Yorkshire Rams 31 Leeds Bobcats 0
The Rams opened up their season with a comfortable, if low-key, 31-0 win over local rivals the Leeds Bobcats.
The first ever meeting between the two sides was played out at a muddy John Charles Stadium after so much recent rain, and the conditions perhaps played a part in sapping the effectiveness of both offences.
Rams safety Chris Lawton had the honour of the first touchdown of 2018 in the BAFA National Leagues and Keimar Stuart, Christian Davies, Chris Peel and Alan Stockdale added further scores in a one-sided encounter.
The Rams won the toss and opted to kick to the Bobcats – who promptly went three-and-out before Lawton returned the ensuing punt to the end zone and Jeff Quartey added the extra point.
The remainder of the first quarter followed a predictable pattern, with both teams bogged down in a particularly treacherous area of the pitch but the Rams remaining in control of the field position battle.
After continually finding himself swallowed up by the mud, Stuart finally found space and responded to new Rams running backs coach Gaby Knops‘ urging to find the firmer ground on the sideline, duly bursting clear for a 61-yard score.
The two-point attempt was unsuccessful but the Rams forced a turnover on the kick-off and quarter-back Dan Haywood hit wide receiver Davies for another quick touchdown.
A poor snap meant the extra point was unsuccessful and though Ben Green hit the pacy Tyler Broad with a last-second Hail Mary, the defensive back-turned-receiver was tackled and the the score remained 19-0 at half-time.
Green stayed in at quarterback for the start of the second half, looking to open his Rams touchdown account against his former team, but after Amit Singh and Tom White were unfortunate with an open-field slip and a goal-line drop respectively it was left to power back and prolific touchdown vulture Peel to do the honours.
An increasingly tetchy encounter saw a procession of penalties against the visitors and one such infringement left Green and the Rams in striking distance. Davies was dragged out of bounds inches short of the line but full-back Stockdale barrelled over on the next play to make it 31-0.
That was how it stayed, Haywood connecting with Broad on one deep heave inside the two-minute warning but seeing a second picked off before the clock ran out on a desperate Bobcats reply.
Offensive: Anthony Dockray
Defensive: Ross Hammond
Rookie of the Day: Jose Cebrian Suarez
Ram of the Day: Chris Lawton
Thanks to Craig Milner for the images.