Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Guest BUAFL Report: Bath Killer Bees @ Cardiff Cobras

 Sent to us by James Fooks, a captain of the Cardiff Cobras, this report gives us a view of the game from the Cobras standpoint.
Last weekend saw the return of a traditional Cardiff rival the Bath Killer Bees to Fortress Llanrumney. As perennial contenders in the division having already secured convincing victories against Aberystwyth and Swansea this season, the Cobras knew their work would be cut out for them. However, fresh off a bye week rest following the 46-6 demolition of Bristol Barracuda, Cardiff were energised coming in to the game.

Conditions were less than ideal!
 The game started with a one minute silence in honour of late Cobras former President and Head Coach, Andy Bate, who tragically passed away last week. Andy will be buried in his Cobras jersey, which really goes to show the impact the club had on him personally and, even 20 years after he took charge of the team, how much he felt a part of the Cobras family. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, some of whom made the game to pay respects, in this difficult time.

The game didn’t go exactly to plan for the Cobras as a poor return off the opening kick-off gave the offense a long field to drive down. Unfortunately, Bath’s strong defensive play caused a 3-and-out, and the ensuing punt was dropped by Kicker Christy Caldwell in the terrible conditions, giving Bath’s offense the ball on Cardiff’s own eight yard line. Despite stopping the first down attempt, Bath scored on a well executed stretch play on the second down and with a good PAT took a 7-0 lead. A better second return off the following kick-off was then negated as QuarterBack Tom Williams took a hit as he threw, sending his pass off target and in to the hands of a Bath defender who returned it to Cardiff’s own six yard line. Again, the disciplined Bath offense ran a stretch to score, but missed the PAT, and took a 13-0 lead. Cardiff, down two scores in as many minutes, had a mountain to climb to maintain their four-season unbeaten home record.

The Cobras never dropped their heads though, and on the very next offensive drive they scored. A combination of solid running by Running Backs Alex Brew and Ayo Akintunde and some incredible passing in the rain and mud eventually led to a passing Touchdown to the baby-faced assassin, Wide Receiver Josh Hurford, whose fantastic TD streak now stretches to five consecutive games! The 2-point attempt failed, but the Cobras were now just one score down at 13-6.

Spurred on by the offense, the defence played with great heart and consistently forced Bath’s pass-heavy offense to punt the ball away, but still the score stayed the same. That was, until two minutes to play to the half when veteran Linebackers Ollie Devon, who caused havoc all day notching up four sacks and a shed load of tackles, and defensive Captain James Fooks perfectly executed a blitz play. Ollie hurtled through the middle of the offensive line, sacking the Bath QuarterBack who fumbled the ball in to the mud. Fooks was first to react, scooping the ball up and managing to stay on his feet before sprinting the 40 yards and outrunning the flailing Bath Running Back in to the endzone for a Touchdown (Ed: One might say it was “Fookin hell” for Bath…): Bath 13 – 12 Cardiff.

Down by just a point, the second half saw more of the same characteristic strong defensive play from both teams, but it was Cardiff who managed to capitalise as the rain continued to pour and the ground churned in to a mud bath. Following a blocked punt, the Cobras’ offense started off with great field position which culminated in a Touchdown for workhorse Alex Brew and Cardiff, for the first time in the game, took the lead narrowly by 18 to 13.

The Cobras managed to hang on to their slender lead as the Bath offense failed to get the ball moving under constant heavy pressure from Cardiff’s defence and, as the final whistle blew, the Cobras erupted in jubilation: that was one of the toughest match-ups they’d have to face all year and to come away with a win, especially after conceding the two early scores was fantastic for the spirit of the team, not to mention the division table!

Cardiff have now wrapped up 2011 undefeated and sit at 3-0 in the league, ready for the next five fixtures in the new year. MVPs went to Alex Brew on offense, James Fooks on defence and Ollie Devon for overall – a real show of strength from the captains and veteran players in leading the team to another victory.

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