The Manchester Titans Adult Mixed Flag Prem Team made the short trip over to Warrington on Saturday 21st May for Gameday 2 of the BAFA NFFL season to take on the Leeds Samurai, Wigan Bandits and the Manchester Crows.
The Titans started quickly with QB Alan Mead finding Danny Hartridge deep down the middle of the field before he was tackled on the 1 yard line. A short pass to George Slade was the first TD but the XP was missed, leaving the score at 6-0.
Leeds answered straight back with a good drive culminating in a TD pass from Kyle Taylor to Jonny Dudley and the converted extra point gave them a 7-6 lead.
On the Titans next drive a tipped pass led to an Leeds interception in great field position, which they duly capitalised on with another TD by Dudley to make the score 13-6.
Manchester responded well, with Jay Pitchford scoring the ensuing TD and Slade adding the game-tying extra point – 13-13. The Titans defense held Leeds scoreless on their next drive, whilst the Offense took the lead through Richard McEwen’s TD catch and XP for a 20-13 lead. This proved to be the half-time score.
The Samurai came out slinging on their first drive leading to a 3rd TD catch by Dudley, the XP was no good and the Titans held a 1 point lead – 20-19.
Both defences stifled the opposing offences for the next couple of drives before Mead found Marc Balduin over the middle on the goal-line for the TD. McEwen added the XP for a 27-19 lead.
Leeds looked to tie up the game but were facing a 4th & short at the half-way line when Joe Kewley-Joy knocked down the pass whilst blitzing to force the change of possession. Manchester then went on a time-consuming drive which resulted in the clock expiring at the Leeds goal-line, giving the Titans the hard-fought victory. As well as the crucial 4th down play, Kewley-Joy also added 3 sacks in the game whilst James Wilson was the leading tackler with 7.
Next up were the under-manned Bandits, who were now down to 5 players and were no match for the Titans, going down 59-22.
Mead threw 7 TDs – 4 to Hartridge, 2 to Balduin and 1 to Wilson, and McEwen went the length of the field for Manchester’s first rushing TD of the season. Slade added 3 x 2PAT, Balduin and David Briscall added others, whilst Tom Brook caught an XP. Slade also made an interception, Ian Allonby recorded a sack and Brook was the leading tackler with 6.
And now onto the big game of the day – Titans vs Crows, which proved to be a bit of an anti-climax. Manchester marched downfield with an 8 play drive with culminated in a short TD pass to Slade, who added the XP.
The Crows tried to answer but were held short by the Titans Defense. Meanwhile the Titans offense continue to score with TDs from Pitchford and McEwen to extend their lead to 19-0.
Again the Crows had no answer for the swarming Titans Defense and gave the ball back to the Titans.
Mead hit Slade for the TD before coming back to him for the 2 point conversion to take the score to 27-0. With one last opportunity to score in the half, the Crows threw long but it was batted away by Slade & Dev Samba as time expired.
It was a similar story in the 2nd half, the Titans Defense shutting down the Crows offense, whilst the Titans O held onto the ball with long drives down the field. However they were only able to add one further TD, through Briscall with McEwen adding the XP for a 34-0 lead.
The final points of the day were scored by Allonby, who added a safety to his 2 sack performance, whilst the last chance for the Crows to score was snuffed out by a pick in the endzone by Slade who giggled his way down the sideline.
Samba was the leading tackler with 6 and Brook added an interception for the Titans who recorded their 2nd shut-out of the season.
Meanwhile the Bees were over in the Wirral, taking on the West Lancashire Serpents, Salford Scorpions and Chorley Buccaneers.
The Bees made a great start with a 41-18 victory over the Serpents with QB Steve Gatenby throwing 5 TD passes – 3 to Warwick Heffer, who also ran in a TD and scored a 2 point conversion. The other 2 TDs were scored by Jon Homer with Ben Nuttall (2PAT) and Tika Marcucci (1PAT) adding the extra points. Defensively, Ralph Pedley was the leading tackler with 8 and also added 3 pass break-ups, while Will Gleed recorded 2 sacks.
However the Titans ran into the offensive juggernaut that is the Salford Scorpions who promptly rolled to a 65-6 victory. Ian Scullion was the leading tackler with 6, while Offensive MVP Heffer added the only score for Manchester.
But the Bees bounced back with a 26-18 win over the Chorley Bucs – 4 TD passes from Gatenby – 3 to Nuttall and the other to the sure-handed Ethan Gregory, along with 2 XPs by Heffer were enough to do the double over the Bucs for the season.
Pedley & Scullion both recorded 6 tackles each, while Scullion also bagged himself his first ever interception on his way to winning Defensive MVP honours on the day.
The Bees are next in the action in the cross-conference games in Nottingham, whilst the Prem Team will be hosting the HNC team at the Titans home Tournament at Belle Vue on Saturday 11th June.