This last Saturday our Tier 1 team headed up to Rotherham for the third and final qualifier of the season. The team started the tournament without qualification for Nationals assured. Only an outright win, or a deeper run into the knockout phase than the other teams chasing a place, would be enough.
The Wolves were in Group A with national champions Rugby Rockets, local rivals Sheffield Steelers A, and SC Predators Birmingham who were making their first Tier 1 appearance following their promotion at the end of last season.
First up were Birmingham. The Wolves took a while to find their legs, but eventually ran out impressive 5-0 winners. A short benched Steelers team was next and the Wolves took this one 5-1. The final group game was against Rugby. The teams had already met twice this season, with both games ending in draws. This time the Wolves were not to be denied and won the game by an unlikely 7-0 scoreline.
This meant the Wolves came first in their group giving them a Quarter Final matchup with Shaw Millionaires. The Millionaires are still in search of their first Tier 1 win, but had been in some close games earlier in the day. Our team were not to be deterred though and took a 4-0 victory after taking some time to break their opponents down.
The Wolves’ semi final opponent was to be Maidenhead Red Kites. The Red Kites were winners of the last qualifier and have been the team who have ended the Wolves’ hopes of glory at the last two Fantastic Fours competitions. Our team took this one 3-1 in a game littered with niggly penalties to both teams.
Onto the final and another meeting with Rugby Rockets. With nationals qualification already secured, the Wolves were in no mood to take the foot off the gas. A cagey first half ended 0-0 with Rugby clearly in no mood for another game getting away from them. The second half saw the Wolves grab a lead with a point blast from defence-man Joe Cooke. The game was still on a knife’s edge until the returning Richard Scholz added an insurance marker in the final minute.
As the clock ticked down there were jubilant scenes on the Wolves’ bench as they claimed their first Tier 1 win since early last season.
The team scored an impressive 26 goals on the day, only conceding 2. Rich Bennett claimed four shutouts, with Richard Scholz (8+6), Tom Cole (4+4) and Reece Bull (4+3) leading the scoring.