Everyone knew what was at stake with this game. Up to this point, the Wembley Stallions had not conceded a single point. They were 3 games into a Division One season and had so far kept a clean sheet. That is no mean feat. The Stallions rightfully sat in the number 1 spot of the SFC1 East. Chasing them, was us and the London Hornets. The ‘old guard’ of the pre-Covid time. We had already lost to the Hornets. Would we lose to the Stallions too? A win, would topple the Stallions and put us in the top spot.
A deep kick by kicker and WR, William Browning, started the game with the Stallions in possession on their 20 yard line. The Stallions put together a successful combination of passes and runs. But the Cats held firm enough to stop them crossing the 50 yard line. The Cats start just inside Stallions territory. Early success in the air moves the ball forward. But the Stallions D too stands firm. Back in possession, the Stallions prefer to ground game. A mixed of RBs are able to carry the rock deeper downfield. But it’s the Cats that draw first blood. WR Kay Dennis tears off a huge gain with a pass in the middle of the field. Shortly followed up by QB Mark Rivett keeping the drive alive with a scramble for first. It all culminates with a great catch in double coverage from WR Michael Johnson in the end-zone for the touchdown. The 2 point attempt is no good. Cats 6 – Stallions 0.
The score seemed to ignite a fire within the Stallions O, as they pound the ball even harder up the field. Good blocking and solid running breaks through the Cats D again and again. The Stallions finally get a reward for their efforts with a passing touchdown. They kick the extra point for the lead. Cats 6 – Stallions 7. The Cats O gets back to work. However, a pass is intercepted and the Stallions look like scoring again. The Cats D puts up a valiant effort to keep the Stallions out of the end zone. In fact, it takes them 10 plays to get from the Cats 30 yard line to the end zone. The Stallions kick is good. Cats 6 – Stallions 14. Back in possession, the Cats move the ball with relative ease. Rivett is almost swallowed up but manages a shovel pass to MJ, who runs for another 15 yards before being taken down. A few plays later and MJ has the ball again. With a series of good downfield blocking from his fellow WRs and pulling O Line, MJ runs the ball in for his second touchdown of the day. The Cats go for 2 again. But it is no good; Cats 12 – Stallions 14. The Stallions O have better luck in the air this time. However, the drive is eventually stopped by the Cats D. The Cats try to get another score before half time. Rivett takes a big hit as he throws. The force sending the ball higher and slower making it an easy pick for the Stallions.
It’s rainy start to the second half. The Cats have possession with back-up QB Jimmy Horne at the helm. Jimmy doesn’t have the greatest start as he is sacked and flushed from his pocket. But MJ is hit after he punts the ball away, giving Jimmy another set of downs. Looking more settled, Jimmy moves the ball down the field. Even grabbing a first down with his feet on 4th and short. RB Clayton Latimore puts in a shift and helps to move the ball closer still. However, the Cats run out of chances before turning the ball over on downs just outside the red-zone. The Stallions know what works for them. And what works is their running game. They chew up plenty of clock as the pound the ball again and again. The weather is starting to influence the game with fumbles and slips starting to happen. The Cats D get the stop at their 40 yard line.
The first play of the 4th quarter is an amazing run by WR Kay Dennis. Kay is able to slide his way through 2 tackles before speeding down the touchline. However, he is finally tackled at the Stallions 14 yard line after a 67 yard gain. Jimmy hands the ball off to MJ whose blistering pace beats the Stallions defenders. Cats go for 2 once again. But it is no good. Cats 18 – Stallions 14. A tired looking Stallions Offence takes to the field. A muffed snap is fumbled and recovered by the Cats. Jimmy seems much calmer in the pocket and finds his WRs well. RB Andrew Evans makes a great catch to keep the drive going for a bit longer. But the drive eventually fizzles out and the Stallions have some time to try to retake the lead. With a 4 point deficit, only a touchdown will do. The Stallions are forced to punt. But they get the ball deep into Cats territory. Jimmy is intercepted, giving the Stallions possession on the Cats 28 yard line. With less than 2 minutes to go, the Stallions mount a final push to win the game. The Stallions QB scrambles for the first down at the 10 yard line. But with the very next play, the Stallions QB fumbles the ball and rookie D End, Luke Tucker, on his debut appearance, is in there like a whippet and recovers the ball with seconds on the clock. Cats kneel. Cats win.
Cambridgeshire Cats 18 – Wembley Stallions 14
Offensive MVP – WR Kay Dennis
Defensive MVP – DT Callum O’Connor
Special Teams MVP – DB Maleek Addae
Game MVP – DT Chris Fenton
Our next game is at home to Essex Spartans on Sunday 29th May. Kick off will be at 2pm on Coldhams Common, next to the Abbey Leisure Centre.