Giants a stronger outfit, and we look forward to seeing her continue to produce this season!

Carla Costa, East Kilbride Pirates

Carla announced her arrival in her debut match against the Giants, blitzing with speed and control that’s very rare to find in a rookie. The Portuguese Pirate took her game to the next level in her second week of action, showing incredible instincts and savvy to snag a number of tackles in the backfield. When tested in coverage, she often came up trumps, including grabbing herself a huge pick six. Carla is one to watch going forward, and opponents should be wary of her!

Carla frustrated the QB on a blitz. Credit: Garry Charles©MyLonelyTreeMedia

Anu D’Costa, Nottingham Gold

Anu was featured in our last update, and she continued to be the standout performer for the Nottingham Gold squad. She’s a shifty runner with the ball in her hands, and this was evident against the Hallam Rangers, as she scored multiple times on mazy runs. If the Gold squad are to push for the playoffs, it’ll likely come through the play of Anu.

Louise Moran, Chorley Buccaneers

Louise played a huge part in the Buccaneers’ playoff campaign this past weekend, with a scintillating showing against the Hallam Warriors. At two scores down, Louise led her defence to keep the game within touching distance, while also adding a TD reception on offence. The race for the playoffs will come right down to the wire, and if Louise keeps up this level of performance, the Buccaneers will feel good about their chances!

Louise breaks into the clear. Credit: Garry Charles©MyLonelyTreeMedia

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