In the 6 team league format competition, the Jets were joined by several other established teams in the Coventry Cougars and Warwick Wolverines alongside pre-tournament favourites the Warwick Wolves who were able to field two teams from their university kitted side.
The early games were completed as expected with the Jets defence shutting out their opponents in registering comfortable wins and both Warwick Wolves sides steamrolling their opposition.
The Jets entered their 3rd game against the Warwick Wolves knowing they would face a stern test and the first half proved to be evenly balanced with both teams grinding out long drives for scores and a 13-13 tie. However, defensive MVP for the day, Tendai Chezai, was about to make her mark and in the space of 4 drives, had 3 interceptions including 2 for scores that blew the game completely open and an eventual large Jets margin of victory.
As the Jets continued toward the inevitable final game showdown with the other Warwick Wolves side, the Jets offense was full of life and growing in confidence whilst the defence maintained their suffocating play behind captain Gemma Eaton.
There were plenty of surprises from the Jets offense with Natalie Parker
managing at one point to complete a pass to herself for a score, DB Andrew Gambrill not only leading a scoring drive featuring 1 play to each of his 4 offensive teammates, but also hauling in a “highlight reel” pass from option QB Dean Thureen and Rod “La Difference” scoring on another Thureen bomb.
As the tournament unfolded as a fun day out, there were also some moments that had the Jets sideline “looooooling” intensely. Gambrill managed to tackle his own running back for a loss on one play, Thureen actually tackled himself just short of a score and Rod “La Difference” lurked in the defensive backfield wearing driving gloves.
The final round of games saw the Warwick Wolves take on the Jets in a “winner takes all” matchup.
The teams traded touchdowns early as first Shailen Tailor weaved through several tackles on a long run and then the Wolves pulled level with a big play of their own. This signalled the advent of both defences coming to life and both teams were unable to make any headway. Warwick’s DB managed to stretch just enough to fingertip away a low pass to Podmore in the endzone as time expired in the first half preserving the tie.
In the second period, the Jets were able to rely on the strong presence of corners Chieza and Gambrill with Eaton stuffing anything short whilst Tailor harried the Wolves QB with perfectly timed blitzes leaving him unsettled every down.
With time winding down in the second half, the Wolves finally found a big play when on 4th down, a receiver pulled in a touchdown pass amongst a crowd of 4 players that they duly converted for a 13-6 lead.
then orchestrated a drive against the clock with accurate passes to Thureen, Podmore, Chieza and Tailor as she moved the Jets methodically downfield. On 3rd down, the offense called a play that relied on patience and poise in the pocket that culminated with Thureen making a spectacular low diving and rolling catch in front of 2 defenders and crossing the plane of the goalline for a 12-13 score.
Perhaps, perfectly for such a day that celebrated all that is good in the sport, honours finished even between the two teams as Parker, completing her Offensive MVP performance, followed up by finding Podmore for the extra point and a 13-13 tie that Eaton and Tailor underlined by combining to tackle the Wolves on a final desperation play.
With the Jets D having performed so well all day, they were delighted to find they pipped Warwick to the title by the smallest of margins; points conceded throughout the tournament.
Coach Podmore was impressed with his team’s performance saying “our whole team has been working hard to improve our all-round fitness and execution of plays on both sides of the ball and today, this paid off handsomely. Great work by Tendai and Natalie to earn MVP honours although everybody playing today could have justified their earning MVP too. This win is for everybody in our squad”