Round 5 vs Sheffield Thunder in Manchester

Round 5 presented yet another warm and sunny Manchester day for the travelling Sheffield Thunder. The last match between these two clubs back in Round 2 saw the Manchester boys come out on top at the Thunder’s new ground, with most of the Mozzies’ work being done in the second half of the match against a tiring and undermanned Sheffield squad. With a tough second half to this season- which involves playing Huddersfield twice- the Manchester squad were keen to make a statement to the league about their ability to pressure their opposition for the full 4 quarters of the match. This mission started well with the first quarter seeing the home team off to a strong start, making good use of a full squad for interchanges in the warm weather. The Thunder worked hard to push back, but couldn’t match the 8 goals scored by the Mozzies in the first term.

Suffering with some injured players and a limited bench, the Thunder struggled to gain ground in the second quarter; the heat of the day certainly not helping out the away team on this occasion. Sheffield worked to find scoring opportunities, but the Mozzies defenders constantly intervened, allowing the team to storm ahead and make full use of key forwards to end the first half with a 12-goal lead.

The Thunder rallied at half time, returning to the game with renewed vigour and determination to refocus their energy and make the Mozzies work harder for every opportunity. The Manchester boys had been reminded about Sheffield’s key men and their ability to show their experience and thrive under pressure situations. But the home team managed to continue to drive the game, taking full advantage of their maximum-capacity bench and fresh legs to out run the Thunder. The goal tally read 7 goals to 2 in Manchester’s favour by the end of the third term.

With the Mozzies’ adrenaline buoyed by the first three quarters, and with the awareness of their full bench advantage in the warm weather, they launched into the final term with determination and energy. The Thunder couldn’t maintain their high energy in the exhausting conditions, and the Mozzies pushed to the final siren with 12.4 vs. 2.4 in the last term. A tough one for the Thunder with a depleted bench in the heat, but a top effort nonetheless with many gaining valuable game time experience.

Cheers to Sheffield for sticking around as usual and making the most of the BBQ and raffle in the fantastic Burnage Rugby Club grounds.

Special mention to Aman ‘Dipper’ Singh on his first goal for the Mozzies. The Deli “Play of the Day” goes to him once more for his efforts (amongst, I’m told, a couple of comedy moments. Sorry mate, can only go with what I’m told!)

Alex Salama again took The Didsbury Inn “Man of the Match” for booting many goals (12 we believe, which this time didn’t involve robbing Dipper of his first!)

Quarter by quarters…

Manchester: 8.5.53 15.8.98 22.12.144 32.16.208

Sheffield: 1.2.8 3.5.23 5.6.36 7.10.52

Sal tackle

 

 

Round 4 vs Nottingham Scorpions in Manchester

A hot and sunny day in Manchester greeted the travelling Nottingham Scorpions for Round 4. Other than a draw for the Mosquitoes the week previously, both teams entered this contest on maximum points. Everyone knew this match between the two traditional rivals of Northern footy was set to be a belter.

In the first quarter, the Mozzies opened strongly, slotting 5 goals with some nice work up the midfield of the pitch. The Scorpions employed their well known brand of big kick-outs to a strong-marking full forward, which kept the scores close at the first break with only one goal in it.

The second quarter allowed Nottingham to start playing their game a little more. With only a 9-man squad of mixed experience levels, they were able to pick their key men and convert a good ratio of scoring shots. The wind was not a factor like it had been in recent rounds, but with a good physical match-up from the “Scorps”, the Mozzies were restricted to putting most of their shots through as behinds in the second quarter. Half time score- 8.10.58 to 8.4.52 in Manchester’s favour.

The third quarter is well known for swinging a tight match, and that’s exactly what this one did. The Mozzies needed no reminder that they had all 7 men on the bench as they went all out in short, sharp bursts. They all knew that Nottingham didn’t benefit from the same numbers on the day, and the boys worked hard at demoralising the opposition early in the third term by kicking several goals.

The momentum of the third term was carried right in to the final quarter with the Nottingham side tiring in the warm conditions and the Mozzies running strong with some great support from the Burnage home crowd. Finishing in style, they kicked 9.4 vs 1.1 for the final 20’ and showed the league why they remain year-on-year a powerhouse of the league.

 

Final quarter-by-quarter scores:

Manchester 5.2.32 8.10.58 14.12.96 23.16.154

Nottingham 4.1.25 8.4.52 10.5.65 11.6.72

Goals: A. Salama 10; Mike Kilheeney 3; C. Britton, B. Sweetman, D. Thomas 2; B. Norris, S. Boyd, A. Hosking, L Paech 1.

 

The Man of the Match award, sponsored by The Didsbury, went to new boy Alex Salama for booting 10 at full forward! No discredit to a great individual performance, but it should be pointed out he was very well fed from all over the ground, with defenders and mids picking him out from everywhere.

The Deli Play of the Day went to Aman Singh for nearly scoring his first goal, only to have it “guaranteed” on the line by said Man of the Match! Well done on a solid performance when called upon.

 

Thanks to Burnage for being great hosts as always, major sponsors Tradewind along with The Didsbury and The Deli, and to the great support crew who were down in numbers! All teams have a bye next week and will be back in action on Saturday 31st May/Sunday 1st June.

