Swansea Titans @ Birmingham Lions
HARRY SPICER LOVES A PUNT. But more on that later. On the 3rd of February, the Birmingham Lions took on the Swansea Titans. Whilst every game is important, this particular matchup came with added significance. That’s because the Titans are the only team to have overcome the Lions this season, and so revenge was on the cards for the Birmingham outfit. After a tight and tense affair, the Lions eked out a 28-20 victory, keeping their hunt for primacy in the Southern division alive.
As has become a staple of the season thus far, the offence started the game off hot. The ground game dominated the day, with explosive runs from Biyi Adetunji and Yomi Olajide getting the Lions into the end zone. Not to be outdone by his infamously shifty counterpart, the prodigal son, and part time QB, Rohan Sandhu also accrued a touchdown with his legs.
Meanwhile, for defence, pride was on the line. In the first game of the season, the Titans, and particularly QB Sam Huxtable, put on a show, causing questions to be raised about the potency of the Lions once vaunted defence. Those questions were comprehensively answered, with yet another exceptional performance. Playing fast and hitting hard, the Lions limited Huxtable’s effectiveness with his legs. Will Stone turned in a sterling performance, racking up an almost unbelievable (X) sacks. It was not just the front seven which turned up, however. The DB corps played lights out all day, with a first career interception for Jacob Hennessy as well as key pass break-ups. A special mention should be reserved for fan favourite Jimmy Watkins, who is rumoured to have the Titans #81 in his back pocket to this very day.
Special teams can win games. Nowhere is that old adage more visible than in this game. Playing out like a ‘greatest hits’ of the Lions special teams season, the Titans fell to a defender who can’t stay out of the end zone and a boy who simply loves a good punt. The Lions have been threatening to block an opposition punt since the reverse leg of this fixture, and finally it came off. Michael Priest capitalised on a Ben Murphy block to put points on the board – remarkably not his first of the season, despite being a Defensive Lineman. Finally, to address the opening of the article. Rookie Harry Spicer has made a name for himself on special teams this season, coming up with big play after big play. This weekend was the epitome of that. Spicer not only downed punts inside the ten and made tackles from sideline to sideline, but forced his third forced fumble of the season. Third. In five games. That impact is not only incredible, but has proved pivotal to the Lions this season.
Photos courtesy of Bec Edwards: https://www.facebook.com/pg/birminghamlions/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155381289832781
Game highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/29AFfk