Game 8 and it is crunch time. Both teams were outside of the playoffs going into the game but with two wins and other results going their way either team could scrape into 4th place and playoff contention. It was all to play for then. Going into the game my Elves were giving up quite a bit in TV, enough that the Chaos coach hired a mercenary Minotaur rather than his tried and tested Lewdgrip Whipwarm.
(I confess that I didn’t take notes during the match itself for this one, but I did write a quick summary when I got home. Hopefully I’ll be able to piece my notes together into a half decent report.)
So how would the must-win game play out…
The Elves won the toss and elected to receive, hoping for a pressure relieving quick score to start things off. Before the game started though the fans, feeling the pressure of the occasion, threw a rock at a player on each side with both teams having a stunned player to start the half.
The Elves looked for gaps but the Chaos setup was solid and didn’t offer any lanes for the Elf receivers to run into. The Elves tried though and the Chaos players responded by basing up and filling any gaps that were created. On T2 the Elf thrower failed to pickup the ball and the Chaos beastmen kept up the pressure using their horns all of the pitch where it benefitted them the most. The Elves were forced to dodge away and out of danger and at the second time of asking picked up the ball. The defensive cover wasn’t quite good enough though and one beastman blitzed through from the right knocking the ball carrier over and picking up the loose ball as teammates rushed through to provide support. The Elves, shocked by the early change of possession, fell back to cover and attempt to win the ball back. The Elves did manage to win the ball back out of the scrum with their rookie catcher spotting the loose ball in the middle of the Elves half and running it up the left flank where he was supported by screening teammates. It was now the Chaos teams turn to switch from attack to defence and they dropped back to cover their end zone. The Elves, fearing the charging horns and violence of the Warriors, blitzed a hole down the left side just inside the Chaos half before handing off and running in for the first score of the game on Turn 5.
The teams setup for the second time and the Chaos team were hoping for a quick score to go in level at the half. They charged forward and made a short pass upfield catching the Elves leaden-footed. A leaden-footed Elf is still a decent player though and the team covered well to halt the marauding beastmen. The horns were proving effective and the ball carrier and two companions charged through just short of the endzone. The Elves had one last chance to prevent the levelling score and flooded back to apply tackle zones where ever the could. The damage was mounting up though and the Elves lost their Thrower to a serious injury (his last game for the team) and star Blodging Catcher being KO’d (and not to return this game). On the last turn of the half the Chaos team blocked away as many tackle zones as possible but there was still one lone Elf which proved to be enough to put off the ball carrier as he couldn’t make the dodge into the endzone for the touchdown. The referee blew the whistle and the half ended with the Elves 1-0 up.
First Half Analysis
The Chaos coach is one of the more experienced in our league and you can see that in his positional play. There was no space for me to easily exploit. Of course, it was there but I had to roll a lot of dice and the law of averages says that I will fail them. As a result there was more base to base contact than I would normally like. The horns meant that my defensive lines could always be hit hard however I lined them up. I didn’t feel in control for much of the half but I was extremely pleased by the way that I defended at the end of the half. Sometimes all you can do is make the opponent roll as many dice as you can and let probability take over. Having gone in 1-0 at the half I was still confident in getting the result.
The fans wanted their say again and rioted at the start of the half with one player from each side being stunned. The Chaos team received and picked up the ball and aggressively moved it forward. They were lucky enough to get a free turn when one of the Elves on the right flank tripped and fell over at the start of the turn. The Chaos team continued to throw blocks and make forward progress with the Elves only able to cover the ball and make one unsuccessful attempt to get the ball. Just as the Chaos looked like they would continue the bashing, they switched play over to the Elf left with another pass. The Elves changed the direction of their defence, but it was too little too late and the Chaos walked in for the score on T5 of the second half.
Down two players, including their still KO’d star Catcher, the Elves were however still confident of getting the game winning score. The Chaos team had other ideas though and managed to Blitz the Elves from the kick off. Knocking over the Elf line and running through to pressure the backfield. The Elves managed to get the ball when the ball came down, but danger was looming. The advanced Beastmen knocked the ball free and a mini scrum ensued with the ball eventually bouncing to the AG4 Beastman who had enough to be able to dodge in for the score. 2-1 ti the Chaos.
There was still time for the Elves to spoil the Chaos party and from the resulting kick off a lone blitzer charged through to provide a scoring threat. The Chaos team charged as one towards the only threat to their endzone and managed to knock him down and partially surround him. Game over? The Elves didn’t think so and a line elf charged forward to make a 1D blitz and chain pushed the prone blitzer closer to the end zone. The prone blitzer stood up and made a couple of difficult dodges and a couple of Go For Its to make the end zone – arms waving ready for the Long Bomb. His team-mate saw his waving arms and picked up the ball running it forward and handing off to another line elf who would attempt the throw. The thought of the throw was on his mind though and his fumbled the handoff hand the game and a potential playoff place to the victorious Chaos team. The game ended 2-1.
Second Half Analysis
The no-turn at the start of the half really didn’t help me and put me out of position and let the Chaos coach get another round of blocks in against me. I wasn’t unhappy with the timing of the Chaos team’s touchdown. There was plenty of time left for me to score. Blitz’s happen and this one was especially effective as I was already down on players and there was space and opportunity for the Chaos team to exploit. The hero play at the end would have been nice but was very unlikely; I was pleased that I was thinking about the chain push. It was another half of too much scrumming and rucking. The Chaos coach again managing to impose his style on me more than I would like. The horns really helped with that as I couldn’t avoid a big block or blitz against me each turn.
It was a brilliant game. Very tactical and tight; the Chaos coach managing to keep things tight and keep the Elves tied up more than I wanted. The end of each half ended with a nail-biter and it added to the must-win feeling of the game. The Blitz was a massive factor as it put me on the back foot when I was looking to push forward myself. These things happen. We both had fun. I’m now out of the playoff contention and face Orcs next in the last game of the season.
So far I am P8 W3 D1 L4 and there’s a story to them all 🙂