The Manchester Titans Adult Contact team kicked off their 2017 season with a dominant 41-0 shutout win over the Doncaster Mustangs.
While Manchester’s offense scored six touchdowns, it was the defense that was the star of the show, holding last year’s Division One playoff 5th seed to zero points while recording four interceptions along the way.
It wasn’t all easy going for Manchester, however. After the Titans offense sputtered for the first two drives, Doncaster drove down the field quickly, but the Titans D rallied and the combined efforts of Andrew Burridge, Charles Dixon and Rick Hurst blocked a Mustangs field goal attempt.
The Titans Offense threw and interception on their next drive but the defense stepped up again and took the ball straight back as Safety Dave Barnett batted an errant throw straight into the waiting hands of Linebacker Adam Newton.
The Titans offense, featuring a brand new offensive scheme and influx of new talent, made the most of the opportunity. Sam Bloomfield fired deep to find an open Adam Bamber for a 36-yard touchdown.
The offense was now rolling, with excellent blocks from George Slade and Bamber allowing Luc Kinder to take a screen pass to the house. Bamber’s efforts were rewarded again on the next series as he capped off a nine play, 55-yard drive with his second score of the day after strong running from the Titans Spanish Bull, Jonathan Pan Gago
The defense continued to be a thorn in the side of Doncaster’s offense, with an interception from veteran DB James Dean and a resolute goal line stand held the Mustangs scoreless, giving the Titans a 21-0 lead at the half.
Manchester picked up where they left off in the third quarter, with Bloomfield finished off his four touchdown day by hitting Titans U19 alumnus WR James Newnes deep down the left sideline and #22 took the ball to patdirt.
Not to be outdone, the Titans defense took the ball straight back, with Barnett making a phenomenal catch in traffic to pick off the Mustangs quarterback. Five plays later the Mustangs would be punished, as workhorse Joe Nicholson pounded the ball home to cap a strong day in the backfield.
One drive later, the Titans put the rolling clock into effect when Chris Payne rolled to his left and somehow squeezed the ball to Titans Flag player Ian Harrison to push the Titans to 41 on the day.
Cornerback Matt Wells capped off a ferocious team defensive performance with the team’s fourth interception of the game and to give Head Coach Pete Birds his first win of the season.
The Titans now sit at 1-0 and are the early pacesetters in the NFC 1 North. You can watch their next game live 7th May at the National Speedway stadium as they take on the West Coast Trojan. Tickets are available here.