Pulling The Flag

Opal Series 2: Leeds take the North

Leeds Carnegie headed to Manchester for their first ever Opal Series tournament – and strode out with the win.

The team toppled the hosting Manchester Titans by a single point to grab the full 12 points from the second Opal Series weekend of 2014. Over in the southern tournament in Hatfield, the Coventry Cougars defeated the London Warriors to continue their unbeaten run this year.

With 15 teams participating in this weekend’s fixtures, the competition was split into a northern tournament in Salford and a southern one in Hatfield.

Northern Report

In the north, Leeds, Manchester and the Sheffield Hallam Warriors got off to a hot start with wins over the University of Nottingham (38-26), the Teesside Steelers (13-7) and Gloucester Centurions (14-12) respectively. The Warwick Wolverines and Derby Braves tied 6-6.

Manchester brought a big squad to the Opal Series once again, and carried on their good form with a 25-18 win over the Centurions. Teesside rebounded in style with a 21-7 victory over Sheffield, while Leeds beat Warwick 12-6. Derby drew for a second time, this time 12-12 with Nottingham.

The draws kept coming in Round Three, with Warwick (0-1-2) and Nottingham (0-1-2) playing out a scoreless game. Leeds (3-0) rounded off their third win, 33-8 against Derby (0-1-2). Sheffield (1-2) lost out 13-27 to Manchester (3-0), while Teesside (2-1) defeated Gloucester (0-3) 20-12.

The final was a close run affair between two unbeaten teams, but in the end it was Leeds that came away jubilant with a 14-13 victory. Warwick’s first win of the day was enough to see them take third against Teesside, while Nottingham got fifth ahead of Sheffield. Derby opened their account for the day against Gloucester to finish seventh.

 

 

Southern Report 

Both of the star teams from Tournament One found themselves playing in this one, but we’re still waiting for the first clash between them in this year’s Opal Series.

The Coventry Cougars and Northants Titans found themselves in different round-robins in Hatfield, and it was the London Warriors who crashed the party this time around.

With the Swindon Storm withdrawing from action, this was a seven-team gig, and Coventry started as the favourite once again. The Cougars stormed past the Solent Thrashers 46-6, while the Hertfordshire Tornadoes swept past the Portsmouth Destroyers 45-6 and the London Warriors edged the Royal Holloway Bears 18-13.

Coventry were on a roll now, beating Herts 38-7. Solent re-bounded with a 26-19 victory over Portsmouth. And there was confusion in the game between Northants and Royal Holloway. The Titans reportedly defeated the Bears 6-0 in overtime, but should overtime have been played? We’ll find out soon enough, we expect.

At any rate, the final wasn’t in doubt. London won 26-14 against Northants to set up a clash against Coventry, who’d dispatched Portsmouth 50-6. Herts beat Solent 20-14 to take their spot in the third place playoff.

In the final round of games, Coventry continued their streak of wins with a 12-6 battle against London, while Northants got third with a 26-7 defeat of Herts. The fifth place playoff saw Royal Holloway overcome Solent.

London got a second crack at Coventry, and it was closer this time around. Pic from tournament one by Garry Charles

London got a second crack at Coventry, and it was closer this time around. Pic from tournament one by Garry Charles

 

Full tournament two results:

SCEPTRE (NORTH)

Round 1

Warwick 6 Derby 6
Leeds 38 Nottingham 26
Manchester 13 Teesside 7
Sheffield 14 Gloucester 12

Round 2

Derby 12 Nottingham 12
Leeds 12 Warwick 6
Teesside 21 Sheffield 7
Manchester 25 Gloucester 18

Round 3

Nottingham 0 Warwick 0
Leeds 38 Derby 8
Manchester 27 Sheffield 13
Teesside 20 Gloucester 12

Final

Leeds 14 Manchester 13 (1st place playoff)

Warwick 12 Teesside 6 (3rd place playoff)

Nottingham 26 Sheffield 12 (5th place playoff)

Derby 12 Gloucester 6 (7th place playoff)

CROWN (SOUTH)

Round 1

Coventry 46 Solent 6
London 18 Royal Holloway 13
Herts 45 Portsmouth 6

Round 2

Solent 26 Portsmouth 19
Coventry 38 Herts 7
Northants 6 Royal Holloway 0 (OT)

Round 3

London 26 Northants 14
Coventry 50 Portsmouth 6
Herts 20 Solent 14

Final

Coventry 12 London 6 (1st place playoff)

Northants 26 Herts 7 (3rd place playoff)

Royal Holloway beat Solent (5th place playoff – score to come)

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