SWC Game Day Review – Northampton
Northants Phantoms hosted the Titans White, Eagles, Cougars Mixed, Stampede and Thunderducks in a beautiful day in the heart of Northampton. GB Head Coach Alan Young was on Day 2 of his scouting tour of the conference and was eager to see what these teams would produce over the course of the day.
Leicester came into this game as one of the lowest scoring offences in the Conference and would hope that they could provide a speed bump in the playoff hopes of the Hereford Stampede. However, the Hereford Stampede would come out the gates like a shot and they would not let up in the game with QB Steve Hall throwing3 TD’s and 3 XP’s. Even James Morris got in on the action and threw for a TD & XP. JJ Spencer started the day off right with 2 TD’s & 2 XP’s in an effort which would likely grab the attention of the onlookers. The Hereford defence shut the Leicester Eagles offence out, as Josh Bolland got 3 INT’s, including a trip to the endzone. Jack Price and Dan Mears also added an interception each. Sack master Max Dury picked up a hat-trick of sacks in the defensive effort as well. Gameball in this one goes to Steve Hall who orchestrated a clinical performance under centre to see his side go a step closer to the playoffs.
With homefield advantage, the Phantoms would get off to a slow start with the Thunderducks matching them in the early stages. The Thunderducks picked up a number of sacks on Phantoms QB Jez Smith, but as the game wore on, it would be the Phantoms signal-caller who would start deconstructing the Thunderducks defence piece by piece with a methodical attack that kept the Phantoms moving the ball. WR Luke Hoskin was a handful for the Thunderducks defence. Luke also played the role of QB in the Phantom’s occasional dual QB offence. Hoskin is the receipient of the game ball in this one due to the impact he had at three positions, including a XP Interception return.
In what would prove to the be the game of the day, Hereford Northants Titans White engaged in an epic shootout. Quarterbacks Steve Hall and Matt Tibbles went blow-for-blow, hitting receivers JJ Spencer (3 TD’s) and David Radford (4 TD’s) respectively. The defences also contributed to the chaos with Hereford notching 4 interceptions, including a pick. Elsewhere, Max Dury grabbed three sacks. The Titans White returned with 3 interceptions, but it was not enough. It would come down to the successful XP attempts, Hereford tallying up one more and claiming top spot in their division. Game ball in this one goes to JJ Spencer who is proving to be one of the best mismatches in the SWC.
After their loss to the Phantoms, the Thunderducks were looking at another tough match against the Coventry Cougars Mixed team who were looking to redeem themselves after their 2 loss outing in the previous game week. This game started out with the Cougars on offense and QB James Ashmore back in action. He wasted no time as he found Kieran Eaton for the TD and Sam Finnie for the extra point. Kieran then intercepted the Thunderducks QB and took it to the house. The extra point was picked off and ran back by Phillip James, making the score 13 – 2 to the Cougars. The Thunderducks then rallied back with a TD pass from Dale Davies to Chris Bowditch but failed on the point after. That gave the Thunderducks D a bit of a boost as well as Andrew Giboney sacked the Cougars QB in the endzone for a safety and found themselves with some momentum and the ball back with time running out in the 1st half. The Cougars, however had other plans, Luke Madden sacked the QB for a safety which took the game into halftime with a close score of 15 -10 to the Cougars. The Thunderducks had the ball to start the 2nd half but stalled on their next few drives with key sacks from Luke Madden. James took advantage for the Cougars and connected with his new teammate Danny Caballero for a deep TD and the extra point. That was followed by another 2 TD’s to Kieran. The Thunderducks brought in Alex Thomas at QB to try and make a close game once again as he found Hugo Santos wide open in the middle of the endzone but it was a bit too late as the Cougars won the contest 44 – 16. Game ball goes to Kieran Eaton on this one proving why he is one of the best players to watch in the SWC this season and for many more years to come.
The battle for Northants on the day fell to the Phantoms & Titans White, who had different fortunes in their previous game. The Phantoms picked up a win against the Thunderducks and the Titans White wereedged out by 1 point to the Hereford Stampede. It would be the Red side of Northamptonshire that would be the victors in a game which the Titans White couldn’t get the offence moving against a strong defense led by Phantoms Safety Dani Waples. The Phantoms offence with Jez Smith under centre would carry their fortunes over from game one with good distribution to his top two targets Hoskin & Tarry who would come up trumps for the Phantoms all game long. One positive sign for the Titans White offence would be that they were moving the ball on offence well, this was highlighted by a Tibbles to Tibbles connection on all the TD’s scored in this game with Ollie Tibbles picking up a hat-trick and younger brother Sam Tibbles snagging a TD too. Gameball in this one goes to Jez Smith for leading his team to their second victory of the day and one win away from usurping their Northamptonshire rivals from the top of the SWC Central.
The final game of the day came between the Leicester Eagles and the Coventry Cougars Mixed. The Cougars would change things up for this one as James Ashmore would take a step back at QB and in came Danny Caballero. The Cougars got off to a quick start by scoring on the first play of the game with a pass from Danny to Kieran Eaton. The highlight of this game however would come from the Cougars Defense, who picked off the Eagles QB Paul Hills 7 times, 3 of which were returned for a TD by Sam Finnie. The Eagles did manage to score a late TD but it all ended with the Cougars on top 47 – 7. Game ball goes to Sam Finnie who as mentioned previously scored a hat-trick of pick 6’s in this one and helped his team to a rousing victory.
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