Cats hand Stallions first home defeat since 2016
Wembley Stallions suffered their second defeat of the season against Cambridgeshire Cats, losing 26-37.
Stallions found themselves with a mountain to climb, going two scores behind mere minutes into the opening quarter. The Cats were able to maintain their two score lead throughout the game, even with the Stallions fighting to the end.
The game started with the Stallions kicking off, after they won the toss and chose to defer to the second half. As the home side’s defence readied themselves for the battle ahead, the Cats kick returner found a stem and ran in for a touchdown. The extra point was successful, giving the away side the lead of 0-7.
The home side’s offence suffered a quick three-and-out on their first drive. With quarterback Junior Price and running back Junior Ejehu being tackled in the backfield. Matters were made worse when the snap on fourth was high and rolled out of the end zone giving the Cats a safety, increasing their lead to 0-9.
Stallions looked to have settled in on the resulting kick off, with Krystian Czadowski completing a tackle to put the Cats inside their 20-yard line on their opening drive. However, a pass attempt found an open receiver who ran in for an 82-yard touchdown, the extra point was good extending the away side’s lead to 0-16.
The home side kept their heads and started to move down field on their next drive, with a run from Ejehu and an 11-yard completed pass to Carl James to put the Stallions close to halfway. A pass to Aaron Greenidge in space sent him running in for a 53-yard touchdown, Nick Glenday added the extras to put the score at 7-16.
Luck seemed to be with the away side on the next drive. After tackles from Paul Fergus and Johann Johnson kept the Cats at minimal gains and a penalty for a personal foul pushed them back. A pass attempt tipped by Martin Dwamena found a different Cats’ wide receiver to gain 41-yards before Duncan McAslen made the tackle. A penalty on Stallions’ defence followed and a short run took the Cats into the end zone. The extras were added increasing the away side’s lead to 7-23.
Stallions mixed up their plays on their next drive. Starting with a 15-yard run from Ejehu, followed by a 22-yard pass to Czadowski to put the home side over midfield. A short Ejehu run, then a 19-yard pass again to Czadowski, put the Stallions inside the red zone. The drive stalled and the field goal team were sent on, a wide snap gave the Cats time to pounce, turning the ball over.
Cats passed and ran the ball up the field, tackles from Glenn Trafford-Smith, Henry Young and Rickell Ricketts kept them out of the red zone as time expired on the first quarter. Cats’ offence continued with confidence in the second quarter, Ricketts momentarily stopped the away side with a tackle just inside the red zone, but a run on the next play found the end zone. The extra point was successful making the score 7-30.
The home side returned to the running game with Ejehu, a holding penalty lengthened the field, but a pass to Czadowski put the Stallions over halfway. Runs from Ben Lyons and Chaki Smith moved the home side just outside the red zone. However, an interception on a touchdown pass attempt put the Cats back on the field.
A penalty for being offside on the home side’s defence extended the Cats’ drive, instead of Stallions’ Johnson, Danny Hounslow and McAslen being rewarded with a quick three-and-out for their pressure on the quarterback. Further pressure from Drew Fisher and tackles from Zoltan Kadar and Brett Parnham ended the away side’s drive.
Stallions were quickly into Cats’ territory with a 35-yard run by Ejehu, but more penalties halted the drive leading to the punt team being sent on. A misjudgement from the away side’s punt returner lead to Greenidge recovering the ball and putting the Stallions’ offence back on, at the Cats’ one-yard line, but another penalty pushed the home side back. Going for it on fourth down, quarterback Price found Parnham in the end zone to narrow the score. Two-point attempt failed meaning the score was 13-30.
Stallions’ defence put more pressure on the Cats’ offence with tackles from Ricketts, Young, Kadar and Andis Mema, to give the home side another chance to score before the end of the half. However, the Stallions suffered a quick three-and-out and the Cats’ saw out the half with a three score lead.
The home side returned to the running game with Ejehu and were quickly over midfield. A pass to Greenidge set him loose to run in for a 43-yard touchdown. The extra point was wide making the score 19-30.
More pressure on the Cats’ quarterback and tackles from Parnham, Mema, Dwamena and Ricketts kept the away side to just two sets of downs before the punt team were sent on.
Cats’ defence piled on the pressure on the Stallions’ next drive, causing Ejehu to fumble and turn the ball over at the home side’s 25-yard line. The home side’s defence tried to pin the Cats back, with Johnson creating an interception opportunity. But the Cats weren’t going to be denied and ran in for a touchdown, the extras were added, making the score 19-37.
Stallions kept with the running game with Ejehu, but a penalty for holding and a sack, left too much to recover so the punt team were sent on. The Cats’ also suffered a quick three-and-out after Fergus sacked the quarterback and a penalty for a personal foul gave them too much to do.
The home side made the most of great field position with Greenidge catching a pass at the 20-yard line as the third quarter expired. Runs from Ejehu and Daven Abrahams and a catch by Parnham put the Stallions on the five-yard line, but a penalty for holding pushing the home side back. Going for it on fourth down Price found Glenday in the end zone for a touchdown. Glenday added the extras making the score 26-37.
More pressure on the Cats’ quarterback by Johnson paid off as Hounslow caught an interception, putting the Stallions just outside the red zone. The home side’s offence were unable to capitalise, leading to the Cats to takeover at the 24-yard line.
The Stallions’ defence kept the pressure up causing another opportunity for an interception, which Young took. The Stallions returned to the run with Ejehu who moved the sticks to the three-yard line. However, pressure told as Ejehu was tackled in the backfield and Lawrence Wild, in at quarterback, was sacked and then threw an interception.
Cats steadied themselves as they started to use up the clock with run plays. Stallions had two more chances to narrow the lead, but the away side used their experience to limit the home side’s progression. The only other point scoring opportunity came to the Cats, but their field goal attempt went wide. The game ended at 26-37 putting the Stallions at a record of 1-2 and the Cats at 3-1.