Tuesday, 13 March 2012

They call it 'winning ugly'

The final game of the regular season. I was already guaranteed a place in the play offs, but I was playing for league position and (theoretically) an easier game in the quarter finals. Kelly, my opponent, was still struggling to secure qualification. After a rough start to the season, his Wood Elves had slowly shown improving form and he'd won his first game the previous week.

Slann Frogcisco 49ers 2 - 1 Barrowman's Ball Benders (Casualties 1-2)

In front of a packed house of their own fans (all Slann, no Elves) the game was delayed by a riot which began at the snack bar (they'd run out of flies). The 49ers, who'd elected to kick because they expected to have time to respond to the Benders' inevitable score, were suddenly very worried. Their worry deepened when a Treeman came crashing through their lines shortly followed by half the Wood Elf team and the ball.

A desperate defence began and ball was stripped from the Elf Catcher's hands, however it bounced to a Slann in the middle of the scrum and so the 49ers were forced to leap in to the ruck to even the odds. The Elves then uncharacteristically began to put the boot in. Three Slann were stretchered off but the ball stayed safe in the 49ers' grasp. However, up field a lone Slann Lineman was mobbed by a pack of Elves (I think the collective noun is a 'pretention of Elves') who proceeded to jump up an down on his head.

Realising that scoring was out of the question, the 49ers set about keeping the ball from the Benders. A series of extremely flimsy cages were formed, with the Blitzers forming the major impediment to agile elves. Wardancers twice leapt into cages but were unable to claw the ball from Slann flippers and the half ended as it began at 0-0.

The Elves found themselves a two player's short at the beginningof the second half and so were naturally concerned at their ability to hold back the 49ers. Ever conscious of the leaping Wardancers, the frogs took up a formation known as the 'safe' (it's a bit stronger than the cage) and began to barge their way slowly down field.

With the Treeman stranded away from the action the Benders were unable to offer any real threat to the safe as it scraped along and so busied themselves with ambushing lone catchers and fouling them. One of the elves was sent off for a particularly nasty foul and the normally cold-blooded Slann lost their cool and began to respond in kind. Stupidly, this enabled a plucky Wardancer to launch a desperate block to shove a Slann into the ball carrier and knock him off the pitch.

The ball was thrown into the centre and a mad scramble began infront of the Elf touchline. Elves and Slann scrabbled for the ball and twice the ball was knocked from Wood Elf hands. Eventually pass was fumbled and a Slann Catcher was able to grab the ball from under the nose of a Wardancer and jump into the end zone.

The Elves, even further depleted, set up to recieve the ball. Three went back for the ball, the Treeman and two others stayed in the centre and the Catcher and a Wardancer went long. The Slann Blitzers went for man marking on the Wood Elf recievers and the Kroxigor and Linemen traded blows with the Benders' centre. A Lineman and a Catcher went deep for the ball (which was still on the floor) but were unable to reach it and had to settle for putting tackle zones on it.

The Benders looks set to go for a big play, but the Treeman made a mess of a block and suddenly the Slann had an opportunity. The Catcher grabbed the ball (again under Elven noses) and hopped away to score and take the 49ers into a completely undeserved 2-0 lead.

One turn remaining and Barrowman's Ball Benders were feeling justifiably robbed. However an in depth coaching discussion came up with a strategy to restore some pride. The ball was recieved and passed to the catcher. A single Slann lineman was then pushed and shoved from pillar to post until hi bundeld the Catcher forwards. The lithe Elf then broke into a run, skipped through the Slann defensive line and danced into the end zone for a consolation touchdown.

The game ended a 2-1, but the Wood Elves were showing signs of developing into a bigger threat than everyone had previously had them marked as. The Slann we just happy they'd got away with daylight robbery.

Kelly was right to feel a touch robbed in this game. He'd taken advantage of mistake I made well and was unfortunate that bouncing balls and key blocks didn't work out for him. I was also aware that I wasn't burning my rerolls at my usual rate (partly because I was trying to avoid taking risks as dropping the ball against fast teams can hurt). The game felt like a draw, and it certainly wasn't a 2-0 win so the last turn touchdown was well deserved.

I've now done for the regular season and I'm guaranteed to finish at least fourth. However, as this will 'win' me another game against the Rottenham Tight 'Uns and their annoying disturbing presence, I'm hoping that my rivals (Matt's Chaos team and Tom's Dwarves) slip up in their last games so that I can avoid such a tricky game.

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