Wednesday saw us return to John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, for Team GB’s second game of their 2019 European Championship campaign. Facing up against Austria were a hungry Lions side who, after winning the coin toss, chose to receive the football and start the game on the front foot.
Returning the kick, Josephine White picked up excellent field position for GB’s offense which, combined with an impressive 20 yard run from Siobhan Walker, saw Walker carry the ball into the end zone- followed by a QB run from Green for 2 extra points.
Quickly introducing herself to the Austrians, Aimee Cottingham begun by delivering an excellent sack on the QB and, after a fumble that almost led to GB recovering the football, some further dominant pressure from the Lions’ defence led to a turnover on downs.
During the punt, a high snap caused the Austrian kicker to fumble the ball, and saw GB earn a safety- with Leeds Chargers’ Lucy Peaty just inches away from recovering the ball for a touchdown. After receiving the Austrian kick, Oli Davies completed a punt return of 25 yards, but saw the ball brought back to the 49 yard line for a penalty flag. Despite some impressive running from Sian Kersee and a number of excellent receptions from Siobhan Walker, Austria denied GB’s fourth down conversion attempt to cause a turnover on downs.
Continuing the dominant pressure of the last defensive effort, a number of GB defenders combined to force a sack on the Austrian QB; following which, another high snap then saw Lucy Peaty force a sack on the Austrian 1 yard line. After seeing their pass attempt was broken up by Anna Young, of the Wembley Stallions, Austria chose to punt the ball back to the 18 yard line, only after receiving a penalty for delay of game that moved them back half the distance to the goal.
Prior to the drive, Austria took a well used time out, which allowed them to disrupt the GB play and prevent a further score from the Lions- leading to another turnover on downs.
Following a QB run that was halted by a combination of GB defenders, along with a pass that was swiftly batted down by Phoebe Schecter, three complete passes to Antonia Loicht saw the Austrian’s pick up a first down- although, further progress was denied after some strong pressure from Rachael Moody, Delta Npuna and Becky Martin forced another turnover on downs.
After the offense received an initial 5 yard penalty, Leeds Chargers’ Lil Bush completed a pass to Phoebe Schecter, to earn GB a first down, which was then swiftly followed by an incredible first down link up between Lil Bush and Emma Taylor. Following another completion with Schecter, along with a run from Ruth Matta, the Lion’s running back was able to dodge two tackles to pick up an outstanding 15 yard gain for first down, and three further runs from Matta saw her carry the ball into the end zone for the second touchdown of the game; GB, however, saw their attempted two point conversion denied.
After seeing their running attempt firmly stopped by Jayne Meadows, of the London Warriors, an incredible link up between the Austrian QB and receiver Antonia Loicht, saw a passing route turn into a significant offensive gain- only to be overshadowed by a later 15 yard penalty for a personal foul, which pegged the offense back and eventually contributed to a turnover on downs.
After returning to the field following the Austrian drive, GB’s offense saw another glimpse of the strong defensive ability of their opponent, when a number of attempted passes met good coverage from the defense, which eventually brought forth a turnover on downs.
Linking up again on the defense, Rachael Moody and Aimee Cottingham delivered a sack on the Austrian QB that almost lead to a turnover by Rachael Moody. Just managing to escape being sacked again, the Austrian QB threw an outstanding ball to star receiver, Antonia Loicht, who was able to collect the pass for the first down- despite some strong double coverage from GB. Austria, however, ran out of time on the drive, when a pass that was nearly picked off by Harriet Amis, of the London Warriors, fell incomplete and brought an end to the half.
Great Britain 16 - 00 Austria
Following the second half kick off, some impressive defensive coverage from Robyn Steward and Phoebe Schecter saw Austria unable to capitalise on the first drive of the second half, causing a turnover on downs into the hands of the GB offense; however, an incredible interception from Teresa Müllebner, of the Vienna Vikings, saw the Austrian defensive back run the ball into the GB end zone for a pick six. The extra point, however, was not converted.
With the Lions’ offense returning to the field, some strong play from Phoebe Schecter, Ruth Matta and Siobhan Walker saw GB pick up some solid first downs, and a further run from Matta saw GB carry the ball into the end zone for another six points. The extra point, however, was not converted.
Returning GB’s kick was Austria’s Denise Scharaditsch, of the Vienna Vikings, who was taken down by an outstanding committed tackle from Lucy Peaty. Following a sack from Becky Martin, some further strong coverage from GB saw Austria forced into punting the ball, where a tackle by the GB defense forced a fumble of the football, which was recovered by Rachael Moody to give GB possession in the Austria half.
Following a number of running attempts from GB, along with an incomplete pass into strong coverage from the Austrians, GB were forced into a turnover on downs, where yet another fumble recovery from Rachael Moody saw possession return to the Lions, and a QB run from Green, combined with two extra points from Matta, saw GB pick up 8 points.
Following the touchdown, Jayne Meadows truly made her mark on the game after committing an outstanding run, to recover her own kick and bring the GB offense back onto the field, yet again. Unfortunately, GB were unable to capitalise on the opportunity, after 3 consecutive false starts saw them pegged back too far to pick up a first down.
Following some progressive offensive play from the Austrians, a link up between the QB and her receiver saw Oli Davies successfully rip the ball out of the hands of the Austrian, and some insightful play by Rachael Moody saw her recover the football again, only to have the player already judged to be down, by the officials- eventually leading to another turnover on downs.
GB kicked off the drive with a pass completion to Josephine White, of the Oxford Saints, who picked up a solid 20 yard gain, prior to being brought down by a horse collar challenge that gave Austria a 15 yard penalty. Following the play, a successful QB run from Green saw her brought down by Austria’s Christina Marie Egger, of the Graz Giants, who suffered an injury during the tackle, and saw her receive medical attention from GB’s Jakki Duncan, prior to play resuming and GB’s offense being unable to convert on 4th down.
Further defensive strength from GB saw Austria’s offense denied once more, as well as nearly having their punt blocked by GB’s Phoebe Schecter.
With GB’s offense taking the field, an outstanding run from Josephine White saw the Lions pick up a 20 yard gain; however, pressure from the Austrian defense saw GB unable to convert beyond third and goal, leading to a turnover on downs to Austria, who saw their final running attempt denied by Beth Pilkington, of Leeds Chargers, to bring an end to the game.
Great Britain 36 - 6 Austria
MVP (Austria) - #22 Teresa Müllebner
MVP (Great Britain) - #55 Rachael Moody