The Titans’ Adult Contact team travelled to the Select Security Stadium in Widnes on Sunday to take on the Halton Spartans.
Having won the reverse fixture 46-0 back in May, the Titans were confident of improving their record to 7-0 on a blisteringly hot day. Halton won the toss and chose to receive and Titans kicker Matt Kinsey putt the ball into the end zone for a touchback on what would be a strong day for the Titans’ kicking units. Halton made yards on the ground but could not get the first down as a sack from Charlie Dixon forced them to punt and the Titans offense took over on their own 34 yard line.
It took just one play for the Titans to get on the board, running back Ryan Newton made good yards on a run to the left behind the Titans imperious offensive line before he cut back and broke two tackles to go all the way for a 56 yard touchdown. Newton then also converted the extra point to give the Titans an early 7-0 lead.
Halton were able to advance the ball on their next possession, tackles from first linebacker Phil Carson and then safety James Dean preventing big gains. The Titans defence eventually stopped the drive as the defensive line stepped up, first Matt McCormack and then Andrew Burridge registering sacks. The game would get bogged down with no further score in the first quarter as both teams suffered with penalties and exchanged punts.
Tempers would flair with a Halton player being ejected on the Titans next drive before the teams swapped sides for the second quarter. With the ball in the Halton red zone, veteran quarterback Alan Mead found tight-end Stephenson Ardern-Sodje who battled into the end zone courtesy of some impressive YAC. Newton added the extra point and the Titans led 14-0. Another sack from defensive end Burridge meant Halton were forced to punt again.
Starting on their own 25 yard line, a deep pass to receiver James Newnes moved the ball 36 yards. The Titans had two scores called back before Mead eventually found Ryan Newton for a 12 yard touchdown. Newton made the third of what would be eight successful extra point attempts from a possible eight to make the score 21-0. Mid-way through the second quarter now and the Spartans offense found some rhythm behind strong running from their twin backs.
A large gain on an inside run brought a touchdown saving tackle from cornerback Steve Spence before the Titans thought they had turned the ball over as Ainsley Battel intercepted a deep ball into the corner. The play was called back for roughing the passer which gave Halton 1st and goal from where they were able to convert. The extra point was blocked as Halton made it 21-6. The touchdown was the first time in 19 quarters of football that the Titans defence had conceded.
The Titans’ offense responded immediately. Despite a 5 yard penalty pushing them back to their own 15 yard line, Mead launched a bomb downfield for Newnes which resulted in a 42 yard gain. Running back Matt Kinsey then moved the ball into the Halton red-zone and from the 20 yard line James Newnes was able to run the ball home for the score. After the play a second Halton player was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty meant that the Titans were kicking off from the halfway line and Kinsey executed the perfect onside kick which rookie receiver Ben Nuttall recovered.
Another two scores were called back before Ste Kimmins bulled the ball home behind a thunderous block from offensive lineman Rick Hurst. Time would expire on Halton’s next drive and the Titans led 35-6 at half time. Halton kicked off the second half and this time led by quarterback Chris Payne the Titans moved into the red zone before failing to convert on 4th down. Starting on their own 14 yard line Halton were unable to move the ball as line-backer Adam Newton stopped the run on 3rd down and they punted deep into the Titans half.
Starting on their 28 yard line, Payne passed to Richards who took the ball 56 yards to the house behind great blocking from Newnes and Ardern-Sodje. The score was now 42-6 meaning we went to a rolling clock. From the ensuing kick-off Halton were pinned down inside their 10 yard line after a great tackle from Newnes on the 22 yard line and a flag on the play moved them backwards. On the first play McCormack forced a fumble which was swallowed up by Mike McGougan on the ground and three plays later the Titans had scored again, once again through Kimmins, this time following OL Liam Twigg into the endzone, making the score 49-6.
Into the 4th quarter and the Titans defence was in full shutdown mode, former Junior player and rookie at this level Nathan Chrimes made a tackle on the line of scrimmage before the Titans secondary was able to shut down the Halton passing game. The Titans final score came from a drive starting at halfway, running backs Adim Irozuru and another former junior player David ‘Scrappy’ Blake moved the ball 43 yards downfield before Chris Payne snuck home for the touchdown from the 2 yard line. Newton sent his eight extra point conversion sailing between the uprights and the Titans wrapped up a 56-6 victory to pick up their seventh win of the season and remain undefeated in 2015. Manchester’s next game is home to the Carlisle Sentinels on Sunday 19th July at AJ Bell Stadium.