Titans cannot tame Lions
The Birmingham Lions Juniors beat the Manchester Titans to move onto the Britbowl Final on 12th September in Doncaster vs the reigning champion London Blitz.
Birmingham Lions 35 Manchester Titans 14
Match report and image courtesy of Noel Clarke
The deciding game of the Northern Divisions (Northern Conference as I like to call it) pits 2 teams against each other that have already met this season.
The Birmingham Lions are only their second season as a team, and have managed to look increasingly confident as the season progressed. This year they have deposed the London Blitz from their spot as #1 seed. The Manchester Titans bounced back from defeat earlier on in the season to finish strong, beating Chorley in a ‘Win and In’ game, and the defeating the Mustangs in the quarter final game. The Titans confidence will be sky high heading into this one, as they have the belief that they can progress to the final. Manchester are ranked highly for their defence with the only game in which they conceded significantly to being the Lions. This was surely to be a sterling test for both teams.
The Titans offense takes to the field and straight away feels the force of the Lions D who are quick to the tackle. A fumbled punt gives the Lions good field position, which they waste no time in taking advantage of; #03 James Jones-Cross taking it in from 3 yards out. The PAT converted by #22 Joe Griffiths for 1.
On their next drive the Titans slowly moved down field, but made little headway as the Lions defense brought it again forcing them punt which looked like it was going to cost them. The ball punted to #21 Samson Jones-Cross who appeared to be taking it all the way save for a last ditch tackle. The Lions made them pay and scored from the next play, a 48 yard run by #03 James Jones-Cross; the PAT for 1 by Joe Griffiths.
Although the Titans kept coming they found the Lions D almost impenetrable. With the final a stake they would give no quarter. As we moved into the 2nd qtr. the Lions continue to dominate with a take-way by #21 Samson Jones-Cross handing the ball back to the Offense. The Lions looked to score again, but the Titans proved to be no push-over and fought hard to keep them out. Eventually the Titans would be breached again. A deep pass by #13 Ashley Bailey to #23 Mykel Nixon seemed to add to the score. A flag for clipping cancelled this one out. No matter, this time Ash was to go one of his snaky QB scrambles and score himself. With no further score, the half ended Birmingham Lions 20: Manchester Titans 0.
The 2nd half began with the Lions in possession but they couldn’t immediately add to the score. A sack by #57 Ryan Launchbury helping to force the Titans to punt. For the 2nd time today a Lions score would be chalked off. A punt return by #21 Samson Jones-Cross called back when he was adjudged to have stepped out of bounds. The Lions did add to the score shortly after, #26 Emmanuel Bawa running in from the 4yd line; followed by Ashley running to the corner of the end-zone for 2 points. On returning to the field the Lions D quickly forced to Titans to hand the ball back to the Lions. The Lions were able to add to the score with a 23 yard pass to #23 Mykel Nixon for the touchdown with #22 Joe Griffiths adding the extra point. As the game drew to a close the Titans were able to reduce the deficit with 2 late touchdowns and a completed conversion. The final score was Birmingham Lions 35: Manchester Titans 14.
Congratulations to the Lions who now move on to Britbowl. A gritty if not polished display show that even when not at their best the Lions can still get the ‘W’. They say this is the sign of Champions; only time will tell.