Match Report: SaberCats vs. Seattle Seawolves 4.13.19
Seattle Seawolves -52
SaberCats – 12
By Liam Poach
The weather had already delayed construction of AVEVA Stadium for nearly 3 months, so why not another 15 minutes for good measure ? As the winds whipped-up and the rain began to fall – that’s what was on everybody’s mind as they queued-up outside the beautiful new stadium to see the SaberCats take-on the Seattle Seawolves in the inaugural match at the new venue. But just as it looked like this moment that was so long in coming was potentially going to be spoiled by a small, but powerful, weather cell – the winds dropped, the rain stopped, and the sun burst through the clouds and with that, the crowd began a countdown chant to signal the opening of the gates. 10…9…8… – and before you knew it, it was Rugby time !
Under blue skies and a brilliant sun, SaberCats Nation gathered in this new house that was built for them and the team to see if their boys could take down the defending MLR champs. Unfortunately, while the atmosphere was electric and the stadium was shining like a diamond, the momentous occasion was spoiled, as the visiting Seattle Seawolves left Houston with the victory – defeating the SaberCats by a score of 52-10. The Seawolves (7-3) now sit in second place in the standings with 37 points, while Houston (2-7) retains its spot at number seven with 11 points.
The first half was hard-fought and tight, ending with the ‘Cats down 13-5. A come from behind victory seemed more than plausible in the second half, especially given the pumped-up home crowd and less than favorable weather for those not used to the Texas humidity. In that first 40 minutes, the ‘Cats had managed to stifle a number of Seattle attacking phases inside the 22, forcing penalties that would wind-up killing much of the visitors’ momentum. A fantastic “Dummy-and-Score” try by Sam Windsor to get the first home points in AVEVA Stadium history got the crowd into the action but it was all the ‘Cats could muster against the solid Seawolves defense.
The second half was an entirely different story with the ‘Cats defense having more and more difficulty containing Seattle’s backline, while our own line speed began to suffer. While the ‘Cats completed tackle rate certainly remained respectable (89%), their lack of overall possession in the second half is ultimately what led to allowing 39 total points in the closing frame.
If some good news is to be found, it is that the play of newcomers Deion Mikesell and Thretton Palamo left coaches and fans impressed, especially following Palamo’s try at the 70th minute, marking the second game in a row a player for the ‘Cats has put one down in-goal during his debut match with the squad. The fans are clearly imagining the possibilities of what having such an imposing athlete on the roster will bring in coming games.
Next week, the ‘Cats will travel North of the border to Toronto, Ontario, where the Toronto Arrows will be looking to pull back up to 0.500 after experiencing a loss in their own home debut last week. And while the sting of having been swept by the defending champs may still be fresh, there is no team more mentally tough and prepared to face the next challenge than the men in the Black & Yellow.
Photos: BigShotsSnapShots Media Group
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Stream the match here
Fulltime Seattle Seawolves -52 SaberCats - 12 By Liam Poach The
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