Tuesday, 20 November 2012

UCLan Rams down the Eagles

Images and article courtesy of Nathan Sharrocks

A hard fought battle ended in a UCLan victory in their first competitive American football game. The team itself was a long time in the making, with the committee members putting in a lot of work to get the Rams up and running so it was great to see their perseverance rewarded on the field.

The Rams started badly, throwing an early interception, with MMU’s Chris Pullin getting the pick.
However the home team’s defence turned up the heat, with Chris Anderson recovering the ball immediately, diving on a fumbled snap.

A few exchanges followed, with neither side able to impose themselves on the other.

The offence finally began to roll, with running back Joe Nicholson and quarterback Jamie Coulston running strongly together on the option plays.

However MMU stopped them again, and Anderson missed the field goal attempt, leaving the score at 0-0 heading into the second quarter.

Stephen Lythgoe and Sam Bloomfield racked up back-to-back sacks to pin the Eagles deep and a great punt return resulted in the Rams starting on Manchester’s 30-yard line. The offence turned the ball over on downs but MMU were deep in their half.

Tom Hargreaves threw a pick on the next play, Anderson turning the ball over yet again, but this time returning it for six with some great blocking in front of him.

Bloomfield and Emmanuel Salami grabbed a pick each for the Rams whilst Tim Griffin grabbed one for MMU to wrap up what was a defensive first half.

The Eagles started the second half much brighter, driving the ball downfield strongly until the Rams stepped up in the redzone. The field goal attempt was fluffed, with Anderson dragging down the kicker to turn the ball back over to the home side.

Exchanges followed before Anderson, who had a great game, blocked an MMU punt, giving the Rams the ball on the away side’s 2-yard line. After failing along the ground, the Rams took to the air, with Coulston hitting Bloomfield for a touchdown.

The Rams led 12-0 but proceedings were soured slightly with a bad lower back injury to MMU’s Chris Pullin resulting in a long delay whilst he was stretchered off and taken to hospital.

The fourth quarter saw UCLan running the ball to burn the clock before punting back to Manchester. The Eagles began to drive, looking dangerous through the air with Tom Hargreaves throwing well. With 15 seconds left to grab a consolation score the Eagles threw towards the endzone but Bloomfield got up high, intercepting with a one handed grab to close out the game and grab a victory for the UCLan Rams.

“[I’m] really proud of the lads after a hard fought game!” said team captain Sam Bloomfield after the match. “MMU brought some game today as expected and thanks to our preparation we were able to carry on through to the final whistle. Next week we’ve got a huge effort against powerhouse Hallam and we’re getting ourselves mentally and physically ready for taking on a big time team.”

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