In a game that was speculated in the pre-season to probably be a decider on the conference champion the reality was far from it. A Sharks team all but eliminated from playoff contention faced a Thrasher team coasting with their position in the playoff picture already set.
The game did carry one other element. The Sharks had never won in Hampshire and neither team had ever achieved back-to-back victories over the other.
The Sharks defence played in an almost prevent look for the Thrashers determined not to let either of the countries top two leading receivers Kyle Latore and Paul Brady have any success. Although the pair combined for 16 receptions and 161 yards on the day neither found the end zone and cornerback Alex Bonner was a standout for the Sharks intercepting two Nick Watson passes.
For the first four possessions neither offence could generate any reasonable drives. Although veteran kicker Dom Williams was able to add a 38 yard field goal to give the Thrashers a slim 3-0 lead.
On the Thrasher’s third possession Watson found some rhythm and connected with tight end Jon Parr for a 14 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked and with a defensive stalemate through the remainder of the half Hampshire took a 9-0 score in to the break.
The third quarter was much of the same, the Sharks struggling to move the ball against an aggressive Hampshire defence and the Thrasher’s offence unable to sustain a drive long enough to turn their yardage in to points.
In the fourth quarter Hampshire tried a long field goal but the attempt fell short. The Sharks attempted to return the kick but a penalty drove them back to their own 8 yard line. It was to prove costly as a few plays later Ed Butcher made an impressive tackle in the end zone to score a safety and extend Hampshire’s lead to 11-0.
Both teams traded possession before the Sharks embarked on one last drive. With less than 10 seconds in the game, and a winning score line out of their reach the Sharks ran off left tackle to run out the clock. The ball carrier was dropped for a short gain, however, the Thrashers were called for an offsides penalty and, unable, to end the game on a defensive penalty, the Sharks had to call one last play. With no time remaining in the game the Sharks ran the same play but with very different results. A swarming tackle by the defence created a fumble which corner back Chris Taylor scooped to return 40 yards to the Cornish end zone for another score. In accordance with BAFACL rules if a PAT attempt has no bearing in determining the eventual winner it is not attempted if the clock has expired. So Hampshire closed their regular season with a 17-0 victory and a comprehensive defensive showing that created 4 turnovers and limited the Sharks to just 88 total yards.