The 2017 season got off on a rather flat note as the Westside Steelers senior team was unable field a team, and the match was conceded, going down as a 7 to nil victory to the Jets.
The junior teams were able to compete however, match report below:
Tense. Nervous. Nail biting. And then the Junior Jets win!
With new players starting for both teams and the Steelers out to prove a point from last year, this was always going to be a cagey game to open the 2017 to 2018 season.
The opening kick off however, was anything but tight as the Jets received the ball deep in their own territory and team captain Will Bevan ran the ball 70 yards up-field and at least as far sideways and back again as he weaved his way to an opening touchdown, only to be pulled back all the way to the 20 yard line after, you guessed it, a block in the back.
Predictably the game settled in to a defensive holdout in the first quarter as both teams struggled to move the ball against some resolute tackling and both teams showing little sparkle in the passing game. Such is every first game of the Gridiron season around the globe. The teams exchanged a few punts and turn over on downs until the Jets started to move the ball on the ground in the hands of the quarterback Will Bevan late in the second as he finally managed to break free and run the ball in for the opening touchdown. The attempted two pointer failed, six to zero Jets.
The Steelers managed to get moving behind their big O-line, albeit aided and abetted by a series of Jets penalties that gave the impetus to the Steelers. Focusing mainly on the run, the Steelers were able to drive all the way down the field and on into the endzone, and the score. Six all going in to halftime.
The second half was a more tidy offensive affair as both teams were able to break out of their start of the season nerves and get some offence moving. Impressive drives up the field only to be turned over on downs for Jets and Steelers. The passing game also made an appearance although defence was still on top.
In to the fourth quarter and the Jets finally made another breakthrough. Jets man of the match Harvey Wiggett moved the ball on a couple of power runs, and Bevan ran in another touchdown. Importantly this TD was converted on a pass to Harry Jones who fought his way through three Steeler defenders to cross the goal line for two points. Jets on top.
Late in the fourth and the Steelers offensive began to show some determination against a tough Jets D-line by holding up the Jets powerful pass rush for a couple of completions and then making gaps for the rush. Again the Steelers went in for the TD. Jets 14, Steelers 12. Two pointer attempt to go. The Steelers tried their best to push the ball over the line but defensive standout Mitch Platt once again cut them short.
Fingernails at the ready. With minutes and then seconds to go, both teams had chances to take the win, but defence again held out on both sides, and as the referee held the ball aloft to signal the end of the game, the Jets retained their lead. Season opening win for Claremont Jets Juniors.