We travelled to the south coast to play the return fixture against the Sussex Thunder. A win is certainly what we expected, as the Thunder were yet to get their first win in the 2022 season.
The Cats kick off and Will Browning sends the ball straight into the Thunder end zone for the touch back. Starting from their 20 yard line, the Thunder aren’t able to make much progress. The Cats defence seems to be able to read the plays before they happen. Now in possession, we are able to find the end zone in three plays. Thabiso Mpofu runs the ball around the outside and skips past half of the Thunder defence. We go for 2 and QB Jimmy tucks and runs for the score. Cats 8 – Thunder 0. The Thunder luck takes a turn for the better as they recover a fumbled punt return, giving them good field position. Unable to get another first down, the Thunder punt it into touch, deep in Cats territory. However, another stroke of luck happens when the Thunder intercept a pass inside our red zone. But they are unable to score.
We start the second quarter with the ball at midfield. Trying the move the ball on the ground is having mixed results. But the Thunder are being smiled upon by the football gods as they turn the ball over yet again with a strip tackle. However, the Thunder cannot get a first down and punt the ball away, again deep into Cats territory. QB Mark Rivett finds T again, this time through the air. T manages to tear off a huge chunk of yardage for the first down at midfield. Andy Evans carries the ball and is swallowed up at the line of scrimmage. But somehow, he slips loose, and runs for a solid gain through the middle, setting up first a goal on the 8 yard line. Riv then finds an open Jimmy for the quick pass and Jimmy is in for the touchdown. We go for 2 again, and once again, Jimmy tucks the ball and runs it in for the score. Cats 16 – Thunder 0. The Thunder are still struggling to get a first down. Riv leads his team back onto the field. He dances around the pocket and finds T for a pass. Mark Womble is next to receive a pass in open space. It takes 5 defenders to bring him down close to the goal line. Riv then finds T again in the corner of the end zone for another passing touch down. We go for 2 again. Riv finds T for the extra points. Cats 24 – Thunder 0. A muffed snap on the punt puts the Thunder punter under immense pressure with his back on his goa line. He tries to make a run for it but is tackled, almost for the safety. In spitting distance from the end zone, we have 1st down. Andy Evans punches it in on his second attempt for the touchdown. The 2 point attempt is no good. However, there’s a flag on the play and Riv throws it Jimmy for 2. Cats 32 – Thunder 0.
We have the ball from kick off. Progress seems to stall at midfield. But Riv breaks the stalemate with a deep pass to Will Browning. Jimmy takes the hand off with a clear lane to the right. He turns on the jets and gets in for the score. The PAT is good. Cats 39 – Thunder 0. The Thunder kick returner finds us napping on the job and returns a whopping 80 yards. Unable to make much more progress, the Thunder go for the field goal. However, a high snap leaves the holder no choice but to make a run for it. But he is brought down before he can clear the protection. We move the ball on the ground to just short of midfield. Then Riv spots a wide open Ben Bingham in the distance. With a long arcing pass, Ben makes the catch and jogs it in for a touchdown. Will’s kick is good. Cats 46 – Thunder 0.
The Thunder are showing plenty of heart as they still grind the ball through the middle of the field. But they are eventually halted at midfield and punt the ball away. Riv finds Kayode Dennis open and throws a low pass. But Kay reels it in and runs the 35 yards in for the touchdown. Will’s kick is once again good. Cats 53 – Thunder 0. The Thunder eventually get a reward for their hard work with a long passing touchdown. The PAT is good. Cats 53 – Thunder 7. A running clock throughout the 4th quarter means that the game is finished earlier than usual. However, with long delays on the drive home, some of our players didn’t make it home until midnight!
Offence – Jimmy Horne
Defence – Jonny Hodgson
Special Teams – Luke Tucker
Game – Clayton Latimer