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
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
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
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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