Varsity matches are always hyped up as one of the main events of the year. The first American Football varsity certainly lived up to the hype. The University of Liverpool Raptors were formed for the first time this year while the Liverpool John Moores University Fury has been around for 10 years now. The Raptors showed they were not a side which would roll over easily, however despite this Fury won at 33 – 26 after a nail-biting match.
1st quarter: Raptors 8- 6 Fury
In a very even first quarter the Raptors took the lead after a bitter fight against Fury. While Tshimanga(3) was a constant danger the real hero of this quarter was Cook(88), the first receiver to ever score a touchdown for the Raptors. Fury are the current champions of the Northern division so this is a strong performance from the Raptors; their last two meetings have ended in decisive victories by Fury.
2nd quarter: Raptors 20 – 21 Fury
Fury made some adaptations to bring it back following the Raptors’ refusal to go down without a fight in the first quarter. Fury played well taking the lead in their first drive. Despite the many efforts of Webster(55), the rock of the middle line, and Girt, who sacked the Fury quarterback, Fury managed to slip through the Raptors’ defence and score. Despite this, the Raptors kept their fighting spirit and exploited the space left by Fury’s defence; Powell(20) ensured the Raptors stayed in the fight by consecutively winning ground and scoring a touchdown. Harris(7) built on this by scoring a touchdown after a beautiful play action. After an even first half the Raptors are showing the champions that they are a rival to be feared.
3rd quarter: Raptors 20 – 27 Fury
This quarter had much less scoring and much more swapping than the previous quarters; both teams were playing much smarter defensively. While Laurent was at it again penetrating deep into the Raptors’ defensive line, Girt(45) made many good tackles and got his second sack of the game. However, despite the Raptors’ best efforts Fury managed to secure a touchdown. Powell, however, ensured a conversion was denied. The Raptors looked like they were starting to lose momentum in this quarter. While they stayed tight, it wasn’t enough to stop Fury increasing their lead.
4th quarter: Raptors 26 – 34 Fury
The Raptors stepped up their game this quarter with a ‘do or die’ attitude; however, Fury managed to keep up with them and secured a hard fought victory. After an initial failed punt the Raptors adapted quickly with Powell and Medjber(35) winning drives. Fury attempted to seal their victory early on but the Raptors’ defence was too much for them to handle, allowing the Raptors to cling on. The Raptors’ defence played so well. Norbury(30) managed to score a touchdown after a O’Connell(64) smashed through the backline, although this was disallowed by the ref. Fury continued to slip under pressure after giving a penalty close to the goal line, which allowed Callum Harris to sprint down the wing and score a touchdown bringing to game to 26 – 27. Victory was in sight for the Raptors but a false start led to a disallowed conversion, which would have put the Raptors in the lead. Despite this, Fury’s offence did not disappoint with Laurent scoring a late touchdown to ensure Fury Victory.
After a tense and nail biting game the Raptors showed what they were made of after their first ever season. My choice of offensive MVP would have to be Callum Harris and my defensive MVP is Will Girt; it was too hard to decide the overall. After the match I spoke to Callum Harris, Will Girt, and Jack Powell. Callum told us that
“this was the best game we’ve played all season. Everyone had loads of fun and he can see the Raptors growing into an even stronger team next year.”
Will Girt agreed, and explained that they’d
“built a strong base and all the coaches are pushing the players to unlock their potential.”
Matt Powell added that the Varsity was
“another level and although we didn’t win we fought hard and showed LJMU, including ourselves, that this season has been one of building and we are starting to reap the fruits of our labour.”
Laurent Tshimanga told us
“we thought it would be much easier. The Raptors really showed up today, they were much tighter than when we played them in the past. Their society is still growing but it’s clear they will grow into a strong side.”