Gateshead Senators Youth @ Manchester Titans Youth Sunday 23rd May 2010
The extremely warm weather was great for the good crowd of spectators at Broughton Park on Sunday for the rematch between Gateshead & Manchester, but a little more difficult for the players and very tough for the officials who had already performed in one game in Blackburn already that day.
The Titans were looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Leeds whilst Gateshead were seeking revenge for their opening season-loss to the Titans.
Manchester kicked off and on the first play from scrimmage Gateshead’s RB broken loose down their sideline heading for the endzone – only a last ditch tackle by LB Tom Hargreaves saved the score. However 2 plays later the Senators punched the ball in for a TD. A strong tackle by LB Ste McGrath prevented the 2PAT attempt.
The Titans received the ball but were unable to make a first down and were forced to punt back to Gateshead. The Senator’s powerful running game again drove the ball down the field for another rushing touchdown which they converted to make the score 14-0.
Manchester’s offense again went 3 & out but the Titans Defense forced the Senators to punt to conclude the 1st Quarter.
Behind the strong running of RB Tom Higham the Titans moved the ball 60 yards down the field – the key play being a 23 yard catch and run by WR George Warren which set up Tom Higham’s 2yard TD run. The PAT was blocked leaving the score at 14-6.
However through a combination of good running and missed tackles Gateshead drove the ball 53 yards down the field cumulating with a 35 yard TD run. But DL Luke Kershaw stopped the 2PAT attempt.
Neither team could move the ball and the half finished with the score 20-6 in favour of Gateshead.
Despite Manchester driving the ball to the Gateshead 25 yard on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter on the running of Higham , 3 straight incomplete passes from QB Matt Blinkhorn turned the ball over on downs. The Titans Defence was now starting to get to grips with the Senators Double Wing Offence and forced them to punt twice. Although the 3rd Quarter was scoreless, the Titans were again moving the ball to start the 4th.
With Blinkhorn completing passes to WR Warren, TEs Matt Nelan & Shane Mageean plus Higham out of the backfield, the Titans moved the ball to the Gateshead 24 yard line when a Blinkhorn pass bounced off the fingertips of Nelan into the hands of the Senators safety.
Gateshead made the Titans pay with a 50 yard TD run and 2PAT to extend the lead to 28-6. However Manchester weren’t finished and again the Offense marched down the field with passes to Mageean, Higham, Nelan before Blinkhorn hit Warren with an 8 yard TD pass. Nelan kicked the conversion to bring the scoreline to 28-14.
Manchester attempted an onside kick and although Nelan’s kick took a wicked bounce and despite a phenomenal effort by DL Alex Reilly to recover the Senators held onto the ball and ran out the clock to even their record to 1-1.
The Titans drop to 1-2 but they’ve had a shot to win in every game so far so the next victory will not be far away. Team Manager Verity Brawn said after the game “I’m really proud of my boys – they never gave up.” Head Coach Alan Mead commented “Disappointed with the loss. We were missing some players with injuries and exams but Gateshead have a good team and they punished our mistakes.” The Titans next match is on June 13th, again at home at Broughton Park, against local rivals Lancashire Wolverines.
Offence: Tom Higham 11 rushes for 36 & 1 TD plus 4 catches for 26 yards
Defence: Luke Kershaw 5 tackles and great hustle all over the field.
Special Teams: George Warren 3 kick-offs for 55 yards plus 5 catches for 52 yards & 1 TD.