Leeds Celtics 32 – 8 Northumbria Mustangs
The Leeds Celtics hosted the Northumbria Mustangs this weekend. Coming into their fifth match, both teams had won two and lost two so Sunday’s game would give the victor vital momentum going into the second half of the season.
On the first drive of the game Northumbria’s defence forced the Celtics to punt the ball without conceding a first down. This sent a powerful message to the Celtics: the Mustangs were here to win. On the ensuing drive, the Mustangs offence reaffirmed this. They achieved big gains running the ball to the outside and capped the drive with a touchdown.
This show of strength did not perturb the Celtics. Throughout the season the team has shown an impressive ability to consolidate following disappointment. The shock of an early touchdown might have brought the prospect of defeat into sharp relief for some, and perhaps others realized that the Celtics need to earn their reputation rather than rest on it. Either way, they started to play hard and didn’t stop until the final whistle.
Their first touchdown was the result of an impressive drive with gains made on the ground and in the air. They took high-pressure situations in their stride and advanced into strong field position, which Toby Richardson took advantage of by running into the endzone.
A good defensive performance gave the Celtics offence plenty of opportunities. A few mistakes resulted in turnovers following strong gains, but eventually another touchdown drive was constructed, finished with a shallow pass to Caspian Paget. After this score, the Celtics led the game 16 – 8.
Although the Celtics were slow to start, once they had taken control of the game, they were not going to let it go without a fight. The Mustangs’ defence kept the hosts honest by intercepting several passes, but their offence failed to match up and the Celtics dominated the rest of the match.
The Mustangs took possession following the Celtics’ second touchdown and were bullied by the defensive line. The Celtics soon had possession and did not waste a minute in capitalizing. Toby Richardson took a hand off on the first play and juked through the crowd of defenders on his way to another touchdown. This brought the score to 24 – 8.
As the sun sank below the horizon, the Celtics busied themselves reinforcing their position. The offence continued to find holes in the opposing defence and Freddie Gough caught a pass in the endzone for their fourth touchdown. As the last minute ticked away, the Celtics’ defence held the Mustangs’ final drive at bay, affirming once again that they are a premier unit. The game ended 32 – 8 to the Celtics. Their record now stands at 3 – 2, placing them in contention for the playoffs.
On the February 3 Leeds Celtics will take on the Met in their postponed Varsity match which was cancelled due to lack of an available referee.