Photo by James Brewerton
Week Two Roundup
Though the league expected the Manchester Crows to start the 2016 season with a 1 – 1 – 0 record, the manner in which the day unfolded took everyone but the Maroon Five, by surprise.
Manchester Crows 18 – 19 Sheffield Predators
The Crows 2016 season started with a tough and stingy possession game that ended 19-18 in Sheffield’s favour. The game ebbed with defensive emphasis for the full 40 minutes, with Crows safeties Matt Wilkinson and Nick Harris creating turnovers off of Predators QB Dean Whittingslow.
Even so, the contest came down to the dying seconds – a pass and run to the 2 yard line with 15 seconds left on the clock, seemingly setting up The Crows for the upset, but the play was called back by the officials for an impeding the blitzer penalty against the Crows. On 4th down, after a false start penalty pushed The Crows back to the half way line, Crows QB Talha Javed’s pass to the back corner of the endzone was broken up by the experienced and physical Predators defense.
As the clock wound down on the game, the relief in the Predators camp was palpable – a new rivalry had formed, one built on shut down defences. The Crows next face The Predators on July 30th in Sheffield.
Manchester Crows 42 – 12 Cheshire Cavaliers
After losing GM James Brewerton to a torn hamstring earlier in the day, The Cavaliers were facing an uphill battle against a rowdy Crows squad motivated by redemption. Whilst The Cavs benefited from turnover points after intercepting Crows QB Talha Javed, their injury riddled roster was unable to keep the momentum going. The beginning of the second half saw The Crows regain their composure and turn on the jets, scoring a further three TDs whilst refusing to let up any points. Crows QB Javed continued to impose his will on both sides of the ball, recording the team’s first pick six of the season.
The Cavs and Crows face off again in Week Three.
Week Three Preview
Cheshire Cavaliers 0 – 4 – 0
Although the final score told of a 46-12 defeat to The Crows in Week Two, The Cavaliers are confident they can push their North West rivals to the brink in Week Three. With three Cheshire players having taken part in the Great Britain trials this past weekend, The Cavs certainly have the talent to compete in the division, and when Sunday comes around they will have the motivation to explore their potential.
Doncaster Mustangs 0 – 2 – 0
Though they came up short in two Week One contests, the Mustangs have made quite the impression in the MEC, boasting one of the youngest and most athletic squads in the division. The Crows will need to draw upon their experience in the BAFA league to ensure that the young upstarts do not take advantage of a Crows squad coming off back to back games.
The Mustangs also face the Beeston Bears.
Honey Badgers 3 – 1 – 0
The Crows final game of Week Three is undoubtedly their toughest. The last time the Badgers and The Crows met in BAFA action was at the tail end of the 2015 season, with the contest ending in the franchise’s only draw. Long-time rivals the Honey Badgers, having too lost to the Predators and won against the Cavaliers, will need to best The Crows to make an early season push for one of the division’s playoff spots. With The Crows on their home turf, the game could be decided by the travelling Honey Badger’s squad selection – this is surely a game where any advantage could be the game decider.