With a rare Sunday Flag fixture, the Manchester Titans Adult Flag Team had the luxury of winning a divisional title without even playing. With The Crows losing to the Newcastle Blackhawks on Saturday 8th July, it meant that the Titans could not be caught and were crowned MEC Central Division Champions. There was still the matter of the last 2 games of the season though, and Manchester opened up against the Darlington Steam at the tournament held in Sheffield.
The Darlington only turned up with 6 players and towards the end of the game, they did seem to run out of steam (pun intended) whilst despite the Titans missing several key players, they still had 13 players to rotate in the hot weather.
The Steam opened up with a quick TD, and the Titans matched them, driving the length of the field for QB Alan Mead to find Vicky Evans for her first TD in Flag. The Women’s Contact Team player had been a mainstay throughout the season with her clutch catches but up to this point had failed to find the endzone. Jay Pitchford added the XP as the Titans took the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. A Pick 6 by Jordan Parker was next, with Rick McEwen adding the point after. Then Mead found Pitchford in the endzone on 4th down for the first of his 3 TDs on the day. Darlington added another score, but the Titans defense took control and 2 interceptions from Leigh Kerrigan plus another pick 6 from McEwen sealed a comfortable 40-12 win, giving the Titans 10 wins on the season.
Next up for the Titans were the Mansfield Honey Badgers, a team who usually qualify for the playoffs but this season were suffering from an up & down season. After Jordan Parker went down with a nasty looking knee injury, the Titans Defense, already missing Marko Mirceta, Julie Gilmour and David McInally, struggled to contain the Badgers deep passing attack which saw Simon Denning find Charlie Paterson for 4 TDs. In reply, the Titans could only muster a pair of TDs from Hallam Monk with Dec Boydell and Rick McEwen adding the extra points. Ian Allonby did add another sack to finish his rookie season with a team-leading 10 sacks, but the Titans went down 33-14 to finish 10-4 on the season.
The divisional title is a strong validation of the work the Titans have done on their flag team in 2017. While they have competed in the BAFA Flag leagues over the past 3 seasons, this is the first time they have had dedicated training days and coaching staff. Full credit to Rick McEwen and Alan Mead who had led the team, successfully combining the Women’s and Men’s flag teams into a winning side.
The Titans, as MEC Central Division Champions will now travel up to Scotland for the Northern Playoffs to be held in Glasgow on August 5th.