Tornadoes look to dominate at Home Tournament
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This Saturday marks the third and final round robin leg of the 2017 Sapphire series, and as it stands, the Hertfordshire Tornadoes are sitting snugly at second place in the Southern Division behind the Birmingham Lions; a place that if they maintain, would see them qualifying for the National Semi-Finals two weeks Saturday. Two wins from the weekend would see the Tornadoes through, but two talented teams stand in their way.
The Derby Braves.
The much loved Braves are currently 2-2 for the season, picking up two much needed wins over EKP and Edinburgh Wolves in Sapphire 2 and launching them right back into contention. They’ll hope to pick up where they left off in Saturday as Derby defensive captain Julia Robinson returns to Hertfordshire, the place where she spent the 2016 season, earning team MVP. Robinson is a triple threat, a very talented defensive back, a natural leader and can also be a threat on offense, as seen last season with the Tornadoes. Robinson hasn’t made an appearance on the Braves Offense yet, but Hertfordshire will surely be prepared for any eventuality.
Robinson joins the very experienced Colette Wong in the secondary, and the Braves have been prolific this season for their ability to pick off quarterbacks. Sydney Green, Tornadoes young QB who has just come off the back of a ‘coming of age’ tournament a Sapphire 2, will be facing her toughest test so far with the Derby ‘ball-hawks’ circling. But behind one of the most consistent pass protectors in the league, Green should have the time to make the plays. But with two GB D-linemen, the Hertfordshire offensive lineman will have their work cut out for them.
Having played and beaten London in Sapphire 1, Tornadoes will be going into their second match up full of confidence, but not complacency. The Warriors are an aggressive and well drilled team, and on their day can be a match for any team in the country. Last time these two teams met, Hertfordshire only just scraped by with a win, after a rather sloppy outing, riddled with mistakes. However, Sapphire 2 brought a gear change for the Tornadoes. But with the likes of receiver Oli Davies out with a broken foot, and their other GB wide receiver, Sarah Glassborow, questionable, Hertfordshire’s depth will be tested.
Sapphire 1 saw the London QB come under a lot of pressure, which converted to multiple defensive scores, meaning the Herts D-line will be looking to get to the Warrior’s QB, Chloe Baton, yet again in the hope of more points from turnovers. This game could be won and lost on the defensive side of the ball.
With a place in the semi-finals up for grabs, it’s all to play for in Hatfield on Saturday. With a win against Herts, Warriors can crash the party and steal the second-place spot from under the Tornadoes’ noses if the ladies aren’t careful – so expect a hotly contested match up.