Cuda fall short against division leaders
Coming off their first defeat of the season, the Bristol Barracuda were looking to bounce back in arguably their toughest matchup of the year. After a forgettable offensive performance against Bournemouth, the Cuda desperately needed a change.
Upon arrival at the Worcester “field”, there didn’t seem to be much hope for offensive excellence on the day. Both teams would face the challenge of the mud as the game kicked off on the Worcestershire wasteland.
The first quarter saw the Barracuda offense come out with real promise. Runs from Hugh Parker reminded the Barracuda of their dominant rushing attack from before Christmas and quarterback Jim Powell-Cullingford confidently took the reins making strides on the ground and through the air. Hearts were broken throughout the Cuda ranks, however, as tight end Jonah Edmonds fell down injured after a 13 yard reception. While Edmonds left the field with a season-ending knee injury, the Barracuda bravely continued without him, with Bumble animating the pass attack with an inspired drive. After rushes from Hugh Parker and Ben Rodgers followed by successive receptions from Sam Leale-Green, Bumble topped off the drive with a 3 yard rushing touchdown to take the lead.
The Cuda defence was equally keen to get in on the action. A forced fumble and recovery from defensive end Josh Lucas briefly saw the offence retake the field but wide receiver-convert Ed Lunnon struggled to establish himself against the Royals’ defence. The Worcester offence would quickly take advantage of some missed tackles, with their running back scoring a long touchdown after an extended drive.
Just two drives later, Ed Lunnon would exact his revenge as he took the ball 39 yards along the ground for the touchdown. Despite the condition of the field, Lunnon outran almost the entire Worcester defence, dodging tackles sideline to sideline.
This lead wouldn’t last long however, as Worcester took the ball half the length of the field on one run. The Royals would finish off the drive with a short rushing touchdown, bringing the score to 14-14.
Multiple offensive turnovers would mar the second half for the Barracuda and while there were still flashes of excitement with runs from Parker and Bumble, the Cuda would struggle to produce much of note. The Royals were equally restricted by the rough terrain and a stubborn Cuda defence and the game would go to overtime.
In a tense shootout between two tired and determined teams, a defeat would ultimately be cruel for whichever team lost out. After several further injuries the Cuda defence had to enlist offensive players and after a Worcester passing touchdown on 4th down, the Cuda offence could not reply.
FT/OT. Worcester 20 - Bristol 14