The Hastings Conquerors were finally in action this season due to a scheduled pre-season friendly which saw Hastings travel up to Hertfordshire to test their 2016 strategies against new associate team Welwyn Hatfield Mosquitos.
The game was schedule for 3 quarters plus a final quarter for practicing special teams.
Hastings got off to a great start as Mosquitos started with the ball with the Conquerors defence shutting out the opposition’s 3rd drive for a 3 and out. The punt return putting Hastings Offence on the field on the opponents 30 yard line with great field position. Hastings then completed their first drive with 6 plays and a TD at the end of it scored by FB Aaron Woods in the first quarter.
After another great spell of defending by Hastings saw the Mosquitos forced to punt and Hastings regain possession on their own 40 yard line. Then followed a number of superb plays by the offence notably a 15 yard rush by Rookie back Dan Cruttenden and a rushing TD by Ty Berry which capped off an impressive 10 play drive and brought the score to 14-0 after a completed PAT.
The quarter ended with yet another superb 3 and out achieved by the Hastings Defence forcing the Mosquitos to punt and a great return by Sam Oldfield putting the Offence back on the field only 20 yards from the Mosquito’s end zone. A 3 play drive by the Conquerors was completed by a 27 yard pass by QB Ben Rogers to WR Ty Berry to make the score 21-0 once the PAT was again converted.
The defence then again achieved yet another fantastic 3 and out forcing another Mosquito punt however this time an error on special teams resulted in the Hastings Offence taking to the field on their own 30 yard line. Things then went from bad to worse as a fumble in the backfield resulted in a turnover of the ball by the Conquerors offence, giving the ball back on their own 20.
However, the Defence stepped up yet again and on 2nd down won the ball back after an Interception made by LB Joel Westguard.
The remainder of the game was largely a to and fro affair with the Hastings Offence being unable to build enough drives to score, despite coming close a few times, and the Defence continually preventing the Mosquitos drives with some solid defending and notably 2 further fantastic interceptions from CB’s Josh Perry and Tom Cleary.
The defence then topped off a solid day at the office with Mosquito’s pinned back on their own 15. A wayward pass being plucked out of the air by LB Nathan Russell which was then expertly returned for a defensive TD. With the PAT hitting the post and bouncing away the score moved to 27-0 where it remained for the rest of the 3rd Quarter before stopping for Special Teams practice.
Offensive Co-Ordinator Chris Chillingworth was particularly pleased with the performance. “It was a good day all around. We had an opportunity to test our strategies for the season against new opposition and it was a great opportunity to get all our Rookies involved and experience a game day experience. We made a few mistakes at times on both sides of the ball but I’m happy because what we identified as errors are relatively easy things to fix on the training field between now and the start of the season. It was a big help for me as it highlighted some weaknesses that we can shore up come Week 1 which is what this was all about.”
Chillingworth added “I would like to express my gratitude to the Mosquitos and all the staff and players there. They were great sportsmen, welcoming and great hosts. I hope they continue to grow and develop and we wish them the best in their pursuit for league entry in the future“.
The Hastings Conquerors are next in action on April 10th when they travel to East Kent Mavericks for their first game in their 2016 BAFA League campaign.