The Outlaw Flag League finals were held at the Outlaw Flag League Arena in Northampton on the 14th October 2017. Here’s how the action unfolded!
OFL Championship Bracket
The day started off with some interesting match ups, three of which proved to be tight affairs. The Chichester Sharks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Northants Phantoms in the final few seconds of the game. Driving to win the game, the Sharks seemed to be stopped short of the endzone, but the line-judge ruled the received had crossed the plane, and the Sharks would advance, 19-13.
In the game against Coventry Cougars and Victoria Park Panthers, things would get heated. The Panthers, with Will Abel under centre, had just enough firepower to overcome the Cougars, as they added Dan Benning to their already impressive stable or receivers. They raced to an early lead and held off a Cougars comeback to win the game 20-14, the highlight being an outstanding touchdown effort by Charlie Douglas.
The shock of the quarter-finals would be the Northants Titans Prometheus coming up against the heavily favoured Blood, Sweat & Beers. BSB had to contend without the services of Sam Hemmingsley , but drafted in GB Lion Kenny Bello to bolster their title aspirations. The Titans Prometheus would utilise the Matt Tibbles-to-Langley Voss connection on multiple occasions to keep their offence clicking. Tibbles would hit an open David Radford to snatch the game 33-27, with credit going to the Titans defence who held the stacked BSB roster to 27 points, when many would have figured they would be scoring at will.
Coventry Panthers Black and Northants Titans Atlas would face off in the final quarter-final matchup, but the Titans Atlas would be too much for the Panthers. The stifling Titans defence would only concede once, while generating three turnovers. On offence they would score 5 TD’s with Nathan Coles and Gary Newcombe snagging a brace each to see of the Panthers with relative ease.
The semi-finals would pit the Northants Titans Atlas against the Chichester Sharks. The game started with the Sharks making the most of a miscommunication on the field to score long touchdown to Corey Bedford. Unfortunately for the Sharks, this was their only joy of the game, as the Titans would go on to score 48 unanswered points, with a hat-trick to Jamie Willars and another brace from Nathan Coles. The defence sorted itself out and picked off four passes, two of which came from Connor Melay. The final score of 48-6 would send the Titans to their second OFL final in as many years.
The second semi final would be a tighter battle, with the Titans Prometheus hoping to join their sister club in the final. Things didn’t go to plan for the Titans however, as they went in at halftime 14-0 down to the Panthers with two scores to Dan Benning and both XPs converted. The Titans didn’t go away, and managed to tie things up through Sam Tibbles & David Radford. Both defences tightened up, but Matt Turner broke the game open with a sideline run, causing three missed tackles as he waltzed into the endzone with under a minute to go. The Titans couldn’t respond, and the Panthers would advance, 21-14.
The final would be a re-match of the famous “7-overtime game” in the National League Playoffs from 2016. The Panthers struck first through Dan Benning, before Jordan Melay and a converted XP by Jamie Willars would put the Titans up narrowly. The Titans then took control of the contest, as Adam Grindrod took centre stage, dissecting the Panthers’ usually stalwart defence. He threw 4 TD passes in total in an MVP winning performance. The Panthers would lead one final drive and give themselves hope with a deep score to Charlie Douglas in double coverage, however after a failed 3XP attempt, the game would end 27-12, and the Northants Titans Atlas would clinch their first OFL Bowl title!
Stanley Flashman Plate Bracket
In the first quarter final, the Cynon Valley Celts would dominate the Northants Titans Oceanus on both sides of the ball with Dale Davies throwing for a hat-trick of TDs. Elis Nash helped himself to a brace in this contest, carrying on his fantastic form throughout the season. Josh Evans would lead the defence once again with 3 interceptions, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns. They would not concede a point and would send themselves into the plate semi-finals with a score of 38-0.
Next up was the Cheshire Cavaliers facing off against the Swindon Storm, who struggled to get things going against a strong defensive front who combined for 18 tackles and a sack in this contest. The Storm defence would not have an answer for the connection between Miguel Fernandez Martinez and Sergio De Paco as they would connect for four touchdowns and an extra point. De Paco would rush for another score to add to the Storm’s misery. The Cavaliers would triumph, 40-12.
The Nottingham Bears would welcome back QB Gareth Lucyzcyn to the line up and would be hoping that he’d be catalyst for a storng run at the Plate award. The Wigan Bandits who would employ a change at QB, with Paul Bennett under centre, with Dino Vernazza moving into the receiver corp. This change would pay off handsomely for them, as Bennett and Vernazza would link up 4 for TDs to send them to the semi-finals with a 38-27 victory.
The last quarter-final would see the Warrington Revolution face off against the only winless team (non-forfeit) in the playoffs in the Rugby Raccoons. The returning Lewis Jaundrell would lead the Revolution to a victory, despite playing with a heavily strapped up knee. The Revolution defence would hold strong with some excellent tackling and 3 sacks to see them see of the Raccoons, 26-6.
The semi-finals would give us two conference re-matches with the Cynon Valley Celts and Cheshire Cavaliers locking horns again after their regular season draw. The Celts who would run out winners in this contest after Elis Nash snagged a huge pick six. Dale Davies would lead the offence with 4 touchdowns & 3 XPs, including a receiving one of his own on a QB Wheel route that left the defence stunned. Cheshire triedto keep up with the Celts, but just couldn’t get their rhythm and the Celts headed to the final with a score of 33-20.
In another re-match from their clash in the regular season, the Warrington Revolution would emerge victorious against the Wigan Bandits. Jaundrell was prolific once again, as he threw a hat-trick to Jake Shaw. The defence were able to secure key stops, as the Revolution would join their fellow top seed Celts in the Plate Final, outscoring the Bandits 40-26.
The Final would pit the two top seeds in the Plate Competition against each other. Both teams went blow for blow on both sides of the ball, offensively Dale Davies and Lewis Jaundrell would throw for three scores each back to back, with Jaundrell adding a valuable extra point to give his team a slim 19-18 lead. A final score to Daryl Thomas, followed by an extra point to Jake Shaw would kill off the game to give the Revolution their first trophy, 26-18.
The Stanley Flashman Plate MVP would go to Lewis Jaundrell who led his team to the title with some expert leadership and some great throws in crunch time, which was especially impressive given his injury.