Pulling The Flag

The Quick Slant – Opal Series Edition

If you were fortunate enough to be present in Northampton at the Opal Series this weekend, but unfortunate enough to run into myself, it just got worse. After 4 hours of rock-paper-scissors amongst the PTF team – it has been decided that I will be the one going over the weekend’s action! (Because I won the most games of course) So let’s go!

A pair of standouts

Coventry Cougars showed exactly why they are the team to beat, going 3-0 and putting up 115 points on the day, while only conceding 7. Cougars are meeting expectations, coming in as defending champions. However they were not the only team to start out strong. My very own Northants Titans also went 3-0, putting up 83 points and earning 3 shutouts. I’m pretty sure our senior team only managed 2 all season. Natalie Parker is still to return to Titans too, bringing her experience from Coventry Jets, Elite Women’s Project, and Kirkcaldy Bulls.

While both teams have playmakers in all areas of the pitch, two women in particular stood out: Cougars’ Becca Haw, and Titans’ Hannah Pye. Both scored so many touchdowns each I couldn’t count them all on one hand. Having that elite receiving threat really does put the stronger sides in a position where they can feasibly score on just about any play. Which brings me to..

Disgustingly unsportsmanlike behaviour

Not from the women of course. A long bomb of a TD from Jade Archibald to Hannah Pye in the Northants Titans-RHUL Bears game got me going so much on the sideline I ran onto the pitch in sheer excitement. Apologies RHUL! The ladies were a great sport about it and if you hated it you sure did a good job of hiding it! I’ll try not to let it happen again. 😉

The play that brought out the worst in me

The play that brought out the worst in me

 

Niche sport?

You wouldn’t think so! Some of the squad sizes that came to the tournament were seriously impressive. Several teams had squads that numbered double figures. The Manchester Titans (who came via coach) brought a squad with so many players there are rumours that the coaches (no pun intended) had to travel in the luggage compartment. They were so loud pre-game in the foyer getting pumped up that the staff at the venue have only just stopped hearing Danika Scargill ringing in their ears. They’re a testament to good recruitment.

Many other teams brought big squads, including last year’s runners up the Warwick Wolverines, RHUL Bears, Nottingham and the London Warriors. I don’t know how many of the Uni sides had players returning to their squads, but to recruit as heavily as most have in the short period of time that has elapsed in the Uni year is very encouraging – and to play in the tournament with so little time to prepare is a feat in itself. I think the Uni teams in particular could see some rapid improvement if they can get their rookies up to scratch in time for the coming tournaments.

Manchester Titans should have enough squad depth to take them through

Manchester Titans should have enough squad depth to survive their schedule

Cripples to return

Key players April Heath (of the Cheltenham Condors – but competing for the Gloucester Centurions) and Bev Marwood (of the Teesside Steelers) were just two of the big players missing for their teams this weekend. No doubt that the competition could swing in their respective teams’ favour if they can come back strong from their injuries and in time for later tournaments. Fortunately I am pretty sure that there were no major injuries on the day either. I had to play first aider when Sophie Parsons of Nottingham took a blow to the head, but she was thankfully fine and soldiered on to finish the day’s football.

Megaphones

Neil Wymer was having way too much fun! Although I don’t like that siren!

Keep it cool

I’m a big fan of the Teesside Steelers cool down dance! I’m sure there’s a gap in the market for that kind of thing..

 

So that’s all for this Quick Slant! If Manchester Titans haven’t hired out the UK’s supply of coaches you might even catch me with the Northants Titans at Opal 2, so do say hello! The action continues on November 8th in Hertfordshire for the Southern teams, and Manchester for the Northern.

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