By Rich Jones
Cardiff Cobras suffered a disheartening end to their 2015/16 campaign with a 26-6 defeat in their Varsity American Football match against the Swansea Titans.
The Cobras were left ruing a sluggish start as they were condemned to their fourth defeat of the season against their arch rivals.
It was a disappointing afternoon for the side as they were well-beaten in a fiercely-contested clash and relinquished the trophy they won in dramatic fashion 12 months ago.
After holding Swansea to a field goal on their opening possession, the Cobras struggled to gain territory on offense before the hosts struck two quick-fire touchdowns to take a 17-0 lead after just the first quarter.
From that point on Cardiff had a mountain to climb, although they responded with a much-improved second quarter to show signs of life entering the second half.
Still trailing by 17, the Cobras missed an opportunity with a surprise onside kick before their hopes were handed a boost as defensive tackle Will Harris recovered a fumble on the Titans opening possession of the third quarter.
They then put together a confidence-boosting drive led by quarterback Chris Brinkworth before a costly fumble as they closed in on the Swansea endzone saw them leave without any points.
Fine defensive performances from Harris, linebacker Toby Lock and defensive end Shaun Rees amongst others shut down the Titans potent offense for the second successive quarter to keep their slender hopes alive.
When Nathan Pinel punched in a touchdown for the Cobras within the opening moments of the fourth quarter they began to dream of an unlikely comeback.
However, Swansea running back Jacob Amadi immediately responded by brushing off four Cardiff tackles to run in a spectacular 20-yard touchdown and all but end the game as a contest.
They added two more points with a safety to move 26-6 up – a scoreline which remained when the final whistle blew on what had been another ferocious contest between the sides.
Despite never looking like winning the game, the Cobras more than held their own after recovering from a disastrous first quarter.
Swansea’s star trio of running back Amadi, elusive quarterback Joe Cotterill and reliable wide receiver Sam Huxtable ultimately made all the difference as they completed an unbeaten season at the expense of the Cobras.
Cardiff were able to leave with their heads held high following another brave display, with a number of leavers putting in creditable performances in the losing cause.