Round 3

Nottingham vs Birmingham

Nottingham hosted the double game in Round 3 playing Birmingham after a lively match between Manchester and Sheffield. The Scorpions were expecting a tough day at the office after the top form the Bears showed against top of the table Manchester in Round 2, and looking for their first win of the season.

Birmingham won the coin toss and decided to kick with the wind in the first quarter. It was a tough slog and both teams fought hard in the middle to get possession to the forwards. There were plenty of scoring opportunities on both sides but accuracy was off and the Nottingham defence managed to mitigate the help of the wind to end the quarter down 1-5-11 to Birmingham 2-4-16.

The second quarter was a one sided affair with the Scorpions making the most of wind scoring 7 unanswered goals. The half ended Nottingham up 8-8-56 to Birmingham 2-6-18. We knew the Bears weren’t going to hibernate for the rest of the match though and were expecting some retaliation.

True to form, in the third quarter Birmingham turned it up a gear and it became a contest of the midfield for the rest of the game. Birmingham were winning balls out of scraps on the ground but defence on both sides was great with each team only having 3 scoring opportunities, ending the quarter Nottingham 9-10-64 to Birmingham 4-7-31.

The final quarter saw Birmingham mix it up, catching Nottingham players sleeping, not tracking their men and consistently finding themselves with 3 defenders to 1 Nottingham forward. A few big hits started coming in but goals were hard to come by, the Scorpions got a few and only an iron curtain of defence at the back prevented Brimingham from getting any more goals. The game ended Nottingham 12-13-85 to Birmingham 4-11-35.

Sheffield vs Manchester

In the earlier game Sheffield took on top-of-the-ladder Manchester. The Mosquitoes burst out of the blocks in the first quarter and built a 26 point lead by the first break. From there on the game was a very even, top quality game of Aussie Rules Football. Up forward Thunder captain Garth Nevin was causing headaches for the Mozzie defence while at the other end Matt Wielgosz was always a threat.

From quarter time onwards the game was an even affair as Sheffield kicked 11 goals to Manchester’s 12. The Mozzies ending up winning by 30 points.

Two debutants dominated, with Ben Miko kicking 5 for Sheffield and Tarren McAlister kicking 8 for Manchester.

Wolverhampton Wolverines v Leeds Minotaurs

A grey, wet day greeted both teams at Willenhall RUFC for round 3 of this season’s competition. Leeds’ day had already got off to the worst possible start as they had transport issues and it soon got worse when their key full forward picked up an injury in the early stages of the game. The young Wolverines team flew out of the blocks, inspired by on-ballers Tift, Degville and Hawkins (who at 24 was the oldest midfielder for the Wolverines!) dominating the opening quarter to lead by 5.8.38 to the visitors 2.1.13.

The second quarter saw Leeds establish themselves in the game as the home side seemingly took their foot off the pedal despite the game being far from over. Leeds added three goals to the Wolverines solitary major to reduce the deficit. Would a half time dressing down inspire the Wolverines or could Leeds maintain their ascendency despite having no bench?

The third or ‘Premiership’ quarter as its often known proved to be decisive as the Wolverines were able to run the ball efficiently out of the backline which was marshalled and lead superbly by skipper Adam Munkevics, adding four majors to their tally as well as six behinds. While Leeds enjoyed good passages of play, resulting in two goals it left them with a mountain to climb in the final 20 minutes.

As Leeds grew progressively tired the Wolverines rotated their bench to good effect. By continuing to run the ball out of the back the home side took advantage of this kicking 4.4 for the quarter. This included a first goal for the club for vice-captain Adam Morris who broke from the back, exchanging hand passes in the midfield before slotting coolly from 35 metres in surely what was the goal of the day. If any moment highlighted the rapid improvement of the Wolverines then this was it.

Leeds fought until the final whistle, adding 2.2 of their own. With a few more numbers the result might not have been quite so comfortable for the home side, which at half-time seemed to be doing as much as possible to self-destruct. This result leaves the Wolverines 2-1 for 2012 and sitting third on the ladder. The Minotaurs had a bye in round two so they remain at 1-1 this year so far.

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