Black Widows (amazon, Hobnail) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)
One of the trickier games I've had this season, and as it's late I only have time for a short report.
Hobnail's team is built on bash, and although he doesn't have a piling on player he is a vicious fouler and generally prefers to kill elves than to outscore them.
He won the toss and elected to receive, and at the kickoff the weather turned wet. My kick was right in the corner of the end zone. The 'zons pushed back the LOS but couldn't do any damage, and one of the ST blitzers charged my line to try to bring down Telthanthor. Meanwhile he dropped a thrower and a catcher back to get the ball, but they couldn't pick it up.
My turn was pretty uneventful, although I started the process which was to continue throughout the match of blitzing with my ST4 mighty blow tackle catcher and failing to remove any 'zons from the field. Those fur bikinis clearly offer a great deal of protection!
The key moment in the match happened in Hobnail's second turn, when with most of his team engaged on the LOS, and not having marked my catchers who I'd sent round the side, Hobnail's thrower failed to pick up the wet ball and it scattered out of play. The crowd threw the ball back into the middle of the field, whereupon Gil-Galad was able to jog forward, pick it up and run home a score on turn 2. I could have stalled, but frankly I just wanted to get a TD on the board and give Hobnail another chance of failing to pick it up.
This chance came quite quickly, since although this time the kick was more central, Hobnail again put all his attention into the LOS. He recovered the ball with his thrower, but didn't have the range to get it into the pocket he'd built in the middle and so attempted to throw it in. Of course the pass failed and yet again the ball fell kindly for me and I had the chance to grab the ball with nothing ahead of me. This time however I somehow contrived to stuff things up.
What I should have done, I think, was to use my pace on the catchers to get the ball and outrun the covering defenders, but instead I made a pocket for Cirdan midway inside the amazon half on the right hand side, allowing Hobnail to get players ahead of me. I had the chance to pull back and change the angle of attack but chose not to, trying to thrust forward through the defence, which turned out to be an error as the brutal amazonian blitzers managed to injure Legolas, forcing the use of my apothecary. My catchers and thrower were isolated in the pocket from the rest of my team, and although I was able to make a space for Cirdan to escape into the centre and screen him off, a good blitz and some GFIs allowed the 'zons to surround him and, crucially, get their DT catcher into contact.
If I could have dodged clear I would have been able to pass the ball to Alawe waiting in the end zone, but it was not to be and Cirdan came crashing down. Hobnail snaffled the ball and sprinted off towards the end zone but Telthanthor and a couple of rookie linemen were able to delay him long enough to ensure the half ended 1-0 to me.
In the second half I received and a pitch invasion clobbered half of the amazons, and I quickly moved the ball to one side. Again, however I managed to stuff things up, firstly allowing Hobnail to get players back, secondly by rolling a series of bad dice to ensure I couldn't block the marking amazons away, and thirdly by failing a pass into the cage.
To make things worse, Hobnail began removing players and I could just not hurt those 'zons however often I hit them. I was forced to grab the ball with Gil-Galad and scurry off with it towards my end zone, and meanwhile Hobnail systematically began removing my players from the pitch. On turn 13 however I saw an opportunity - Maedhros blitzed a marker away from Cirdan by the centre circle, and Gil-Galad sprinted forward to hand him the ball. Meanwhile Glorfindel dodged away from his 2 markers and ran for the corner of the pitch near the end zone, enabling Cirdan to pass the ball to him.
Only two amazons were in range, and neither had tackle or wrestle, and so with side step and blodge I felt I had a good chance. Unfortunately the 'zons' dice held up and they KO'd Glorfindel to boot! There was only one chance to cement the win, and Cirdan took it, dodging and weaving through traffic, picking up the ball in a TZ and dodging through players yet again to score on turn 15!
Two amazon turns left, and I just let them score, not bothering to defend. The girls did manage to corner Cirdan with a late blitz and gang foul, but he survived unscathed and the game ended with a 2-1 win.