Nik chase

Round 1 vs Birmingham in Manchester

Round 1 saw two matches in the Spring Mancunian sunshine; Manchester Mosquitoes vs Birmingham Bears, and Sheffield Thunder vs Huddersfield Rams.

A minute silence was held before the first fixture for ANZAC Day which was the day before. All those at Burnage surrounded the centre square to respect the service men and women past and present.

Manchester vs Birmingham

In the latter match the Mosquitoes were keen to get a solid start on their home deck, against an opponent they knew had defeated them in the same fixture exactly one year previously, and many of whose players had enjoyed a great pre-season with both the Bears and the Birmingham Sharks university side.

Both teams started fast, each booting 4.3 for the quarter. With the Mozzies playing into the wind towards the clubhouse end of the 3G pitch, Manchester maybe had the best of it early on, bringing on a retaliation from the Bears once they’d got used to the deck and the conditions in the latter part of the quarter.

The second quarter had the Mosquitoes kicking with the wind, allowing the small midfielders a chance to really run at the Birmingham defence and ensure a good bag of goals between themselves and the forwards. With the fitness of the Birmingham side, the Bears were able to kick 6 scoring shots themselves for the quarter, keeping the half time difference to 3 goals only, making it 61 vs 43 in the Mozzies’ favour.

The Mosquitoes were given a firm reminder during the break that Birmingham had turned around a deficit in last year’s Round 1 match and unexpectedly came back to win the match. Keen to ensure the past wouldn’t repeat itself, the Mozzies were determined to not let Birmingham’s key men roam free, knowing they had the fitness to run freely if they were given the opportunity. Clearly the boys listened well, booting 4.3 for the quarter, but clearly the Birmingham boys remembered last year well too, managing one shot more than the Mosquitoes in the third term, but only managing to score 2.5.

A key development point for the Mosquitoes was the ability to start well and see it all the way through to the final whistle. This they managed with patience, ensuring they were accountable in the defence, but sensing the match was theirs for the taking by the start of the final quarter. Despite a late sending off for an incident leading to a scuffle, Manchester were able to drive at the Bears for the final down-wind quarter and send 7 goals through the posts, denying any chance of a late Birmingham comeback.

Perhaps the most pleasing elements for the Mozzies were the introduction of several new players, having 8 separate goal kickers, and being able to put into practice the key principles they’d been training with which provided consistency through all 4 quarters.

Final score Manchester 20.14.134 def. Birmingham 10.12.72.

The Didsbury Man of the Match went jointly to Myles Hudson and Chris Britton, each playing their first league match for the Mozzies!

Special mention to Pete Cunningham who took the Deli Play of the Day (without actually playing!) for his true Mozzies spirit in accompanying a Sheffield player to hospital and staying there almost all day!

Myles kick

 

Sheffield vs Huddersfield

In the earlier match, Sheffield Thunder took on Huddersfield Rams whose last run out on Manchester’s 3G pitch saw them take home the Movember Cup late last year. Sheffield have seen a few player changes over the off-season but were still known to be going into the game as a steady force in the AFLCNE league. The Rams started with a line-up more familiar to many, with a large squad of local talent to choose from.

The first quarter had Sheffield opening strongly, kicking twice the number of scoring shots as Huddersfield. The Thunder had a great start which had them up by three points at quarter time, with the Rams ensuring their scoring shots counted where possible to keep the score difference to only 3 points.

The Rams came right back at Sheffield in the latter part of the second term, after an extended delay due to a knockout suffered by Sheffield’s Callum Merrick. After a day in Wythenshawe Hospital, we’re glad to hear he’s out safe and sound. After the stoppage, the Rams were able to gain some ground and kick a number of shots, however most ended up as behinds in a tricky wind. The half time score had Sheffield up by 7 points.

The third quarter saw a mixed affair for the two competing sides, with each putting plenty through the posts. The Rams didn’t sway in the wind anymore however and showed some class in putting all 5 of their scoring shots through the centre posts, versus the Thunder’s 2 goals and 5 behinds.

Perhaps the Ram’s large squad size and Sheffield’s loss of a key big player was starting to show as by the final quarter Huddersfield were able to boot 4.7 to 0.3, giving the score board a big swing in their favour on a match which seemed a lot tighter to the spectators, when considered over all four quarters.

Final score Huddersfield 12.13.85 def. Sheffield 6.15.51.

 

Social Match

After the main two fixtures there was also a half-length social match between a full Huddersfield development side, made mostly of local school talent, against the weary legs of a few of the Mozzie boys. 40 minutes of some petty casual footy (let’s be honest!) provided a great opportunity for the young Rams to show their skills against a few more experienced players and a few flairy goals were kicked by both sides once the earlier wind had dropped right out. Thanks to Huddersfield for bringing the squad and even lending a couple to keep it 9-a-side.

 

Thanks

The Mozzies would like to thank our home club Burnage Rugby Club for being excellent hosts as always. Also, thanks to our major sponsor Tradewind Recruitment, and to The Deli and The Didsbury Inn for their support.

team shot round1