SWC Game Day Review – Coventry
It was the turn of the Coventry Cougars Ladies team to host their first inter-divison gameday where they would be looking to capitalise on their first league win with the Exeter Falcons, Northants Phantoms, Birmingham Lions and the Merthyr Tydfil Thunderducks all joining them for an spectacular day of flag football.
In one of the thrillers of the season, the Exeter Falcons and Northants Phantoms put on a show for the early birds who decided to get to Coventry to catch this contest. An impressive first half from the Phantoms showed that they had come out of the blocks while the Falcons were still in the changing rooms. The impressive Jez Smith threw 4 Touchdown’s and 3 XP’s in the first half to receivers Stuart Tarry, Luke Hoskin & Anthony Muddiman. Lewis Phillips would keep his Falcons in the game, bringing back two scores before the halftime whistle to the remarkable George Pearson & Paul Hindle to take them into the half at 27-12. The second period is where things got interesting, as Northants Phantoms decided it was their turn to start slowly, as they let the Exeter Falcons into the game, with Lewis Phillips throwing scores to George Pearson once again and Travis Osborne to bring them within touching distance of an upset. Jez Smith would kick out of his slump and hit Luke Hoskin for the touchdown and what the Phantoms would believe would put the game to bed. Lewis Phillips led an expertly timed drive down the field as the clock ticked away and hit George Pearson for the clutch TD catch to pull within a 2 point conversion of tying the game with the clock expiring. On the resulting 2 point conversion, Luke Hoskin came up with a walk-off sack to end the game in favour of the Phantoms but an incredible comeback from the Falcons in the second half to put themselves in a position to tie the game. Game ball in this contest goes to Stuart Tarry, who enjoyed a two touchdown performance and carried the Phantoms on his back at times during this match.
After a crushing loss to the Phantoms in Game 1, the Exeter Falcons would look to bounce back against a Coventry Cougars Ladies side that would be looking to increase their win total on the season. A close first half saw the Falcons take the edge with a score of 21-12 after throwing scores to George Pearson for a brace and Ashley Jones, but the Cougars Ladies would respond blow for blow with Millie Barrett hitting the always phenomenal Grace Conway and Kirsty Haw for scores, before Kellie Barrett would give the Cougars Ladies hope by intercepting the Falcons twice before the half. In the second half, the Falcons came out strong, hitting Connor Horton before the Cougars Ladies responded when Millie Barratt hit Lottie Laidler for the touchdown. However, both defences would stand strong with standout performances from Kellie Barrett whose automatic tackling hands would restrict the Falcons from gaining any yards, while Ed McKenna from the Falcons picked up a number of interceptions to help the Falcons offence in the second half. The Falcons would have the last laugh when Lewis Phillips would hit Ed McKenna for the final offensive score to close the game out but would be a valiant effort from the Cougars Ladies. MVP in this contest goes to Ed McKenna who picked his team up when they seemed to take their foot of the gas, snagging multiple interceptions and even grabbing an offensive score of his own.
The game that would attract the attention of a number of teams around the league would see the Northants Phantoms face off against the Birmingham Lions, who had their number in 2016 when they went undefeated against them with 1-0-1 record to see them finish higher than the Lions to make the playoffs. This fixture would have a similar feel to it, with both teams not giving an inch in a first half which saw the game tied at 13-13 after a back and forth between Tristan Varney, who would hit his favoured target Drew Newiss for a brace with Alex Salter picking up the XP, and Jez Smith would hit Stuart Tarry for a score. Luke Hoskin would rush into the end zone on a wildcat play where he weaved his way into the end zone for a sensational score. The second half would go very much the same way with Drew Newiss grabbing another 2 scores but the Lions failed to convert their XPs. Jez Smith would do the same hitting Luke Hoskin for a score whilst Hoskin would then throw for a touchdown to Stuart Gray to tie the game at 25-25 with less than 2 minutes remaining. Tristan would then lead an expertly timed 2 minute drill down the field, surgically dissecting the Phantoms defence where he would hit Alex Salter for the touchdown with 8 seconds remaining on the clock. Jez Smith had little time to try and tie the game once more. Unfortunately, there wouldn’t be enough time remaining for them to make a dent in the Lions hopes of the #1 seed in the South and the Lions would squeak out 31-25 winners in a terrific match up.
