The Nottingham Caesars continued their unbeaten run on Sunday with a 9-8 nail-biter against Lancashire Wolverines in truly atrocious conditions at the Harvey Hadden.
In-form Danny Miller scored the Caesars only touchdown of the game which was marred by injuries to players from both sides.
A pitch that had seen two games in the previous 24 hours coupled with driving rain and strong winds throughout caused a combined total of nine turnovers and just seven attempted passes.
Following a blocked punt in the first quarter, the Wolverines used their excellent field position to punch the ball in through full-back Craig Oliphant. With that – followed by a successful conversion - the Caesars found themselves behind for the first time this season, and with their offence spluttering in the conditions it looked like being a long day for the Burgundy Swarm.
After the offence failed to find the endzone on a short fourth down, the defence stepped up to the plate, with the Big C Defence forcing a two-point safety on the very next play to get the Caesars on the board.
As both teams battled the conditions, the game became an exchange of turnovers and punts, including Caesars punter Tom Snee notching a career-long kick of 57 yards to pin the Wolverines deep inside their own ten-yard line.
With the Big Cee trailing at the half-time break, it seemed that a moment of brilliance was needed to get them back in the game. Fortunately for Nottingham, Miller was just the man to provide it, bouncing an inside run down the sidelines for a 55-yard score. Following kicker Dan Johnson’s conversion, the Caesars took the one point lead that they maintained throughout.
The game was marred in the third quarter by injuries to Caesars’ centre Adam Burnett and Lancashire defensive lineman Phil Greg. Although thankfully Greg appears to have avoided any lasting damage, the talismanic Burnett suffered a serious knee injury, and is hoping to undergo surgery later today (Monday).
The Caesars defence continued to dominate the Wolverines run game, and the turnovers racked up as Lancashire searched for a way back into the game. Smith and Spencer James both came up with two fumble recoveries each, while Karl Walkinshaw and Leon Lewis notched up 4.5 tackles each to stuff the Wolverines run game.
As the game wound down, the Wolverines had one last attempt to win the game with a long field goal, but a great block by the defence followed by a sideline tackle from linebacker Matt Smith allowed the offence to kneel the game out and take the Caesars to 3-0 for the season.
Danny Miller – 97 yards rushing, 1 TD
Karl Walkinshaw and Leon Lewis – 4.5 tackles each
Jimmy Smith – 2 fumble recoveries, 1 safety, Spencer James – 2 fumble recoveries