The Cheetahs are heading back to the playoffs courtesy of a statement 42-0 win at home to the Bournemouth Bobcats. On a baking hot today where fitness and depth played a big part in the game, the Black and Yellow were ultimately too hot to handle for the Bobcats.
The heat may have had an impact upon what, truth be told, was a sluggish start to the game. An unconvincing first half performance yielded two unanswered touchdowns for the home side but little space for complacency given the importance of the game. The second half was almost a different game. The MVP Cheetahs secondary had made plays all afternoon, on multiple occasions setting the offence up with the best possible chance to success via interceptions in Bobcats territory. Ben Brown and Josh Dunnet created two turnovers each and Tirell Jeffers added another, as the Defensive Backs completely stifled the Bobcats.
This defensive productivity provided the required time for the Cheetahs offence to adapt to the Bournemouth D who, having only bent during the first 30 mins, now began to break. A first TD run of the season for Charles ‘Chuckie’ Handscome, who, in the wise words of Gimli is very dangerous over long distances – was soon accompanied by his second. Receiver Rowan Huggins kept his name firmly in the season MVP conversation with another brace, one of which came on a perfectly executed screen for 90 yards.That particularly play showed the difference in the latter stages; whilst Bournemouth were flagging and unable to keep up with Huggins, multiple Cheetahs (including Linemen!) sprinted the full length of the pitch to make sure of the score. Rookie Tom McQuillin broke a screen of his own to put the icing on the cake, as the Offence ran the score up and all over the opposition.
BAFA leagues value ‘points against’ highly, and the defence clearly recognised the importance of the shutout as they kept the intensity high right to the end – exemplified by a sixth interception for the D as Salim Elomari picked the ball off on the games final play. That is now three consecutive clean sheets for the D, who will believe they can stop just about any offence right now.
HC Craig Barnes was proud of a defence who “utterly shut Bournemouth down. Our Defensive Backs were superb today, making numerous interceptions. Once our Offence clicked into gear, there was only going to be one winner.” Barnes singled out the Offensive Line as “awesome”, before turning his attention to next week: “we are very much looking forward to Portsmouth on Sunday”.
Offensive MVP, lineman Stuart Butcher, believed “the whole team played well. [We had] a bit of a slow start but we finished strong. From the O line point of view we dominated the line of scrimmage and opened up the game so the rest of the offence could feast”.
Rushing Yards: 147
Receiving Yards: 189
Rushing Yards Allowed: TBC
Receiving Yards Allowed: TBC
Rushing Touchdowns: Charles Handscome (2), Matt Lake
Receiving Touchdowns: Rowan Huggins (2), Tom McQuillin
Receiving Yards: Rowan Huggins (122)
Rushing Yards: Matt Lake (104)
Interceptions: Josh Dunnet, Ben Brown (2)
It’s the big one this week. We travel to Portsmouth to face the Dreadnoughts!