Doncaster Mustangs 14 Yorkshire Rams 34
A second derby win of the season over Doncaster followed a remarkably similar pattern to the first, with the Rams dominant early on before weathering a second-half dip in performance.
At 20-0 inside the first quarter, with three touchdowns in addition to a two-point conversion which saw Lil Bush throw the first scoring pass by a female player in the BAFA National Leagues, it was looking like a celebratory outing for the Rams.
But another Doncaster touchdown and a stalled offensive drive led to frustration on the Rams’ sideline, compounded when the hosts also claimed a safety, before Chris Peel steamed in for the fifth touchdown of an ultimately comfortable win.
The Rams received the opening kick-off and put together a clinical scoring drive rounded off by quarterback Taylor Umland‘s pass to Davies. Dan Haywood, taking over kicking duties in the absence of the injured James Hudson, saw his extra-point attempt clang off the frame of the goal.
The Rams’ offensive line put together their best performance of the season as they bossed the first half, and the reward came when some excellent blocking sprung Elliott Jackson free and the running back, right, scorched down the right sideline for a long-range touchdown.
Keimar Stuart added the third score and Bush, who had tried in vain to find Davies for two points after the second touchdown, this time connected with Spencer Whybrow to make British American football history – amid a momentous time for the women’s game, with the World Championship currently going on in Canada and Great Britain opening with a win over Finland on Saturday.
Doncaster’s impressive wide receiver Paul Weston got the hosts on the board, with the two-point attempt unsuccessful, but Davies scored again and the Rams tacked on two for a three-score interval lead.
Doncaster began the second half with a nine-minute drive and though they came away without scoring, it sapped the energy from the game and tempers frayed as the Rams struggled to respond.
Ed Pearce added another score for the Mustangs and after Stuart misjudged the kick-off to leave the Rams backed up, the Mustangs took advantage with a tackle in the end zone to earn them a safety. However, they in turn failed to gather the kick-off and indeed coughed up the ball, allowing the Rams to ease the tension with a short scoring drive capped off by prolific touchdown vulture Peel.
Bush was unable to repeat her two-point conversion, with Whybrow again the target. She had a late chance for a further highlight, taking over the offence for the game’s final drive and firing a last-second pass into a tight window where Faheem Hasan was just unable to come up with a goal-line catch in physical coverage.
Offensive MVP: Elliot Jackson
Defensive MVP: Lysander Code
Ram of the Day: Tyler Broad
Rookie of the day: Lil Bush