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Saturday afternoon saw the Lancaster Bombers square off against the York Centurions down on the rugby league pitch. Bombers, and Centurions, two of history’s most lethal war machines were facing each other and this game was certainly a battle of attrition.
The start of the game was delayed due to the fact that there was no ambulance in the area. An ambulance is required to be in the vicinity before a game can begin for safety reasons, obviously because it is such an aggressive sport. The delay clearly had an effect on both teams, because they were very sluggish coming out of the gate, barely able to move the ball at all down the field. The York quarterback did show some initial willingness to move around both on the inside and outside of the pocket, though this may be because he wasn’t willing to trust his arm.
Mistakes underlined the first quarter. After showing some initial mobility, the quarterback for York was forced to fumble the ball and Lancaster were able to recover it. However, for Lancaster there was a missed opportunity when quarterback Dan Bonfante just overthrew a pass to receiver Matt Lomax along the right sideline, if completed there could have been a scoring play. The miss was magnified when not long after, Bonfante himself fumbled the ball after York’s defensive line exerted some pressure and they continued to recover the ball. But the York quarterback was soon stripped of possession and the Lancaster defence picked up the ball. It seemed neither team could keep hold of the ball, never mind progress forward with it.
The second quarter saw the first scoring play of the game for Lancaster, a interception returned for a touchdown. The ball was picked off by Matt Furness and he carried the ball 30 yards along the left sideline, manoeuvering past a couple of players to get the Bombers on the scoreboard. The rest of the quarter looked as if it was going to be a stalemate, then up stepped Dimeji “Reggie” Ademiju, Bomber’s running back. Ademiju fired off two great runs with the ball, the second of which ended up with him in the endzone for a touchdown from about 13 yards out. Ademiju showed great speed and agility on these two plays and at half time, Lancaster led 12-0 thanks to the two touchdowns, failing to convert a field goal and two point attempt.
The third quarter was essentially a non-event as the only highlights of note were two return plays for both teams. For Lancaster “Reggie” Ademiju got the second half started with a bang, returning the ball to around halfway. Unfortunately the Bombers could not capitalise on this great starting field position. The York return man, made a run in which he seemed to avoid a tackle from every Lancaster defender yet could not find his way to the end zone. That play sort of epitomised York’s play throughout the game.
When the fourth quarter arrived, both teams took the chance to rotate starting players, for differing reasons one suspects. York needed to make plays to get back into the game, having failed to do anything for the previous three quarters. Lancaster on the other hand just wanted to give every player a chance to play in the game. This strategy from the Bomber’s coaching staff almost had disastrous effects, as the backup York quarterback managed to run in for a touchdown from 20 yards out.
Luckily Lancaster’s defensive line, anchored by defensive end Opeyemi Sobitan, were able to shut down York’s offence for the remainder of the game; the Bombers holding on to win the contest 12-6.
Following the game, Bombers first scorer Matt Furness said “Yeah it was nice to get a score, but today wasn’t just about me or any other individual. It was about the team, and the team pulled through”.