Cheetahs are winners in Manchester
By Paul Morris
A perfect end to an amazing weekend.
The 15th and 16th of June saw Chester Cheetahs head to Trafford MV RUFC for round two of the Elite National Touch Series (ENTS), the highest level of mixed-sex inter-club touch. The tournament was split into three tiers; Elite, Premiership and Championship. Being relatively new to the ENTS competition, the Cheetahs started in the lowest tier, the Championship. However, coach Liam Lawton had selected our strongest ever squad, so it was all to play for!
There were three games in store for day one. Their first opponent was CSSC 3 from London, having lost against them in round 1, the Cheetahs were keen for revenge. The women in the Cheetahs team showed their strength and skills, scoring a total of 10 tries between them! Ultimately, the Cheetahs showed them who’s boss and the final score was 14-7.
Game two against Revolution from the Midlands was a step up. They were well-drilled and nippy, but still no match for the Chester Cheetahs, who claimed a 10-6 victory.
The heavens opened for the third and final game of day one against Cambridge Bees, which turned some of the pitches into thick mud with a few tufts of grass here and there. The Cheetahs knew they had to beat Cambridge Bees in order to get promoted to the Premiership tier in day two, so the pressure was on. Defending was difficult in the sticky mud, but the Cheetahs turned this into a positive, recognising that attacking with speed would put their opponents on the back foot. This tactic worked, and finished the day with another win, 9-4.
The Cheetahs were promoted to the Premiership tier for day two, with another three games ahead of them against teams of a higher standard than day one. The first game saw the Cheetahs face off against their frenemies, Crewe & Nantwich Blaze. This was the most nail-biting game of the weekend, with scores alternating between both sides throughout the 40-minute match. The Cheetahs managed to remain focussed, keep their heads, and stick to their game plan, ultimately clinching a win of 8 tries to 7.
The second game of day two was against local rivals Manchester Chargers, whose fast and skilful team would pose the greatest challenge of the weekend so far. The pre-game talk from assistant coach Adam Brimelow was pivotal, with him stressing the importance of keeping defence tight and attack relentless. The Cheetahs did exactly that, and with the help of a hat-trick from ENTS debutant, Carly Wynne, bagged an impressive 14-7 victory that was live-streamed on YouTube.
The team were in the Premiership Cup final against Oxford! Adrenaline and nerves were both at an all-time high, but Adam’s motivational team talk encouraged the Cheetahs to carry their momentum from the win against Manchester Chargers through into the final. The Cheetahs were raring to show Oxford what the unsuspecting ‘Championship’ side could do, and every player gave 110% to the game. Two impressive breakaway tries from another ENTS debutant, Alasdair Clark, and exceptional performances from Jake Morris and James Anderson helped the Cheetahs wear the Oxford side down. The final score was 9-7, confirming the Cheetahs as the ENTS Round 2 Premiership Cup winners! Captain Danielle Evans collected the trophy on behalf of the team and gave a post-match interview on YouTube, giving the team a perfect end to an amazing weekend.