The Manchester Titans Adult Contact Team opened their 2016 season, in Division One, with a tough match up against the Yorkshire Rams at Burnage Rugby Club on Sunday and emerged 25-8 winners.
As Double Coverage’s game of the week, the newly promoted Titans were the underdogs facing the former Premiership Team from Yorkshire, but through a fantastic defensive performance and a productive offensive day, they managed to record their first “actual” win of the season.
With Clyde Valley dropping out of the league just before the season began, Manchester already had a 2-0 record, thanks to walkover victories in both of those games. The Rams meanwhile had beaten West Coast Trojans 16-0 and Gateshead Senators 32-12 to record a 4-0 start to the season.
Yorkshire received the kickoff and despite picking up a couple of first downs were forced to punt by a tough, “bend but don’t break” Titans Defense,
Manchester, using the power running of Jonathan Pan Gago, Adim Irozuru and rookie Garry Maybanks drove the ball down the field before QB Alan Mead threw a 23 yard pass into the endzone for WR George Slade to score his first Touchdown for the Titans.
Yorkshire were unable to get past the half way line thanks to some great defense from Veterans LB Rob Bainbridge & DB James Dean and were again forced to punt. On their next drive, Mead found TE Ste Kimmins from 24 yards out for the score and a 12-0 lead.
The second quarter was scoreless as both defenses held the respective offenses in check. A highlight for the Titans included James Newnes’ block of a Rams Field Goal attempt, with LB Adam Newton recovering the ball and returning it 20 yards.
The Titans received the 2nd half kick off but five plays later a fumble gifted the Rams possession on the Titans 30 yard line. They drove down to the Manchester 1, but the Titans Defense refused to break with a superb goal-line stand. Starting from their own 4 yard line, Manchester’s offense then drove 86 yards in 16 plays which took most of the 3rd quarter, culminating in Mead’s 3rd TD pass, an 11 yarder to TE Kimmins. Ben Nuttall kicked the extra point for a 19-0 lead.
The 4th quarter started with the Titans Offence driving again, this time 70 yards in 13 plays for Kimmins hat-trick of TDs, this time from 19 yards out.
A fortunate roll on a Yorkshire punt, left Manchester pinned on their own 1 yard line, and a strong tackle on Maybanks knocked the ball loose for Yorkshire’s Alex Hughes to recover for a TD. The Rams added the 2 point conversion for the final score of 25-8.
Statistically, Manchester’s offense recorded 366 yards and TE Ste Kimmins had 6 catches for 111 yards and 3 TDs, whilst RB Jonathan Pan Gago had 19 carries for 85 yards.
Defensively, DB Ainsley Battel had 8 solo tackles and 2 assists, and DE Andrew Burridge recorded 3 QB Sacks.
The Titans now host the Gateshead Senators on Sunday 15th May, at their usual venue of AJ Bell Stadium, kick off is around 2.30pm, following the U19s game vs Chorley which kicks off at 12noon.
Picture courtesy of Dave Simister.