Images courtesy of William G Watson
The Bury Saints American Football club moved to 2-0 after a hard fought win over the Southampton based Solent Thrashers running out a 19-6 score line at Thetford Rugby Club.
The Saints received the opening kick-off and struggled to move the ball. Bury had to punt but Solent didn't fare much better on their opening drive and did likewise. This continued through the next 2 series and Solent was forced to punt a 2nd time - that’s when the fireworks exploded as RB Cory Jenkins caught the punt and weaved through defenders for a 40 yard TD to give the Saints an early 6-0 lead. Rob Giles added the Point after TD to push the score to 7-0.
The Thrashers were forced to punt again on the next drive, but a fumble on the punt gave the Thrashers great field position at midfield and they drove down to the Bury 6 yard line, but the Saints Defense carrying on from the shutout vs Sussex stiffened and forced a FG attempt that was botched on the snap and the Saints took over on downs.
The Punting and field position game carried on till the middle of the 2nd quarter when Bury mounted an 11 play 57 yard drive capped off by a 29 yard TD pass from QB Derek White to WR Joe Hill. The PAT was wide right so the score stood at 13-0 in favour of Bury.
Solent continued to threaten on drives but were stalled by punts and an interception by DB Dmont Herring to seal the score at 13-0 going into the halftime intermission.
Both teams were busy making adjustments during halftime, and Solent seemed to get the upper hand in the adjustments department after their own 11 play drive, but LB Chris Smith picked off a Solent pass to quash the threat. The Thrashers did get a quick strike after Bury fumble inside its own 10 yard line to close the gap at 13-6, but failed to convert the 2 point conversion.
The game then became a series of defensive stands, punts, turnovers and field position battles until late in the 4th quarter when Bury recovered a fumbled punt catch by Solent inside their own 10 yard line with White running in the 7 yard TD to make the score 19-6. The PAT was missed and the Thrashers ran out of time to mount any further comeback.
Standout Defensive performances were had by Herring with 6 tackles along with his INT, Smith with 5 Tackles, a Pass Defensed and his interception. Jack Hewett also chipped in with 2 tackles for losses, a sack and also 5 tackles. The Offensive side saw Joe Hill post a 3 for 56 receiving line and Don Ray Washington also had a great game with 4 catches for 38 yards. As a team the Defensive unit has now only allowed 6 points through 8 quarters of play, wreaking havoc in the red zone, bending but not breaking.
Newly appointed Head Coach Christian Cantrill had heaps of praise for his team, but also cautioned getting too far ahead of the next opponent - the Hertfordshire Cheetahs: "Today was a great game vs an excellent opponent. They were the SFC1 bowl finalists last year and we knew they would be a very dynamic offense and gritty tough defense. I'm proud of the Saints for stepping up when needed and staying focused to bring the Saints Nation a 2nd win out of 2 tries this young season. Our next opponent is yet another massive matchup and we will be busy making improvements and putting in the work to face them in 2 weeks’ time."
The Saints host the Cheetahs on Sunday 8 May with a 2PM Kick-off at Thetford Rugby Club.
Off of the field there have been some changes too, with Bobby Coffman having been appointed as the clubs new chairman going forward. The organisation continues to maintain a solid base with a number of exciting new ventures in the pipeline going forward including the clubs very own Apple and Smartphone App going live very soon.