Blood Bowl Match Report: The Shining Exemplars vs the Oakhurst Marauders
The Shining Exemplars (High Elves) vs the Oakhurst Marauders (Human)
It was bucketing down as the Shining Exemplars sought to bounce back from their last defeat; the weather meant that very few fans from either team had bothered to show up, with only a few more elves than humans passing through the gates. The Oakhurst Marauders found themselves a little short on team rating, so their coach had purchased the use of a special play card for the match.
Despite the weather, the high elves decided to receive the ball first, hoping to get a score on the board quickly. The intensive training that the Exemplars had put in since their last game paid off straight away, with an extra re-roll being gained from the kick off. Even with this advantage, the rain looked like it would put a dampener on the elven game plan, as new signing Berwyn Quartzon failed to achieve what would have been the first completion of his career, the short pass failing to settle into his team mate’s hands.
Human Lineman Metis took advantage of this early game slip up, and ran through the Exemplars’ defence to snatch the ball from the ground. But he had done so alone; none of his compatriots had followed him, and now he was exposed amongst several sour looking elves.
Resolved to show his worth in front his new coach, and to rectify his initial mistake, Quartzon took matters into his own hands. He blocked Metis down, deftly grabbed the ball as it popped from the human’s grasp, took a few steps downfield, and threw an excellent pass to the Exemplars’ star player, Evrai Goldenlight. The Lion Warriors plucked the ball from the air, and raced down field. With no Marauders able to stop Goldenlight, they tried to take out some opponents in revenge, but didn’t do enough damage before the elven catcher ran in the first score, and the referee stopped the hourglass.
Just before the restart, the clouds broke, and the rain stopped. The Marauders began their counter-offensive, with a rehearsed move that saw Thrower Hubble pick up the ball and hand off to Oakhurst’s own star player, Catcher Mir. However, just as he turned to race downfield, he was taken out by Dragon Warrior Aneirin Starsight with a punch to the face. The elf managed to grab hold of the ball, but didn’t hold on to it for long before he was mobbed by the other Marauders, looking out for their slighter team mate.
The ball was picked up by Lineman Ulysses, whilst Mir was helped up by his rescuers, and raced downfield. It looked like the humans would be trying for a last minute equaliser in the dying seconds of the first half. Thinking more of their rivalry at the top of the SAD League’s High Scorer Table than the actual game at that moment, Goldenlight ran across the width of the pitch, and flew into his opposite number. Mir was stunned, and with that went the Marauders’ last chance to equalise in the half.
At the resumption, the Exemplars’ fans were in fine mood, their cheering again granting their team another re-roll. The kick off from the elves was a little weak, only just making it over the halfway line and straight towards Ulysses. However, he failed to catch the ball as it dropped out of the sky towards him, and an ugly scrum followed as both sides tried to get the ball.
The Exemplars were playing this game with three Journeymen elves, who were trying to impress their coach enough to be hired at the end of the game. They’d spent most of the game manning the line of scrimmage, inevitable being knocked flat on their backs by the powerhouse that was the Marauders’ Ogre, Herschel. However, one of the Journeymen named Pete Haze decided that he really wanted the position, and viciously blocked human Lineman Capella in an attempt to clear him off the ball. When the dust had settled, it became obvious that Capella would not live to see the end of the game. Without an apothecary working for the humans, there was no way to save him, and the trend of deaths in Exemplar games continued. (Eight deaths in six games for those who are counting!)
With the advantage of having gone first this half, the humans eventually came up with the ball. They began to cage up on one flank, before their coach called a reverse to the other wide zone. The other Thrower, Luna, handed off to Mir, who showed his class by calling upon his catch re-roll to make sure he held onto the ball. With the elves unable to bring enough pressure to bear, Mir was able to complete the switch of play, running over to Hubble to hand off the ball; Mir again showed why he was the backbone of the team by quickly grabbing the juggling ball again, after Hubble failed to catch the hand off initially.
This time the Exemplars were able to respond, Einion Rubyheart moving up to blitz the ball carrier, and following up to pick up the ball. However, in the heat of the moment he forgot that he had the dodge skill, and did not re-roll the 1 he rolled when trying to dodge out to race downfield. Instead he landed flat on his back, and the ball fell into the crowd, before being thrown into the middle of the pitch.
The Marauders saw their opportunity, and seized it with a panache normally reserved for elven teams! Making up for his mistake, Hubble ran over, picked up the ball, and threw a long pass into the waiting arms of Blitzer Stardust, who then ran downfield to even up the score at one apiece.
Buoyed by their equaliser, the Marauders continued to impress by exhibiting a perfect defence on the kick off. However, with Herschel continually failing his bonehead roll throughout the second half, they could not prevent the high elves opening a gap in their lines. Quartzon gathered up the ball, and threw a perfect pass to Goldenlight, who again caught it with ease. Needing just one dodge to get out into the open and away, Goldenlight rolled a 1; then with his re-roll rolled another 1!
Scrabbling to clear their lines as the game got looser, Luna picked up the ball, and tried to pass it downfield. His throw failed to reach his intended target, but at least the ball had been thrown far from the human half.
However, in a perfect example of elven play, Lineelf Gill Pyrite picked up the ball, and threw a perfect pass to a team mate, who then ran down field to hand off to a third player, who in turn ran further, ending up only a few squares from the human touchline. With three other team mates forming a wall between the ball carrier and the humans, and with other elves marking or knocking down Marauders, the Exemplars’ fans were all on their feet at the display of skill and the anticipation of a winning score.
However, the Marauders coach had one more eight up his sleeve; the eight of spades to be precise. He used his Illegal Substitution card to bring Mir back onto the pitch straight from his reserves box, and he moved on from the touchline to mark the elven ball carrier. With the unexpected assist, the Marauders managed to successfully blitz, the ball popping out into a square behind Mir, and away from all the elves.
With human reinforcements fouling up the area around the ball, the Exemplars could just not lay their hands onto the ball, and their turn ended with Quartzon knocking himself out in a risky one dice block.
Seeing a possible last turn score, the Oakhurst Marauders set themselves up for the play, but their throw failed to complete, and they missed their opportunity. With one turn left, the Exemplars then planned to return the favour, with a Lineelf picking up the ball from their own half, and throwing to none other than Pete Haze, who would be able to run down field and hand off to a potential scoring player. However, the Journeyman undid his previous good work by rolling a 1 to catch the accurate pass, and the game ended a well fought draw.
Pitchside Reporter: Brychan