A first win of the 2019 season in the books for the Lincolnshire Bombers as they professionally disposed of the Humber Warhawks 42-0.
It was the defence to the fore again in Hull - after a great showing in Birmingham the previous week, they again dominated the opposition attack and this time, recorded a deserved shutout.
Upon arrival in a gloriously sunny Hull, the Bombers were met with the unique prospect of playing the game with no goalposts so field goals were out of the question and every touchdown was to be met with a 2pt conversion attempt.
From the game against the Bulls the previous week, the only big team news change was that offensive lineman Martin Brearley had decided to suit up despite the trapped nerve in his back.
It was the visiting Bombers who then kicked off but who had the ball back in possession quickly as Ben Harris forced the fumble which was scooped up by Graham Owens.
However, in a reflection of the offensive struggles last week against Birmingham, the Bombers offense gave the ball right back with a fumbled snap.
It was a poor start from the offence, still clearly feeling the early season jitters and it took until well into the first quarter for them to finally capitalise on the defence's good work. Returning Herts Hurricanes quarterback Lewis Colver finding Jack Paddison for the opening touchdown. The failed 2pt conversion leaving the score 6-0.
Paddison was in business again soon after when the defence forced a punt and his return took the visitors near halfway. However, a second fumble by the Bombers cut short that drive and kept the game to a single score.
The next time the offence got the ball (which was a regular occurrence as the shut down defence consistently forced 3-and-outs all day) they were much more productive with it. A long run from Yu-Joe Lewis Lai took the visitors into the red zone and this time an error-free offence drove the ball in with running back Nathan Haymer-Bates finding the edge for six (no 2pt conversion).
That signalled the start of increasing dominance by both the offence and defence as the second quarter wore on.
A Mike Sison interception sparked the next drive, and after a couple of held up runs it was Colver who found wide receiver Ryan Wakeling in the end zone to stretch the lead - Haymer-Bates converting the 2pt attempt for a 20-0 lead which remained until half-time.
In the second half the Bombers were able to blood more rookies as the lead ever increased.
First, an interception from Ross Wheatley allowed Yu-Joe to score his first touchdown as a Bomber (Haymer-Bates with another successful 2pt conversion - 28-0) before the Bombers defence scored their first points of the season with a safety forced by Lee Soar for 30-0.
Next it was good work from new recruit Aaron Summerhayes who took the team downfield with a pair of catches, which led to the most bizarre play of the day - a fourth down attempt which started with a poor snap, forcing Colver out of the pocket and to attempt a pass, which was well intercepted by the Warhawks. However, the intercepter fumbled the ball, giving Bombers offensive lineman Toby Wilcock the opportunity to recover the ball and set up a new set of downs.
That eventually led to a rushing touchdown from Mike Sison (not content with just interceptions) after Haymer-Bates went down with an apparent dislocated shoulder.
With the running clock kicking off the fourth quarter, there wasn't time for much more action. Rookie Mark Brown picked up a sack on his own, while good all-round work from the defence and special teams meant the offense's next drive started in the red zone.
Sure enough, another touchdown connection between Colver and Wakeling extended the lead to 42-0 with the 2pt attempt failed and the clock running down to end the game,
Tougher challenges will await the Bombers in the coming weeks but it was important to get the win on the board and to give the roster a good workout, especially for the players new to the sport.
Next up the Bombers host for the first time this season as we welcome the Staffordshire Surge (1-0) to Memorial Hall (LN6 9RY) on Sunday May 5th. Traditionally the Surge are a litmus test for achieving play-off football so the victors of this game will go into the rest of the season full of confidence.