With almost half of his squad unavailable through injury, Head Coach Paul Rickhuss made the 400 mile round trip to Gateshead with just 26 players, and
With almost half of his squad unavailable through injury, Head Coach Paul Rickhuss made the 400 mile round trip to Gateshead with just 26 players, and the Jets were rewarded for their “heroic” effort with a 21-14 victory over the Senators. Jonny Muanza and Matthew Penrice both scored on receptions from Joe Brammer for their first touchdowns as Jets, whilst Brammer also found Chris Hobbs for a hat-trick of touchdown passes as Coventry built a good first-half lead before hanging on for the hard-fought win.
The Jets, for once, got off to a fast start, forcing a fumble on the hosts opening drive and quickly working downfield on passes to Sam Hyde and the opening 10 yard score to Penrice. Josh Hughes slotted the extra point kick home and Coventry looked set for a good day with a 7-0 lead. Gateshead continued to struggle with their ball-handling as they fumbled twice more in the opening quarter but managed to retain possession.
Junior team graduate Muanza came alive in the second quarter with four receptions, including his 11 yard touchdown. As well as the ones he held onto Muanza felt the full force of the Senators defence as he was on the receiving end of some powerful hits, two of which jarred certain receptions free but both fell to Chris Hobbs whose lightning reactions were rewarded on the second as he scooped up a 21 yard touchdown via the hands of Muanza, who had to be helped from the field.
Hughes, who converted the second score on a two point run, couldn’t repeat the trick following Hobbs’ score and the Jets headed into the break with a 21-0 lead. The second half would be a completely different story though as Coventry’s low numbers began to tell. A botched punt on their first possession resulted in a safety to get the hosts on the board at 21-2. Matt Long quickly added an 11 yard touchdown and suddenly the Senators were back in the game at 21-8.
Coventry’s defence reasserted themselves, as did Gateshead’s and the two teams shut each other down until late in the fourth quarter when Evander Harewood rounded off a solid drive with a four yard dash into the endzone, once again the point after failed but the Senators were now within a score at 21-14. Time was not on the host’s side though and Coventry looked like they could comfortably run out the clock but a Tony Perkins fumble led to a nervous finish.
Gateshead, short on time, turned to the air as they passed on their final five plays but ultimately couldn’t find a way past the Jets’ defence. “Our defence were immense today” noted Rickhuss ”we landed them in a hole late in the game but they stepped up and preserved the victory for us. I can’t single anyone out today, with bodies as thin on the ground as they were, we all had to pull together and work really hard as a team. Everyone’s stepped up today and we’ve been rewarded for it.” The Jets have a week off now to recuperate before a trip to the division leading Lancashire Wolverines.