Game 2: STORM WIN 22 – 20 @ Walney

Sunday saw the resumption of the Battle of Bay with the Morecambe Bay Storm visiting local rivals the Walney Terriers in a rematch of last year’s two-match friendly series.  With both sides coming off first week wins the match-up would leave one of the clubs with an unbeaten record and the other nursing their pride for another year as this was the only fixture between the two teams this season.  It was a sunny but cold and windy day at the Terrier’s home ground in Ulverston not quite a gale blowing yet it would be league leaders the Storm who came out on top.

1st Quarter

The Storm won the toss and elected to defer thus giving the ball on the ensuing kick off to the home side.  With the Terriers utilising their size and strength they started off running the ball but were thwarted by some solid defense from the Storm’s defensive front seven and when having to go to the air to make yardage, Morecambe Bay’s Michael Stone picked off Walney’s triggerman Joe Allington and returned the interception 10 yards.
The Storm offense got the ball in Walney territory but even after some mazy running from Slotbacks Adam Horrobin and John Littlejohn were unable to get the ball in to the end zone and were forced to turn it over.  Walney took full advantage and with the Storm defense struggling to stop them, put together a lengthy drive culminating in a 1 yard Quarterback sneak from Joe Allington.

The Terrier’s defense had their tails up all game and utilising a 33 Stack front gave the Storm  offensive linemen problems which lead to them being unable to move the ball and had to punt.  Storm punter Mike Zorab kicked to the Walney 3 yard line and after a Rob Bainbridge tackle for a Terrier loss of one yard, the next play saw Morecambe Bay’s Strong Safety Jim Mawson tackle the ball carrier in his own end zone for a 2 point Safety.

2nd Quarter

Walney’s defensive blitzing gave Storm Quarterback Chris Mayne no time to execute the pass-option-plays and with the inside run game being stuffed the most effective solution was to air-the-ball out which resulted in a long gain by Adam Horrobin leading to a hook-up between Mayne and Wide Receiver Dion Feather for the go-ahead score. This was converted for another 2 points by Horrobin on a 3 yard yard over off the Right Tackle.

With time running out in the half a penalty against the Storm’s defense set up Walney for a 5 yard running touchdown from Gareth Thomas and a conversion by Joe Allignton from the 3 yard line leaving the score 14 to 12 to the Terrier’s at the half.

3rd Quarter

Coach Fairhurst made some adjustments to the offense bringing on Tightend Gareth Parker to try to stem the terrier blitz and give Mayne more time to pass the ball.
This strategy paid dividends as Mayne hit Mark Baldwin for a 50 yard gain, was again able to isolate wide-out Feather on the FADE route for a passing Touchdown reception leaving Feather with two on the day.  Walney responded with a Chris Pedley 10 yard run at the end of another punishing Terrier drive.

4th Quarter

The air attack was proving a success with Mayne finding Horrobin for a 58 yard touchdown completion on a WHEEL route leaving the Storm 2 points in front with less than 5 minutes in the game.

Unable to more the ball themselves due to the Storm defense stepping up, the Terriers punted away the ball, however, the Stormwere themselves unable to move the ball to run out the clock and were forced to give away possession.  Having already had a stellar day kicking, Storm punter Mike Zorab hoisted a 80 yard punt deep in to the Terrier’s territory, pinning them within their own 10 yard line to leave them with 55 seconds, one Time out and 90 yards to make a winning score.  With the game on the line, it was left to defensive tackle Tom Smith to make a fumble recovery and allow the Storm to run out the clock by taking-a-knee.

 

“This was a very hard fought victory” commented Coach Scud fairhurst after the come-from-behind win ‘Walney are a very physical team and we knew coming into the game that we’d have to fight for every inch.  Last year we lost both games to Walney and didn’t manage to score in either so the game was a benchmark to see how far we have come in just fourteen months.  We had three starting offensive linemen missing today due to other commitments so the guys who played on the line really stepped up and laid everything they had on the line.”  Coach Fairhurst gave particular praise for the effort and commitment of defensive end Rian Eaton who stood in as Center due to the starting player Dan Boydell being on his honeymoon… Eaton played both ways all game at key positions and making significant contributions both on offense and defense.

“Our next opponents are the Gateshead Senators one of the oldest clubs in the Britball… they elected to be relegated so this will prove a real test for the guys.  We will rest up, assess the injury situation and start preparing to face them.”  The North East outfit sit atop the league table by virtue of a better points difference than the Storm.

 

Game MVPs

Team- Rian Eaton who played both ways for the full game and making 2 sacks

Offense- Adam Horrobin who caught the winning score and had some tough runs

Defense- Tom Smith for stuffing the middle to stop Walneys inside run game

Special Teams- Mike Zorab for outstanding punting with an 80 yard one in particular to pin Walney back in their 10 yard line with seconds left in the game

 

Next game is this Sunday the 30th April against the Gateshead Senators… kick-off is 3pm at the Trimpell Sports and Social Club, Out Moss Lane, Morecambe.  Admission is free so come down and support your community American football team.

The Storm play games and practice at Trimpell.  Practices are Thursday evening 7pm to 9-30pm and Sunday afternoons… details can be found via morecambebaystorm.com  The Storm are still recruiting so come down and give it a try.

Local and well respected within the UK referee of twenty years plus, Tony Newsham asks that if anyone wants to train to become an American Football referee they can find information at www.bafra.org.  Referees are given a match fee so it’s well worth while if you want to get involved with the sport.