Yorkshire Rams 6 – 35 Tamworth Phoenix
Written by Mark Gaze
The Yorkshire Rams faced Tamworth Phoenix for the second time in a month, this time back home in Leeds for the first time since early May when they were defeated heavily by the Lancashire Wolverines.
The home side received the ball in the first half and would start with a 3-and-out but Yorkshire dipped into the trick play section of the Special Teams playbook and faked the punt to get the first down on the 4th and 1. Unfortunately the next set of downs also resulted in a punt on 4th down but this time the ball went over the head of the punter and when he couldn’t recover it, Tamworth ran the ball in to open the scoring. The PAT was unsuccessful though and the score was 6-0 to the ‘Nix.
The next drive didn’t bring much more success for the Rams as the ball was picked off on first down and Tamworth had an early chance to put even more points on the board. The defence held out though and Phoenix had to settle for a field goal to make the score 9-0. The Rams couldn’t move the ball on their possession and the away side added another field goal on their next drive.
Yorkshire would go 3-and-out again on the next drive but Tamworth would give the ball back to the Rams when the QB fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Adam Cowley. The Rams would repay the favour twice though, the first fumble coming from a bad pitch on an option play which was safely recovered but the second was taken by the men in orange. They couldn’t take advantage on the ensuing drive and had to punt away once more, this time Cowley almost blocked it.
The Rams would then punt the ball back and Phoenix would be the makers of their own downfall on their drive as they were called for 3 straight false starts giving them a 1st and 25, only to be sacked (again by Cowley) to push them even further back, 2nd and 38. They made a good dent in the yardage but on 3rd and very long they couldn’t convert and the home side took over again, albeit temporarily.
Adam Cowley would get another sack on the next drive but Tamworth would still move the ball successfully in the air and on the run to get deep into Rams territory and, after surviving a close interception by Jack Hill, the Phoenix would benefit from a debatable pass interference call which gave them a 1st and goal. The Rams defence stood firm and it would take til 4th down for the TD to be finally scored on a screen pass. The extra point was added on and Tamworth led 19-0.
A good scoreline for the Rams quickly started to look much worse when the Phoenix added a further TD on another 4th and goal then on the next Rams drive, a pass from QB Dan Berry was picked off and taken into the endzone to make the half time score 33-0.
The home side came out in the second half determined to show what they were really made of and the improvement was drastic. Tamworth got the ball first and barely moved the ball against a fired up defence and had to punt it away. Disappointingly for the Rams offence, the ball was picked off again but on the Phoenix’s drive, Adam Cowley was there again to force a fumble and recover it to give the offence another go, which they duly took advantage of, as Elliot Jackson ran the ball in with some fancy footwork to stay in bounds to make the score 33-6.
Jack Hill would finally get his pick but was tackled deep in his own half and as the offence took over they were stopped in the endzone and Tamworth had a safety.
With the score at 35-6, Tamworth would still find it difficult to get anything going on offence and on the next drive, Jack Marshall sacked the QB as he tried to escape the pursuit and then Alex Saunders ended the drive with another sack, forcing the ‘Nix to attempt a long field goal which was unsuccessful due to a high snap.
The game began to drift towards full time but there was still time for another long field goal attempt from Tamworth but this time Chris Lawton was situated under the posts and managed to run the short kick back to halfway.
It was then the Rams’ offence’s time to show what they could do with two good drives but time would run out with them 10 yards out from adding more points to the scoreline and capping a much better second half.
The Rams will take a lot from this performance and should be proud of the second half performance in particular, holding the current division leaders to 2 points and outscoring them 6-2.
The East Kilbride Pirates are the next team to visit Corinithians Rugby Club on 5 July and the Rams will be hoping for a performance to match the second half of this one.