Lanarkshire Longhorns vs Manchester Titans Juniors 15/04/2012

Manchester Titans Junior team opened their 2012 season with a long road trip to Scotland to take on Lanarkshire who beat them 48-0 in the corresponding fixture in 2011. Despite the loss of several players to local rivals, Lancashire Wolverines, the Titans had recruited many new players and a great squad of coaches for the upcoming season and were feeling confident for their first game.

The Titans kicked off to the Longhorns and despite Lanarkshire picking up a couple of first downs, Manchester’s defense stiffened and forced a punt giving the Titans great field position at their own 44 yard line. An offside penalty and a 6 yard run by FB Jake Currie gave the Titans their 1st first down of the season. Another penalty and a Ross Aveyard run moved the ball to the Longhorns 30 but QB Ryan Gannon’s first pass intended for WR Dan Johnson was intercepted, ending a promising drive.
The Longhorns next drive was slowed by a 4 yard tackle for loss by DE Luke Mitchell-Taylor and a sack by LB Paul Morrison forcing a punt. Gannon quickly got the Titans moving with a 12 yard pass to Currie who then ran for 10 yards and another first down. However the drive stalled again in Longhorns territory and the Titans were forced to punt.

Outstanding pressure on the Longhorns QB by DE Tom Hargreaves, firstly with an 11 yard sack and then with a 7 yard tackle for lost, forced another Longhorns punt but the Titans could only go 3 and out despite the good field position.
On Lanarkshire next series, more pressure from Hargreaves resulted in a 10 yard sack for DT Bruce Sibanda, which in turn led to the 4th Longhorns punt of the first half. Defenses continued to rule with the Titans and Longhorns exchanging punts and the half finished as Gannon’s desperation pass was intercepted, leaving the scores tied 0-0.

Aveyard muffed the 2nd half kick-off, leaving the Titans backed up on their own 12 yard line. Gannon was sacked on 3rd down forcing another punt with the Longhorns returned all the way back to the Manchester 4 yard line. 2 plays later the Longhorns QB sneaked in from 3 yards out for the opening score. The snap on the XP was fumbled but the Lanarkshire holder still managed to evade several Titans defenders to run in the 2PAT conversion. 8-0 to the Longhorns.

Hargreaves came in to replace the injured Gannon on the next drive and ran 13 yards with the fumbled snap on the first play. However, he lost the snap on the 2nd play also, Uchenna Aniedu recovered for the Titans but was then hit and fumbled, gifting the ball to Lanarkshire on the Manchester 29. On 3rd & 8, a pass was thrown up for grabs and caught by the Longhorns receiver before being tackled by DB Jack Brymer at the 1 yard line. The Lanarkshire QB sneaked in for his 2nd TD on the next play. The Longhorns again converted the 2 point attempt making the score 16-0.

After the kickoff, a 19 yard run by Aveyard moved the ball to midfield but the drive stalled after Currie’s 20 yard run was called back due to a holding penalty and on 3rd and 22, Hargreaves pass was intercepted. The Longhorns then drove 55 yards to end the 3rd quarter on a 6 yard TD run. The extra point failed and the score was 22-0.

Neither team was able to score in the 4th Quarter and the Longhorns eventually took a knee to end the game, with the final score 22-0. A disappointing defeat for the Titans but a marked improvement on last year’s result. Manchester’s next game is away to Leeds on April 29th.
Titans standout players were Tom Hargreaves, Bruce Sibanda and Jake Currie – with rookie FB & LB Currie being named MVP by the coaching staff.

Juniors Current Standings:

[standings league_id=6]