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Cheetahs suffer shut-out defeat.
Having secured victories in their first two games of 2012 the Watford Cheetahs journeyed up the M1 to take on their Bedford-based rivals.
Watford won the toss and elected to defer, so Bedford elected to receive the opening Kickoff and were soon aware of the intentions of the Cheetahs defence when Team Captain Jamie Brown was able to break through and sack the quarterback. Two plays later the Cheetahs D were able to force and recover the fumble deep in the Bedford half.
However, the Blue Raiders were able to stop the Cheetahs, led by rookie Quarterback Danny Hounslow, converting their early turnover to points by holding them to a field goal attempt, which was blocked and returned to the 29 yard line.
Bedford got a first down before Brown was at it again, this time causing a fumble which was recovered by 3rd year Linebacker Matt Bright and returned to the Bedford 45 yard line. However the Bedford defence was just as effective and the Cheetahs were forced to punt. The rest of the first half saw neither offence able to make any headway and another fumble this time recovered by the ever busy Jamie Brown was to bear no fruition.
It was Bedford however who were able to break the deadlock when shortly before the end of the half they were able to move the ball allowing #44 Mike Wilson Sr. to run the ball in to the endzone for the games opening score. The Cheetahs D stuffed the two point conversion for a loss and so the Cheetahs went in for the half down by 6.
The Cheetahs opened the second half with their other rookie QB Chris Hall, but there was more of the same as the 3rd quarter was a defensive battle, despite strong running from Cheetahs Rookie RB Matt Bunce and veteran Dan Faye. Watford were unable to put any points on the board due to relentless pursuit and strong tackling from the Blue Raiders led by #50 Gareth Pullen.
In the 4th Quarter the Cheetahs began to move the ball down the field but another promising Cheetahs drive was halted when a QB/RB fumble was recovered by Bedford on their own 16 yard line. The Cheetahs tried to capitalise on a tiring Bedford D by running Bunce and Faye inside the tackles behind Veteran Centre and Captain Matt Malcher, but a excellent defensive effort from the Blue Raiders saw Watford stopped on 4th down inside the 5 yard line with only 2 minutes remaining. Blue Raiders RB Wilson Sr. was able to find some space and run out the clock sending the Blue Raiders to 1-1 and the Cheetahs to 2-1.
The Cheetahs will look for better fortune when they return up the M1 for their next game away to rivals Milton Keynes on the 27th of May.