MVP in this contest goes to Drew Newiss who proved his clutch receiving ability in this contest propelling his team to victory with 4 Touchdowns and taking them one step closer to the division title in the SWC North.
With both teams in need of a win, this game started with defences on top as both teams held strong on their own goal lines in the early exchanges. The Cougars finally broke the deadlock a few drives in with a touchdown and extra point for a 7-0 lead to the impressive Grace Conway who hauled in a one handed catch then ran half the field for the touchdown. The Ducks hits back immediately with Dale Davies, completing his first of six touchdown passes on the day, finding Richard Harris in the endzone for the touchdown. The extra point evaded the Ducks which became a theme for the game with only two successful conversion from seven attempts. The Ducks stayed on top for the remainder of the half with their defence preventing the Cougars from picking up first downs while the offence clicked and added another two scores through the Davies – Harris connection on the way to an 18-7 half time lead.
The trend continued early in the second half with the Ducks extending their lead to 30-7 with two touchdowns from Craig Warren and the defence making key stops. The Cougars kept fighting however, and following a penalty on fourth down near halfway, took advantage of a new set of downs to get back in the game with another touchdown and extra point to Kirsty Haw & Lottie Laidler respectively. A Cougars turnover then led to the Ducks extending their lead through a Richard Harris run before Craig Warren put the game away with his third touchdown reception late on.
MVP in this contest goes to Richard Harris who put on a show for the fans in Coventry with 5 TD’s & 1 XP to give his team a win over a plucky Cougars side.
Coming off the back of a nail biter with the Northants Phantoms, the Birmingham Lions looked to make a statement against the Exeter Falcons who had lost in their own tight affair earlier in the day. The Lions would show their class against the rookie side with signal caller Tristan Varney torching the Falcons defence to the tune of 8 TDs, with 3 going to Drew Newiss who is looking every part the offensive player of the year candidate as the Lions head to the playoffs. Newcomers Dara Adedayo and Liam White picked up a brace each, with Alex Salter picking up the other score. Despite the offence firing on all cylinders, it would be the defensive output of Louis Clarke who would steal the show by picking up 5 Interceptions in this contest to suffocate the Falcons deep ball offence, limiting them to one score each half. MVP in this game goes to Louis Clarke who showed that you don’t want to pass his way, otherwise he’ll make you pay.
In the final game of the day the undefeated Lions took on the Ducks knowing a win would give them a division title and a return to the playoffs. A slow paced game started with the Ducks struggling to pick up a first down and giving the Lions possession on half way after a turnover. The Lions could not capitalise though as the Ducks defence, trying to force the Lions into short completions, held strong on the goal line. Another failed Ducks drive gave the Lions the ball back and this time they found the endzone for a 7-0 lead after Tristan Varney would hit Atsuki Kuramochi for the score, they followed up with a safety to the returning blitz menace Alex Salter and another touchdown to lead 16-0. With under a minute to go in the half the Ducks took a deep shot which was intercepted by Louis Clarke and two plays later the Lions capitalised to lead 23-0 at the half when Drew Newiss would find the endzone for the 8th time on the day.
The second half started with a quick Lions touchdown to Alex Salter ending the game as a contest before both teams suffered a series of stalled drives thanks to some strong blitz pressure from the Alex Salter. While some good front zone tackling from Ducks Phil James and Ross Thomas limited the Lions gains. The Lions would seal the game and a division title late on with another touchdown to make the final score 35-0.
MVP in this contest would go to Louis Clarke who picked off the Thunder Ducks 4 times to ensure they weren’t able to move the ball.
This victory would confirm that the Birmingham Lions have won the SWC North and are heading to the playoffs. Check out SWC Hub for all the latest standings and scores!