Tournament 1 Game 1
Birmingham Lions Vs. Cheshire Bears (48-0)
After 18 months, multiple lockdowns and a global pandemic, on Saturday we could finally say that Football is back! It has been a long, tough road for our players, coaches and staff, but nothing has excited us more than coming back together to play the game we all know and love.
First up is our game against the Birmingham Lions. We knew from the get-go that playing the most decorated Women’s American Football team in the UK was not going to be easy, but we weren’t going down without a fight and giving the Lions a taste of Bears football.
Lion’s won the coin toss and elected to receive.
The Bears defence, led by captain Megan Delaney 92, took to the field. With the first snap, the Lions ran the ball making a few short yards before being tackled by LB Holly Hughes 44. On second down, with the Lions QB not taking any chances, they ran the ball to the end zone for a Touchdown. XP good, Lions 7-0 Bears.
Next up to take the field was the Bears offence, led by captain and QB Laura Hughes 10. An incomplete pass, to RB/Receiver Hannah Roberts 16, was not the start we had hoped for. Following a couple of small runs on second and third down, the Lions intercepted a deep pass on fourth down and returned it for a TD. XP good. Lions 14-0 Bears.
With the offence back on the field, the Bears were denied a first down by the Lions defence. The Bears defence were back in, but with an intelligent play on fourth down, the Lions were able to score another TD. XP is good, making the score now Lions 21-0 Bears.
The Bears offence took to the field again, fourth down resulting in an incomplete pass to WR Natalie Kelly 81, just short of the first down marker. With the defence back on, LB Holly Hughes 44 was there once again with a big tackle; unfortunately on second down the Lions ran the ball to the end zone for another TD. XP good, Lions 28-0 Bears.
The Lions defence once again denied the Bears offence a first down. With the defence back on the field, Rookie LB Kay Watson 38 made an incredible tackle taking the drive to second down. A run play from the Lions, saw rookies LB Molly Bryson 46 and DB Ellie Coleman 28 track down the RB to make a superb gang tackle. Incomplete passes on third and fourth down saw the Bears defence deny the Lions a first down, turning the ball back over to our offence for one final drive before halftime.
The Bears offence took to the field to get the second half underway but were denied a first down. The defence was back on the field, and a cheeky trick play took the Lions into the end zone once again, although a flag on the play meant a replay of first down; still Lions 28-0 Bears. This time, DB Belle Hughes 7, LBs Holly Hughes 44 and Kay Watson 38 combined to make the tackle. A big run from the Lions took the ball deep into Bear Territory for a first down. The Lions eventually drove further down the field into our end zone for a TD. XP no good. Lions 34-0 Bears.
The Bears offence were back on the field with their second drive of the half, which ultimately ended in an interception by the Lions defence. With the Bears defence back up, the Lions made a good run for a first down but a flag on the play meant the Lions were pushed further back into their own half for a replay of the first down. Again the Lions made another big run for the first down before being ultimately stopped by LB Holly Hughes 44. The Lions once again found themselves at home in our end zone with a TD. XP good, Lions 42-0 Bears.
The Lions defence denied our offence another first down. The Bears defence returned to the field, and the Lions offence gained the first down. A big tackle from DLine Megan Delaney 92 forced the Lions back into their own half. Another immense Lions run saw them edge closer to our end zone before being tackled just short by LB Oxi Markova 31. The Lions did ultimately finish their final offensive drive in the end zone with a TD. Final score 48 to the Lions.
Bears offence took to the field again for the final time and were unfortunately denied a first down, thus ending our first game of the NWFL 2021 season. Although the score is not the result we wanted, we would like to extend our gratitude to the Birmingham Lions for hosting the first new tournament and putting on such an incredible game, giving us a taste of what to expect in Division 1 football. We cannot wait to play you guys again soon!
Photo by Lewis Cleveland