Gateshead Juniors @ Titans Juniors 26/06/11

On a hot day in Manchester, the Titans hosted a Double-Header against the Gateshead Senators, with both the Junior & Senior teams playing. First up were the Juniors. With the ambulance late arriving, kickoff was delayed by 45 minutes but the Senators gave early indication of their powerful running game with a 29 yard run on the game’s first play. 3 plays later they broke another long gainer – this time 58 yards for the games first points. The 2PAT conversion was good, giving Gateshead an 8-0 lead.

Disaster struck on the Titan’s first play as QB Luke Carlton was tackled awkwardly and was forced to leave the game with a season-ending knee injury. The Titans punted away the ball but their defense stepped up with a pass deflection by CB Ben Allen and then an interception by DB Aaron Chambers.

Backup QB Matt Blinkhorn started a good drive with a 7 yard completion to WR Tom Marsh and then picked up a first down with a 7 yard scramble. A 6 yard run by RB Roger Assifuah moved the ball to the Titans 34 but then the offense started going backwards with sack and a fumble recovered by OL Lee Bailey forcing another punt.

Matt Nelan’s 52 yard punt left Gateshead starting on their own 24 yard line but they went 66 yards on 7 rushes for another TD and successful conversion making the score 16-0 at the beginning of the 2nd Quarter.

But Blinkhorn led the Titans on a 70 yard drive featuring completions of 22 yards to WR Dan Johnson, 11 yards to WR Matt Lomax, 11 yards to WR Jake Gallagher, before finding WR Alex Hamer behind the Gateshead Defense for a 32 yard score. The conversion failed leaving the score 16-6.

However there was still time for each time to have 2 more possessions in the first half – the Senators scored rushing TDs on both of them – from 42 yards out and 79 yards out. Manchester failed to score on either leaving the score 30-6 at half-time.

The Titans got the ball first in the 2nd half and thanks to a great return by Tom Higham, started on the Gateshead 27 yard line. Hamer’s 17 yard catch gave them a 1st and Goal and from their Dan Johnson scored on Blinkhorn’s 2nd TD pass of the game from 15 yards out. 30-12.

However with the Titans trying to get back into the game they took many chances which Gateshead capitalised on, and the Senators scored rushing TDs on all four of their possessions in the 2nd half. With the Titans battling injuries to 4 offensive linemen they were unable to trouble the scoreboard any further and the game finished 54-12 to Gateshead.

So despite holding Gateshead without a single completed pass all game, the Titans just couldn’t contain the Senators rushing attack and now must prepare for next week’s visit by Leeds Varsity Bobcats to Aldwinians on Sunday 3rd July at 12noon.

Titans MVPs

Offense – Matt Blinkhorn – 18 of 30 passing & 2 TDs in his first game back.
Honourable Mentions – Luke Kershaw, stepping in at Centre and doing a very good job. Alex Hamer, 4 catches & a score. Dan Johnson, excellent TD catch in first game.

Defense – Gordon Cheung – 9 tackles, 4 Asst. All over the park.
Honourable Mention – James Johnson – first game at DE – forced Gateshead to put their best blocker on him or run away from him.

Special Teams – Matt Nelan, good job punting all game.
Honourable Mention – Tom Higham, on the one return he judged & caught properly, he made a great return.