The game in pictures
Leicester Falcons began their Premier Division campaign with a solid victory over Sheffield Giants at TMDP Park on Sunday.
The Falcons were stunned in the week when a shock ruling by the national governing body BAFA led to the Falcons’ new acquisitions from their Baker University partnership being declared ineligible for the game only three days before the season was due to begin. The Falcons turned instead to their backup quarterback, University of Leicester’s Ted Watts, who performed admirably, throwing three touchdown passes and over 100 yards.
The match began well for Leicester when, on the third play of the game, Giants quarterback Dan Johnson’s pass was tipped and landed in the arms of star safety Taylor Brown, leaving a short field that Falcons running back Marcus Francis ate up before Watts found Danny Burton in the corner for a touchdown. Sheffield almost replied with a score of their own following a deep pass to Josh Allen, but the Giants turned the ball over at the goal line. However the Falcons offence was forced back into the end zone to concede a two point safety.
The second quarter was one for the defences with neither team able to get much going on offence. Too many penalty yards hampered the Falcons but the defence held firm and debutant Tola Alabi made an interception on the defensive line, one of six turnovers forced on the afternoon by the Falcons.
The second half began in the same way as the first, with a second interception from Brown and a quick score, this time from receiver Tom Jarrett, who made an incredible catch in traffic in the end zone for a 14-2 lead. The Giants offence, leaning on the same three players throughout, began to tire and Dan Pell picked off the fourth Giants pass of the afternoon. Sheffield’s biggest play of the second half came on a cleverly executed fake punt and run, but tried the play a second time later in the drive and this time the Falcons defence was ready, forcing a turnover on downs. Leicester’s third score of the game came late from ex-Giant Deivydas Merkelis, and although Sheffield pulled one back in the final minute from Allen it wasn’t enough, and Leicester came away with the 21-7 victory.
Next on the slate for the Falcons is in two weeks time when Merseyside Nighthawks visit (Sun 28th April, 2:30 kick off).