The Raptors travelled away to play new arrivals to the division, the Aberystwyth Tarranau. After heading into the valleys the previous Sunday to be beaten down on the boggy home pitch of Bangor, the Raptors were much relieved to find the Aberystwyth pitch to be in a playable condition. A peculiar call from the coin toss saw the Raptors defer and the Tarranau electing to kick off, meaning the Raptors would receive the ball to start both halves of the game.
The Raptors stormed out of the gates scoring on the kick off return with a fake run by James Sutherland one way leaving Fin Denny open to return the ball to the end zone down the opposite side-line. After having shown off his acting abilities, James Sutherland made good of his kicking abilities too and added the extra point and moving the score to 7-0 to the Raptors. The Raptors defence, back on form with sure footing, put on an excellent performance seeing OLB Dafydd Roberts making big plays in the back field. With the ground no longer a problem to contend with, speed rushing D end Victor Ssonko wreaked havoc amongst the Tarranau O line and with pressure coming from the middle courtesy of George Williams, the Tarranau were hard pressed to make any first downs.
Still in the first quarter, the Raptors O took back possession of the ball and QB Callum Harris made his first of 2 passes to the end zone, to receiver Alex Totir giving James Sutherland another chance to polish his boot with another extra point. Callum Harris ran in the next TD himself, but the extra point was no good this time drawing the first quarter to a close with the Raptors leading 20-0. 2nd quarter saw James Sutherland receive a pass to start the scoring off again. Callum connected on the 2pt attempt to Fin Denny stretching the lead to 28-0. Fin wasn’t done yet and caught a TD pass from Callum again, RB Mark Evans receiving the ball on the 2pt attempt this time. The half ended 36-0 to the Raptors and the accompanying Liverpool cheerleaders, who’d made the journey sure had plenty to cheer about.
Running clock was implemented for the second half which saw no more TD’s, with the final addition to the score board coming from the D line with Victor getting hands on the ball carrier and George making the tackle to force a safety. Another sterling performance from Alex Dodd on defence and specials teams who lead by example on how to make big hits. There were a few close opportunities to add more to the lead but they all just fell short. The Raptor defence kept up the good work and got the ball back to the offence and kept the Raptor end zone vacant.
So it seems the mud that upset the fine-tuned machine the previous week has been washed away. But will the muck return to upset the Raptors this Sunday at home against the rumoured much improved Keele Crusaders? JMO Sports Park will be the venue to settle the difference, with Keele having been only narrowly beaten by the Muddogs to the score of 20-12 at JMO sports park. The closer result would suggest Keele to be favourites as they held Bangor to a lower score and scored more against them than the Raptors could muster. However, it should be noted that Keele faced the Muddogs on 4G instead of Bangor’s boggy home ground. Either way the game will be a decider in which team deserves to be in the top half of the table. Both the Crusaders and Raptors have been coached by members of the Nighthawks so expect fire to be fought with fire this Sunday!
By Gregory Hardy Webzell