By Alex McLachlan
As expected, the hotly anticipated matchup between the Hertfordshire Cheetahs and the London Warriors produced a phenomenal game, with some exceptional talent being exhibited by both sides. Despite a spirited performance from the newly reformed Warriors team, including producing some genuine scares for the Cheetahs, Herts were able to hold on for a 28-10 victory.
Hertfordshire came into the game knowing they would be understrength, with 20 players missing through injury and absence. Despite this, Head Coach Alex Halms was confident that his core of remaining starters could pull their teammates through, elevating their level to the Cheetahs’ lofty standards. On offence, this effort was spearheaded by RB Jack Stodel, as well as the Cheetahs O line which has proven so dominant so far this season. The line, headlined by both-way ‘baller Byron Kealy, managed to put Halms’ mind at ease as they paved the way for three rushing scores: two by Stodel and one by Josh Miller-Hall. With a passing score by stand-in QB Ollie Mulcahy to Ben Wilson, the scoring was complete.
Enormous credit must go to the Warriors, however, who managed to crack a defence which had kept a clean scoreboard in three of their four previous matchups. Star receiver Issai Aluko, who won the MVP award for Best Receiver at our recent Level Up camp, managed to get past a talented Herts secondary for a score, showcasing his impressive speed and route running ability. The Warriors defence, too, held Herts to their second lowest points total of the year, and even managed to put points on the board of their own with a safety!
With this result, both teams have completed their regular seasons. At an even 3-3 record, the Warriors will be pleased with their return to Junior football, if a touch disappointed that they could not force their way into the postseason. There is much reason for celebration amongst the young Warriors outfit, as they will retain many of their stars, such as Aluko and Matthew John, which will stand them in good stead for next season! Meanwhile, with a 5-1 record, the Cheetahs move on to the postseason and a hotly anticipated rematch with the London Blitz. Having come within a single score of the Blitz last time around, Hertfordshire will be confident they can force a result come August 12th, and be the first team to beat the Blitz in over a year!
Photo Credit: http://www.hertfordshirecheetahs.com/index.php/tag/exiles/