Lions RB James Jones Cross outruns the Falcons on the way to a Division Title.

Lions RB James Jones Cross outruns the Falcons on the way to a Division Title.

Birmingham Lions vs Leicester Falcons: 08-Aug-2015

The Lions are already champions of the North 1 division and will look to maintain an unbeaten record against a side they have shown dominance over in all games against them so far. The Lions know that some of their lowest scoring games in the last two years have been against Leicester, who will hope to try and keep that trend going. Birmingham know that a big points score today will cement their position as (and belief they are) the #1 seeds heading into the Play-Offs.
The game began with the Falcons kicking off; #13 Ashley Bailey fielded the catch and then ran the ball back 73yds for the touchdown. Just the start the Lions would have been looking for. This is the 3rd time this season the Lions have scored from the Kick-off (twice now v Leicester). The Lions failed to convert the PAT. On the kick-off, #22 Joe Griffiths sent it deep to the Leicester 5 yard line. The returner was quickly wrapped up by #94 Declan Betteridge and #53 Cameron Dean after just 3 yards.
The D went straight out determined to show their dominance from all previous games against Leicester, and did so straight away. #59 Adam Pai tackling the runner, allowing #51 Sam Taylor to strip the ball, which the Lions recovered. No time was wasted; #09 Rohan Sandhu passes to #13 Ashley Bailey on the slant for a TD. PAT completed by Sam Taylor. The score is already 13-0 after just 9 plays of the game.
The Lions D knew from previous encounters that Leicester’s biggest weapon was the elusiveness of their QB; they would work hard to try and shut him down today. The dominance was there again, #53 Cameron Dean bringing him to the ground. As he did so the ball popped out, quickly followed by the officials whistle before the Lions could claim the recovery. Leicester are soon forced to punt. The next Lions drive began from their own 20 yard line. The 1st play saw #03 James Jones-Cross (JJC) run for 28 yards with Falcons players hanging off him (leg days’ do pay off!). A 9 yard run followed by #09 Rohan Sandhu. A lateral to #23 Mykel Nixon saw him gain 8 yards on the catch. The Lions trying to ease their way to another score. #22 Joe Griffiths was then just a fingertip away from grabbing one in the end-zone; followed by an attempted pass on 4th down falling just short.
It didn’t take long for the Lions D to shut down the Falcons again; tackles from #53 Cameron Dean, #39 Greg Speakman & a sack from #59 Adam Pai helping to put paid to their drive. The Lions again quickly moved the ball downfield with runs from #03 James Jones-Cross, and a catch from #82 Will Pluse. The drive was completed on a 25 yard pass to #23 Mykel Nixon, who then fought off the Safety to run the ball in 20 yards.
The next Falcons drive ended after just one play; #51 Sam Taylor making the interception. Lions wasted no time in scoring, #03 James Jones-Cross again taking the ball into the corner of the end-zone. PAT converted by the QB #09 Rohan Sandhu for 2 points. This brought the quarter to an end with the score Birmingham Lions 27- Leicester Falcons 0.

The 2nd quarter began with the Falcons in possession. The falcons QB was working hard to make something happen; the Lions D working just as hard to stop him, not allowing him any time to pick an option. The drive ended on a sack by #94 Declan Betteridge causing a the ball to pop out which was recovered by #50 Ieuan Davies.
Rookie running back Emmanuel Bawa (#26) left a pool of Falcons defenders prostrate on the floor behind him. A touchdown run from QB #09 Rohan Sandhu increased the score, followed by a successful 2pt conversion by #26.
The next Falcons drive faltered just as quickly as all others so far, as they simply could not handle the relentless pressure from the Lions. A sack by #50 Ieuan Davies for a 25 yard loss forcing them to punt.

#26 Emmanuel Bawa ran the ball straight up the gut from midfield on 2 plays to score his first rushing TD.
It’s now beginning to feel like Groundhog Day when summarising a Falcons drive, but this one ended with a slight twist. Having been forced to punt the ball, it fell short and they simply seemed in no hurry to get to the ball. #50 Ieuan Davies showed his football brain, picking the ball up and running it back to the Falcons 2 yard line before falling just out of bounds.
2 plays later and #03 James Jones-Cross increased the score with his 2nd TD of the day; the 2pt PAT by #13 Ashley Bailey completing the scoring for the half.
Half Time: Birmingham Lions 49- Leicester Falcons 0.
With the game now going to a running clock, this half was going to disappear quickly. Possession quickly swapped from side to side without any change in the score. But then the what almost seems inevitable now happened; the ball gets punted to #21 Samson Jones-Cross who the runs it back for a score.
We are now into the 4th quarter and the Lions D are still marauding. The Falcons QB now almost like a rabbit caught in the headlights simply had nowhere to go, being tackled or knocked to the ground. The Falcons attempted to punt from inside their own end-zone. #50 Ieuan Davies was playing his first game of the season, and the hunger was obviously there from the off. He now capped his day with a TD from the fumbled Falcons punt, #03 JJC taking in the PAT for 2pts.
The only complacency on the day came when, following some good work keeping the Falcons out of the end-zone, a lapse of concentration then allowed them to score (they always get just the 1 score), followed by the 2pt PAT.
#26 Emmanuel Bawa now followed with his 2nd TD of the day; #03 JJC again there for the 2 pt PAT.
With time quickly running out, the Lions didn’t add to their score.
Full time: Birmingham Lions 71- Leicester Falcons 8.
Today saw the Lions display total dominance on Offense, Defense & Special Teams. They have sent a clear message to all who face them. Is there a better junior team in the UK right now? On this performance the answer would have to be a resounding NO.