The Elite arrived in a bitterly cold Marlow for the rescheduled game versus the Wolves minus injured Natalie Parker, Afia Law and Jenny Cooper. The remaining players knew they would have to put in an extra shift to make up for the loss.
|#16 Captain Louise Lee c/o takingthepixel|
The defence started brightly with Safety Becky Rafferty almost coming up with an interception on the first drive only to see her attempted pick fall into the hands of a Marlow receiver deep into Elite territory. The situation was soon remedied, largely by the blitzing of Kellie Barrett recording the first of her 3 sacks of the day.
Historically the offence has struggled against male opposition however, since Pete Coppenhall has assumed full time OC duties the attack has improved and today was no exception with the team setting records for completions, yards and first downs. QB Chloe Baton was also able to spread the ball around with April Heath and Kellie Barrett racking up the receptions and Tendai Cheiza adding some big plays.
Mid-way through the first half though, a deflected pass from Baton would up in the arms of a Marlow player giving the Wolves a short field to attack. The previously impervious looking Elite defence, although forcing the Wolves to fourth down, were unable to prevent the score.
On the final drive the Wolves again were making headway toward the Elite endzone until 4th year veteran Tendai Chieza spectacularly picked off the pass at her own 5 returning the ball for 30 yards. Unfortunately for the Elite the clock had expired on the play.
For the second half the match settled into a familiar pattern with both offences moving the ball well but without troubling the opposition end zone. The nearest either team got was when Millie Barrett was forced to make one of her now customary last ditch tackles on 4th down at The Elite one yard line.
|#34 Defensive MVP Kellie Barrett c/o Boom Boom|
The game ended with the Elite recording their best result against male opposition losing by 0-7. Head Coach Andrew Gambrill was clearly delighted with the day’s events; “I don’t recall a defence I have coached going through such a purple patch. The Elite D has been consistently excellent for the past 4 games.” High praise indeed from a coach who has 8 National Youth titles to his credit and a European Championship with GB juniors. “I think the key is the team understand the ‘bend don’t break’ concept of this defence. They do not become anxious if the offence completes 3 or 4 short passes.”
The ever enthusiastic Captain Lousie Lee added; “I am so proud of the improvements still being made by each member of the team, resulting in a very clean and solid performance. But most importantly for me, the positive attitude of each player was pivotal in a great team performance with good communication and sheer determination from beginning to end
|in warm up top Offensive MVP April Heath c/o EWP|
The Elite now have two practices before they embark on their historic foray into European competition. In June they will face the national teams from Germany, Israel and Austria in Frankfurt, in the biggest non-championship tournament in Europe.