The Titans fell short in game two of the 2017 Sapphire Series where they faced old adversary Leeds Carnegie, losing 49-22. Behind the running of GB player Gaby Knopps, Leeds set the tone early in what was to be a battle in the trenches between two physical line units. Despite tackles from Becky Lord and Emma McDermott Leeds scored on their opening drive only for the Titans to hit straight back.
Running from Karis Smith and Sian Kersse got the Titans in range. Becky Bingle thought she has scored but the play was brought back only for Kersse to run home behind a huge pancake block from Bingle. Kersse added the 2 point and the Titans briefly led. Leeds hit straight back. Eloise Walsh, Roz Breaks and Ellie Partington made decent tackles but a QB bootleg got Leeds into the endzone.
Back on offense it was again Smith, Bingle and Kersse leading the drive. A tackle for loss by Leeds and a 3rd down left the Titans with a tough 4th and goal that they fell short on. Leeds scored on their first play as Knopps broke clear for another. Back on offense the Titans drove hard. A pass from Ul-Haq to Elliot brought up first down but again they fell short on 4th and goal.
With time expiring in the half tackles from McDermott, Partington, Breaks and Louise Moran kept it 21-7 at half time.
Looking to come back the Titans started the second half strong. A personal foul on 1st down after a strong run by Kersse took the Titans into Leeds territory and two plays later Kersse was in the endzone. It was end-to-end though as once again Knopps found the endzone for Leeds to restore their 14 point lead. The team in blue bounced back showing their resilience. Kersse ran behind the blocking O- line made up of Verity Brawn, Lauren Holden and Kristy-Lee Crompton, and was able to break for 17 and 7 yards.
A facemask penalty gave the Titans 1st and goal on the Leeds 2. Kersse pounded the ball home and converted the two points. Leeds then added two unanswered scores to take the game away from the Titans. The Leeds defence stopped the Titans on 4th and 2 to create the important turnover and make it a 3 score game. Undeterred the Titans drove again, but it was Leeds who turned the ball over and added a final score on the last play leaving the finally tally at 49-22.
The Titans’ women are next in action on March 11th when they host Sapphire Round 2 at The Armitage Centre from 13:00-17:00. They play Birmingham Lions and Hertfordshire Tornados.
All photo’s credit of Duncolm Sports Photography, https://duncolm.smugmug.com/Gridiron/Sapphire17-round1/