Photo by Katie Harris
- A murder of 13 Crows flocked to Crewe on Sunday to open up the brand new 2017 BAFA Season and play their first batch of MEC Central Divisional Games.
Week 1 – Divisional Games
Sunday 9th April
Manchester Crows 34 – 18 Cheshire Cavaliers
The Cheshire Cavaliers now with one season under their belt, began the gameday looking to capitalise on the great potential they had shown for the future. The Crows began quickly on offense with a quick TD to “Mr. GB” wide receiver Matt Wilkinson, followed by linebacker Nigel Li sacking the Cavs QB for a safety on the very first Crows defensive play. The improving skill of the Cavs became evident though, as by the half The Crows were managing a one score lead.
The second half was much different though as The Crows settled in and refused to give up any more big plays. Clutch grabs from wide receivers James Durham and Craig Armitage had them both finding the endzone twice each. A great blitzing effort from Zalan Toth saw the Hungarian Mon-star bat up an XP attempt by the Cavs, squashing any hopes of a comeback by returning it to the house for 2 points.
Manchester Crows 40 – 45 Manchester Titans
One of the most anticipated games on The Crows schedule each year, the Manchester derby against the Titans. A friendly rivalry bore from similar beginnings, The Crows were previous owners of a 100% winning record; one that they did not take for granted. Undoubtedly one of the best offensive games of the day saw both teams swapping scores constantly, with neither defense able to keep the opposing QBs out of the endzone. Crows QB Talha Javed threw TDs to an impressive 5 different receivers.
The change in momentum came when James Durham made a beautiful sideline interception to halt the Titans scoring streak. An offensive miscommunication caused the unthinkable to happen as The Crows gave the ball back to Titans in their own half the very next series, for what was their only interception of the day. The ensuing score sealed the victory and for the first time in Crows history they fell short to the Titans.
Manchester Crows 63 – 27 Wigan Warhawks
After a brief recovery period The Crows lined up against the pie loving lunatics from Wigan, a team full of confidence and rightly so having made the playoffs the previous season and winning silverware earlier in the offseason. Wigan had played well during the day as well, soundly beating the Cavaliers and falling a TD short to the Titans.
The quick pace of the Warhawks managed to catch The Crows off guard in the first half, leaving the scoreline with 2 points. Tensions were high on both sides of the field, as the divisional leading Titans had beaten both sides – Wigan were left a defensive starter short at the end of the first due to an ejection. An inspired halftime talk from Head Coach James Durham and a rare appearance by Crows mascot Tony Cromo lifted the squad to a different level in the second, where the Maroon 5 threw up 6 more TDs and the Ron Burgun-D capitalised on the increased Wigan pressure with sacks and an interception for cornerback Nick Harris (#1 of his 23 INT goal).
3 scores for new Crows WR Gregory Hollin, and 3 more from Matt Wilkinson helped The Crows exorcise their demons and finish the day with a dominant showing.
The Crows got off to a slow start on the day, finding their footing toward the end of the day. Hubris aside, the improvements of all MEC teams is encouraging for the league, and leaves the Team with that extra bit of motivation going forward. Limiting mistakes and realising their full potential will be key to the Manchester Crows locking up the MEC Central.