The Manchester Titans Flag Team made the short journey up to Wigan to play the 2nd round of divisional games against the Cheshire Cavaliers, Manchester Crows and Wigan Warhawks knowing that 3 wins would seal the MEC Central Division title, lock in a playoff spot and ensure top tier football next season.
The Titans have never lost to the Cavs although it looked like that record would be broken as Manchester went into half-time, down 25-13 to a much better Cavaliers team than the one that had lost 63-12 in the 1st game.
QB Alan Mead found Hallam Monk for his first Flag TD on the first drive of the 2nd half as the Titans closed the gap to 25-20. The Cavs only managed to score once on a much improved defensive performance with Marko Mirceta recording an interception and Ian Allonby registering a sack. Titans WR David McInally added 3 more TDs to his team leading 19, whilst Rick McEwen had a rushing TD and 3 extra points. Manchester’s final TD, and Mead’s 5th TD Pass came from Ian Harrison and the XP was added by Brianna Hartidge in her first game for the Titans as they won 41-31.
Next up was the rival Crows, still smarting from the 45-40 lose earlier in the year. Both teams traded TDs early with Rick McEwen and Jessica Elliott scoring for the Titans, whilst Jordan Parker could have tied the game on the last play of the 1st half when he made an interception but was tackled short of the end zone on the return. So again the Titans went into the half down 21-13. However in the 2nd half, Crows intercepted Mead 3 times and added 2 more TDs whilst the Titans only managed a late consolation TD through Ian Harrison, with Dec Boydell adding the XP as the Crows won 34-20.
The Titans then took on the Warhawks – the first meeting earlier in the season was a shoot-out, with Manchester winning 40-34. Missing some key players from that game, the Warhawks struggled offensively and Ian Allonby managed to record a Titans single game record of 6 sacks of the Wigan QB. Offensively, the Titans were smooth, scoring on most drives and rotating in all the 15 player squad. Mead threw 6 TDs, McInally caught 2 and scored on a pick 6. There were also TDs for Elliott, Monk, Ben Nuttall and Luke Ogbogu who was playing in his first ever flag tournament. Centre Jay Pitchford added 2 more XPs to add to his team leading 18 as the Titans coasted to a 46-19 win.
As well as qualifying for the playoffs, the Titans received some more good news in the next game as the Crows lost narrowly to the Cavs 43-41 to keep the Titans lead in the MEC Central at 2 games. With games against the Darlington Steam and Mansfield Honey Badgers on July 9th, the Titans just need one victory to clinch the divisional title.
Standings Courtesy of Pulling the Flag