The Titans hosted their 2017 Home Flag Tournament in typical Manchester weather, and the constant rain played havoc with offenses all day long with dropped passes and errant throws marking a day when GB Flag Head Coach Alan Young came down to see the talent on display. What he did see was a very efficient display by probably the top team in the MEC, the Sheffield Giants as they won all 3 of their games to maintain their unbeaten record.
The Titans and Giants went head to head in the opening game of the tournament with both offenses matching each other for the opening half. Manchester scored touchdowns by Rick McEwen, David McInally and Ian Harrison plus a pair of extra points by Jay Pitchford. However the Giants pulled away in the 2nd half as the Titans defense could find no answer for Sheffield’s GB pairing of Dean Whittingslow and Josh Allen as the pair combined for 4 TDs. A consolation TD for McInally was the Titans only response as they went down 51-26 for their 2nd loss of the season. On the other pitch, Nottingham Bears defeated the Wigan Warhawks 26-20.
The next 2 games included a comfortable victory for the Giants over the Darlington Steam 49-0, and the Calderdale Knights beating the Bears 26-12.
Manchester then faced the Knights with QB Alan Mead throwing 5 TD passes to McInally (2), Harrison, Pitchford and Dec Boydell with Pitchford (2) and McInally adding extra points. However Mead also threw 4 interceptions which kept the game close. But the Titans defense recorded 5 sacks including 2 by rookie Ian Allonby to hold the Knights to just 1 offensive score. Titans won 33-14, whilst the Warhawks beat the Steam 41-18.
In the final games of the day Sheffield destroyed the Warhawks by a score of 68-7 as the Titans took on the Bears. Games between the two teams have always been high scoring and this one didn’t disappoint. Bears QB Gareth Lucyszyn threw 5 TDs but Mead outduelled him with 7 TDs, with Ryan Farrell (2), Pitchford (2), McInally, U17s player Max Gracie-Ainscough and Titans Women’s Team player Jessica Elliott also scoring. Defensively Rick McEwen added another Pick 6 to the one from the last tournament, with Jordan Parker and Marko Mirčeta also recording interceptions. Nick-Nige Weston got his team leading 4th sack of the season as the Titans won 54-33 to improve to 7-2 on the season.
With the cross town rivals The Crows losing 2 games at their home tournament, the Titans now have a 2 game lead in the MEC Central with 5 games to play. The two teams face each other next month in Wigan which could decide the division title.