Tuesday, 12 January 2016

LJMU beat Edge Hill in first of crucial Merseyside double header

Liverpool John Moores Fury defeated their new neighbours Edge Hill Vikings 35-19 in the first game of a potentially crucial double header in the Division 2 North West (D2NW) on Sunday.
In a clash of the division’s oldest and newest teams, it was the Fury who came away with the win against their new local rivals, having been down by a score at half time.
Having been used to being divisional also-rans for most of their time in the league, the last couple of years have seen LJMU grow into a dynamic and potent force on their day, and they are now the most experienced side in the D2NW. Edge Hill, meanwhile, are one of the two new teams in the Merseyside area – the other being University of Liverpool (UoL) Raptors – who have been born in the wake of the success of the senior league’s Merseyside Nighthawks.
LJMU’s first half rustiness in this game could be forgiven – while Edge Hill came flying into this game off the back of an opening day 37-12 victory over UoL, LJMU’s first game against Keele Crusaders was called off.

Edge Hill’s elusive and mobile quarterback Alan King had thrown two long touchdowns that gave the Vikings their half-time edge, but the dogged and powerful running of the Fury’s Nighthawks running backs Laurent Tshimanga and Daishawn Honohan dragged them back into the game as they clicked into gear in the second half. With both teams running no huddle offences, it’s a contest that produces fast-paced, action packed football.
LJMU Fury and Edge Hill Vikings line up on Sunday © John Maher
For now, it’s advantage LJMU, but the sides will meet again this weekend, and a win for Edge Hill could still throw a spanner into the Fury’s plans.
With the remaining two teams in D2NW being Bangor Muddogs and Keele Crusaders – the former on the back of a 2-6 season and the latter having only recently recorded their first ever win – LJMU are the obvious favourites for playoff qualification, but Edge Hill have high ambitions, and both sides are aware that the results of these back-to-back games could end up deciding the outcome of the season.
“This is the toughest challenge of the season – JMU on paper are the best team that we will face, and the most experienced,” said Edge Hill offensive lineman Ryan Stillwell. “I don’t want to sound like I’m getting ahead of myself given that we’re a new team, but I genuinely believe if we can beat JMU we can go to the playoffs.”
Fury defensive back Ben Rawthore added: “Even though it may sound crazy to be talking about playoffs this early in the season. Only one team from each division will make it into the playoffs and with no disrespect to the other teams in the league, whoever comes out on top in this clash is unlikely to drop a two game lead. This is why these games are so important.
If we’re not careful the season could be over before we know it.

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