Photo by Rob Connor
The 2017 season started off with mixed results for The Crows ending the first gameday with 2 wins against Wigan Warhawks and Cheshire Cavaliers and a closely fought loss against city rivals, Machester Titans, leaving The Crows in second place in the MEC Central Division (2-1-0).
Week 2 – Conference Games
Saturday 6th May
As previously warned the loss to the Manchester Titans in the divisional games has put The Crows on notice; chase the number 1 seed and win by all means necessary.
CALDERDALE KNIGHTS 0-3-0
(2016 record: 1-15-0)
First up on Gameday 2 are Calderdale Knights ,whom The Crows beat 45-14 in the 2016 matchup: An entertaining game that saw the Ron Burgun-D come perilously close to outscoring the Maroon 5 offence.
The young and athletic Knights will test the defensive tackling skills of The Crows more than most teams this season. The tricky Calderdale offense led by QB Matthew Wilkinson (no, not that Matt Wilkinson) is certainly unafraid to utilise the run game; with gimmick plays opening up the field for the Yorkshire Whippets.
The available height and strength on The Crows offence should work in their favour, expect contesting balls in the endzone. QB Talha Javed and WR James Durham will be hoping to exceed the 3 TD’s they teamed up for in this contest last season.
This game is going to be all about concentration and patience on both sides of the ball for The Crows – getting the fundamental tackles right on defense will be the decider.
SHEFFIELD GIANTS 3-0-0
(2016 record: 16-0-0)
Next up are the Sheffield Giants (formerly Sheffield Predators). Unbeaten in 2016, the Giants have started the 2017 season on the same winning note, despite losing several of their big names in the offseason.
The Crows played The Giants twice last year, losing out on both occasions in two closely fought matches. The first by a single point (18-19) in a game which had a match winning touchdown in the last 15 seconds ruled out for The Crows.
The Crows will come into this game full of confidence after running The Giants close on both occasions last year. Another year wiser and with more weapons at their disposal The Crows will be looking to take advantage of any cracks which might show among the new look Sheffield Giants.
DARLINGTON STEAM 1-2-0
(2016 record: 1-15-0)
The final game of the day comes against Darlington Steam. The Crows dropped a fifty burger on The Steam last season beating them 54-0 with QB Javed putting in a monstrous performance throwing 7 TDs to a number of targets.
It wasn’t just the offence scoring in last years fixture, with CB Ronan McAleenan grabbing 3 interceptions in the game, returning two for pick 6s! There should have been a third pick 6 in the game, this time for Defensive Coordinator Nick Harris but this got ruled out due to a post-INT penalty – an infamous story due to the ‘Meet the Crows Monday’ segments.
A young Darlington squad with talent on both sides of the ball showed a lot of potential and class in losing last season and should provide a tougher challenge this time round.
The Crows will be full of confidence going into Week 2 after a promising start in Week 1, where they were 5 points away from a 3-0-0 record. There will be potential to rack up some big scores and increase their point difference whilst setting themselves well on the road to the postseason.