The Manchester Titans Adult Flag team headed up to Edinburgh early on Saturday 18th May to play their 2nd set of games in the BAFA Flag League. After a delay at the car rental firm, the team set up off in 2 mini-vans to take on the Aberdeen Oilcats, Carnegie Flag and the Edinburgh Outlaws. The Titans started well, with a efficient opening drive which resulted in a TD for David McInally, with Jay Pitchford, back in the lineup after missing the first tournament due to injury, adding the extra point for a 7-0 lead. However the Oilcats responded with a TD of their on and proceeded to stifle the Titans high-scoring offence throughout the rest of the first half and scoring 3 more TDs before half time. With just seconds remaining in the 1st half, QB Alan Mead threw an ill-advised ball which was intercepted and returned for another Aberdeen TD and the Titans were down 32-7 at half-time. The Titans defense played much better in the 2nd half though and held the Oilcats to just one further touchdown late in the game. Meanwhile the Titans Offense scored through Rick McEwen and Andrew Yuen, with Ben Nuttall and Pitchford adding the XPs but that was all they could manage as they lost 39-21.
Manchester then took on newly promoted Carnegie Flag – both teams had recently played in the King Bowl in Utrecht but hadn’t faced each other for a couple of years. It turned out to be a high-scoring classic, with both QBs throwing 7 TDs as the neither team could hold onto the lead for long. Carnegie scored with just 19 seconds to play to take a 44-39 lead. But Mead calmed led the Titans offense down the field in 5 plays and with no time left on the clock, found McInally in the endzone for the game-winning TD. Manchester scored their other TDs through Yuen (3), McEwen (2), and Nuttall, with the crucial extra points coming from Yuen and a 2 pointer from Dave Barnett.
The Titans looked revitalised despite the Defense conceding so many points and headed confidently into the final game with hosts Edinburgh, who the Titans had beaten convincingly last season. The opening drive started well for the Titans with them moving swiftly downfield but an amazing one-handed interception by the Outlaws snuffed out the drive. After an Edinburgh TD & XP, the Titans got on board through Yuen, with Pitchford adding the XP. But on their next drive a pass bounced off Ryan Farrell’s hands leading to another Outlaw pick and a subsequent TD by their Offense. On the Titans 3rd drive QB Mead drew a roughing the passer penalty when his hand was hit whilst throwing, and despite the penalty giving the Titans a 1st Down, Mead struggled to grip the ball due to the injury and the half ended with another interception and the Titans trailing. Manchester’s offense played much better in the 2nd half with 2 more TD catches by Yuen and Pitchford’s first TD of the season – all converted by Nuttall, Barnett & Yuen. However the Titans Defense could not contain the Edinburgh offense who always seem to benefit from the tipped pass – 2 of them resulting in TDs. The Titans lost disappointingly 39-28 to a jubilant Outlaws team.
Pictures Courtesy of Will Gleed
Manchester will now need to regroup and refocus for the Home Tournament on June 8th when they take on the undefeated Grangemouth Broncos, the Clyde Comets and the Glasgow Hornets.