Match report courtesy of Nathan @ http://www.dblcoverage.com
The Railroaders took a depleted squad to Manchester and the Titans’ new home at the Salford City Stadium to try and build upon their 22-6 win over the Staffordshire Surge a fortnight before.
The Titans meanwhile were looking to get their campaign underway after their disastrous 0-10 Division 1 season in 2011 where injuries, retirements and a squad mainly built up of rookies took their toll.
The junior Manchester side lost 31-0 to the Lancashire Wolverine Colts before this game but the seniors had the reverse fortune come the 3:30pm kick off.
The home team kicked away to start the game and Crewe looked set to drive well behind quarterback Chris Wainman who impressed early on through the air. He found holes in the Titans’ inexperienced coverage but then the Manchester D stepped up and forced a fumble through Joe Hutton, which they then recovered.
Alan Mead, one of the more experienced players on this side, led his offence out for the first time and then drove the length of the field before Jonathan Gago punched in for a short rushing touchdown. The XP attempt hit the post and bounced out to give the home team 6-0.
Crewe once again drove the ball well into Manchester territory with Wainman airing it out well but stalled before turning the ball over on downs. The Crewe D headed out but got shredded on just the second play of the drive as Mead pitched right to Nick Copley who ran 69 yards for the touchdown. However, the new ruling on celebrating going into the end zone pulled back the play. It didn’t matter though as Copley ran it in again from the 15. This time the PAT was good to push the score to 13-0.
Crewe’s mistakes were killing their otherwise superb play. This time Wainman, who showed a lot of promise on the day, threw a pick straight to Hutton who had a big day on D. And as Crewe continued to kill themselves, Manchester continued to punish them as Mead hit wide receiver Adam Simms deep for another TD. With the PAT good the score sat at 20-0.
But Crewe proved they were not dead, hitting Manchester back immediately with a deep score of their own with Wainman hitting Dan Ratcliffe who ran superbly after the catch, breaking a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone. The PAT was blocked. 20-6.
Scott Waterworth, running back, opened the next drive with a superb run, weaving, cutting and breaking tackles as he battled for another score. The XP was tacked on, 27-6 Manchester.
A couple of exchanges in possession followed before the Titans began to establish the ground and pound, changing backs and keeping Crewe’s D on its toes. Dave Barnett finished the drive with a 13 yard TD run to make the score 34-6 after the XP.
Crewe lined up to punt after a 3 and out on the next drive but Manchester’s D put in a big block to give themselves great field position!
Barnett punched in another TD to follow, which gave the Manchester Titans a 41-6 half time lead over the Railroaders.
Crewe looked a deflated team but continued to fight against the Titans but in vain. Manchester quickly added TDs with a deep pass to Ben Barker that blew coverage and a short rushing effort from Alan Mead, taking the score to 54-6.
A forced fumble and recovery gave the home team the ball yet again before Ross Profit ran strongly, breaking a few tackles, en route to another 6 points. With a successful XP the score was taken to 61-6.
The D stood up to Crewe again and turned the ball back over. The Titan O headed back into scoring territory but the Railroaders stood strong themselves. On 4th down Manchester lined up for a FG but a high snap was converted with TE Chris Heap catching the pass and battling through the D for another score. 68-6.
The Crewe Railroaders managed to get a consolation touchdown against Manchester’s reserves who were now out on every drive. Wainman hit Ratcliffe again with a decent pass before Ant Hollinshead added the XP.
The Titans were not done scoring though as Nick Copley and Matt Brown added two further touchdowns on the ground ending the game a final score of 82-13.
The early mistakes from Crewe really killed them off and the depleted squad meant they tired in the second half, whereas Manchester had the numbers to keep fresh legs on the field at all times. Manchester look set to be early Division 2 Central favourites alongside the Sheffield Predators who are yet to play a game after their game with Staffordshire was postponed.