21 May 2017
Leicester Falcons obtained revenge for their previous defeat as they overcame Sandwell Steelers 31-13 at Wolverhampton Rugby Club. The hugely important win keeps the Falcons in the playoff chase with a run of home games to come.
Sandwell drew first blood, engineering a long drive down the field behind running back James Jones-Cross, but were stopped in the red zone and took a short field goal for 3 points. Leicester equalised on their subsequent possession, a big pass from Falcons quarterback Troy Lee to Taylor Brown making up the majority of the yards, but also came up short and Dan Burton, who had a 100% kick success ratio on the day, kicked the tying points. The Steelers kept the pressure up and immediately threw a long touchdown pass from Callum Davidson to Josh Lawrence to end the first quarter leading 10-3.
In the second quarter the Steelers were knocking on the door of the Falcons goal line again, but recent acquisition Dom Olney came up with an important interception on the goal line to end the Steelers momentum. On the very next play Troy Lee linked up with his fellow University of Derby alumni Kyren Watts, throwing a quick bubble screen pass which Watts took 65 yards for the touchdown. Sandwell got the ball back, but not for long, as two plays later Davidson threw his second interception, this time to Falcons cornerback Dan Smith. Running back Nat Eaves wasted no time in bulldozing through the Steelers defence for a 22 yard score and, just like that, the Falcons found themselves in front 17-10. Sandwell tried to end the half with another score but were stopped by linebacker Parm Sidhu, who marked his return from injury with a juggling interception.
The third quarter was scoreless and one for the defences, Falcons receiver Jack Verling coming closest to scoring but couldn’t quite control a deep pass in the end zone. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Sandwell added another field goal to keep the pressure on the Falcons, but Leicester responded with a big play, Lee throwing to Watts in what would have been a carbon-copy of his earlier touchdown but for accidentally stepping on the sideline ten yards out. The Falcons scored on this drive anyway, quarterback Troy Lee keeping the ball himself on an option run to make the score 24-13. The Falcons linebackers came up big on the subsequent drive, effectively removing the Steelers running game, and forced the Steelers into punting. Taylor Brown added a late rushing touchdown to make the game safe.
Next up for the Falcons are three games at home, beginning on 4th June when they take on Coventry Jets in the “M69 bowl”. The Falcons play at Leicester Road Stadium, Hinckley, and ticket information is available on www.leicesterfalcons.co.uk.