Friday, 22 February 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 3A Match 2

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf) v Fast Bunny United (pro elf)

A mere six Bunnies were fit to take part in this match, giving my opponent 590,000 GP in inducements and five journeyman linemen. Nevertheless the elves had a good thrower (accurate, safe throw) and two catchers - one of whom was the team's only remaining star, with AG5, block, dodge and leap.

After the match the Bunnies' coach said that he expected a high scoring shootout, which influenced his choice of inducements - he took Eldril Sidewinder, who was a real threat throughout the match, plus a strip ball catcher and a tackle blitzer as mercenaries. This actually gave him a personnel advantage over me, which kind of negated my initial plan of getting a numbers advantage by killing all the defenceless linemen. On the other hand he didn't have a wizard, which I thought at the time was a very odd decision (he could have taken a wizard instead of the strip ball catcher).

I was very worried going into this match - the opposing coach was much more experienced than me and although his team looked weak on paper I have a huge amount of respect for the pro elf offence, and its ability to score a lightning fast TD from out of nowhere - nerves of steel on those catchers is just so useful

The Bunnies won the toss and elected  to receive. The kick was deep (my kicker was injured), and the pro elves used Eldril's hypnotic gaze to open a small hole, which turned into a player-sized hole as the merc blitzer KO'd Werelenial on the very left hand side of my line (he remained out for the entire match). The Bunnies ran round the left hand side through that hole, and made a pocket around their AG5 catcher deep in my half, running 2 more catchers through the gap.

I then had to decide whether or not to try to stop the TD, and I chose not to. I blitzed Eldril with Vanval, hoping to eliminate one of my opponent's key weapons for breaking my lines, but didn't manage to break armour. I ran a player to threaten the elven thrower, but the elves threw the ball to a catcher and handed the ball off to their star to run in a score on turn 2. 0-1 to Fast Bunny Utd.

The ease that they did this was quite shocking to me, and straight away I realised that I could not let the pro elves have another offensive drive. I determined to do a "pure" 2-1 drive, scoring on turn 8 and turn 16 only.

The Bunnies kicked deep, and I knocked over the pro elf line, KOing a journeyman lineman, before Cirdan picked the ball up and passed it to Felagund in a cage by the centre of the pitch. The Bunnies stood off me, just forming a line, and I shifted the cage forward and right into the pro elf half. My opponent's key weapon was the ability to hypnotise a cage corner with Eldril, and follow that up with a blitz from the strip ball catcher, hopefully knocking the ball  somewhere that one of their other catchers could pick it up and make a throw out of TZs to a receiver downfield. With nerves of steel on their catchers I was paranoid about this, and had intended to keep players around my cage to form a second layer of defence. Straight away here though I exposed a cage corner to Eldril, who very fortunately failed the 3+ roll to hypnotise the cage corner. The pro elves blitzed the cage anyway and managed to get their sidestep blitzer and catcher next to Felagund, but I blocked and blitzed them away next turn and formed my two layer screen.

The rest of the half was a bit more of a procession - I removed a few more linemen to KOs and casualties, and bullied Eldril with Vanval whenever I could. There was a bit of a concern when the strip ball catcher dodged into 3 tackle zones to threaten the carrier, but he was tackled on the way in. By turn 8 the cage was about 4 squares from the line, and I had trapped some of his players on the wrong side of the ball. There was little to stop me brushing his defence aside to hand the ball off to Glorfindel for his second career touchdown, and 1-1 at half time.

The second half began with a blitz, and with a sinking feeling I waited for the Bunnies to flood my half, but at least the ball was due to land next to Hurin in midfield so any receiver they put in place would be marked. In the end they could only roll a push on their blitz and couldn't get through the line. They sent their AG5 leaper hurtling through the air on the right and he leaped over my defence, but he rolled a double 1 on the dodge and fell on his face!

I quickly scooped the ball up and made a cage by the LOS in the middle. The pro elves immediately signalled their intention to be more aggressive this half by pushing into contact and leaping in with his AG5 catcher to knock the ball loose. It was caught by Alawe, however, and I was able to cut right and set up a new cage halfway inside the pro elf half.

Keeping up the pressure, the Bunnies pushed almost their whole team into the cage, and although I was able to fight most of them off their AG5 catcher remained next to a cage corner. He knocked down the cage corner, Eldril swooped in to hypnotise one of the defending high elves, and suddenly they had a 2D block on the ball carrier with their strip ball catcher.

The block was no better than a push however (dodge on Felagund was golden in this match) and the ball was ripped loose but caught by Alawe for a second time! Most of the pro elves were on the right of the pitch, and so I cleared them away from the ball carrier and set up a new cage by the pro elf line on the left. There was still time for the leap catcher to jump into the cage, but again he could do no better than a push, and this was the last throw of the dice for the Bunnies. Eldril and the leap catcher were KO'd and Felagund ran in the TD on turn 16. 2-1 to the Guard.

 The pro elves tried the one turner, but the opening blitz was 2D against and they didn't get a push. The matched finished with a 2-1 win for the Guard!

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