What to say about Round 2 of our first Sapphire Series?!
Though we had a fun warm-up to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” (courtesy of Chester Romans we believe), we knew before we even started the games that these two teams would be tough. We have seen these women in action; they hit and run with a lot of power, and have the experience that we just don’t have. Unfortunately we lost to both teams, but nevertheless we scored in both games and continued our streak of scoring in every single game, and learned some new things along the way. With their experience level in mind, scoring against them is certainly a massive achievement in itself.
Onto the first game against Teesside Steelers
Their offensive line-up was certainly challenging. Steelers’ often played with several players in the back field allowing for more blocks once the ball snapped, making blitzing more difficult for linebacker/nosetackle Zoe. Their Offense was also very good at keeping up and blocking with the runner, gaining yards. Nevertheless, Zoe was her usual disruptive self in game 1 and continued to constantly terrorise the Offence and forcing fumbles when she wasn’t making tackles. As the game progressed we saw some spectacular takedowns and swarms from all the defence, though particular mention goes to Defensive MVP Lois. After a takedown in the first half, she follows this up with 3 in a row in the second.
Our offensive guards (Mandy and Vi) and centre (Maria) showed a continuous level of strength and persistence. Maria was rightly highlighted by Teesside after the game for her strength and abilities, and in particular impressive plays were shown by this round’s Offensive MVP Mandy. Time after time, you can see her driving her block back – and quite a distance too! It is this work that, while often un-noticed at the time, sets everything else up. As the line were continuing to holding off the Steelers’ charges, Quarterback Kira was able to make some very impressive throws and hand off some impressive runs for RB Beetle. Throughout game the Steelers’ experienced defence proved difficult for us, but not too difficult for the awesome hands of Ruth who scored two touchdowns. Of course one of those touchdowns was also due to the hard work of Beetle, who was tackled in the end zone – leading to a concentration catch out of her hands and into Ruth’s! Needless to say in those few second our hearts went through at least 3 different emotions.
Game 2 – Cardiff Valkyries vs Chester Romans
And finally, the game against Chester. Offensively we continued to show our determination to gain yards, with most of our runs gaining some space on the field. With special mention to Beetle’s incredibly big heart to push through some very big swarms, she not only put in a solid effort at running back but also played every snap after being asked to play Defence as well. We gained a touchdown with a fantastic pass play to Ruth, who took it home for 6 points. Overall MVP Ruth (as well as in game 1) showed herself to be a real deep threat and was unlucky not to get more scores across the games. However, as with the Teesside Steelers, the Chester Romans’ experience proved very hard to overcome.
On the defensive side, with Zoe out of the second game with a concussion our defensive strategy had to be changed. As the game continued we honed in as a unit to these changes, showing that with persistence and positivity we can progress in a challenging and unknown strategy. Throughout both games – but particularly evident in our game against Chester – our tackling continued to develop in leaps and bounds with some great hits and swarms from vets and rookies alike. Defensive MVP Lois McConville was a growing threat to Chester with several key covering tackles and pass defences made – especially in the second half as our defence settled into a new formation.
What was clear from both of these games is that regardless of the circumstances we refused to give in and continued to play with a big spirit and a strong heart. We continue to play scoring points in every game and having fun doing it, but we are proving that we have the potential to be a very strong team in the upcoming months. It will be a pleasure to play against these teams again one day and see how we have progressed!
Thanks again to the lovely Chester Romans for hosting, and for the goodie-bags they gave everyone!