Z ostatniej chwili:

CENTRUM MECZOWE 14 wrz, 2013 18:00

0 I 19
0 II 0
2 III 12
12 IV 6
- OT -
rozwiń ͮ

Holland spoils Poland's 11-man debut

Autor: Alex Zarganis Opublikowano dnia: 16 wrz 2013 | Komentarze: 0

The Polish national team got off to a slow start in their Saturday evening debut against the Netherlands, falling into a 31-point hole before rallying in what would eventually turn out to be a 37-14 victory for the Dutch. Tim Haver Droeze caught touchdowns of 78 and 55 yards in the first quarter to help the visitors to a big early lead and earn himself game MVP honors.

Disaster struck early for the Polish team, who won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. Tomasz Dziedzic fumbled on the return, giving Dutch quarterback Richard Bouthoom a short field to work with, and he capitalized two minutes later with a short touchdown pass to Tom van Duijn. Poland then punted after going three-and-out on their opening offensive possession, and Bouthoom went over the top on the first play to Haver Droeze. The big receiver pulled in the pass on the run and outran the defense on his way to a 78-yard touchdown that made the score 13-0.

Poland tried both Michał Kołek and Damian Kołpak at quarterback in the first half, but neither was able to get much going on offense. Kołpak came in on the second drive of the game, which again lasted only three plays, and Poland was forced to kick the ball back to the Dutch once again. Four plays later Bouthoom hit Haver Droeze for a second time, and suddenly it was 19-0 for the Netherlands.

That score held throughout the rest of the half, as the Polish defense began to find its feet. The offense remained cold in the second quarter, although they managed a few mid-length gains after finishing the first quarter with -13 yards of offense.

The second half began even worse for Poland than the first, as Sidney Kunst ran the kickoff back 87 yards to allow the Dutch to set up shop at the 3-yard line. Frank van Berkum took it in from there on the first play to make the score 25-0. The game calmed down once again after that, with the next four possessions ending in punts.

Another Polish mistake allowed the Netherlands to take a 31-0 lead later in the quarter, when Kevin Bourne fell on a fumbled snap in the end zone to score six points for the Dutch defense. The crowd of 2900-strong finally leapt to life on the extra point attempt, which was blocked by the Polish defense. Karol Mogielnicki picked the ball up after a mad scramble, and he was able to take it 90 yards to get two points on the board for the home team.

Poland's third-string quarterback, 18-year-old Filip Ilnicki, came into the game on the next possession, and his entry seemed to inject some life into the offense. Ilnicki, who plays for the Berlin Rebels in the German League, was effective throwing the ball and added another dimension to the attack with his scrambling ability. Even so, his first drive ended in an interception, and it began to look as though the Polish team would not find the end zone all evening long.

Ilnicki would redeem himself on the next Polish drive, however, leading his team down to the 29-yard line and then throwing a touchdown pass from there to Tomasz Zubrycki. The Netherlands responded with a six-minute drive that ended with Bouthoom's fourth touchdown pass of the evening, a 33-yarder to van Berkum. Ilnicki would get Poland on the board one last time with an electrifying 54-yard run up the right sideline late in the final quarter.

Despite the final scoreline, the Polish team members can hold their heads high after a performance that showed they belong on the same field as some of the more experienced players from other European countries. “Our team has the potential,” commented PLFA President Jędrzej Stęszewski, “but we have a lot of work to do. The fans were incredible tonight—the players felt as though they were playing in front of 30,000 and not 3,000. It was a magical evening.” That last sentiment held true for both the Dutch, who showed a lot of class in victory, and the Poles, who gave their all in representing their homeland for the first time.

Game stats: http://tnij.org/pl_ned_stats

Alex Zarganis
PLFA Press Bureau

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