Sealand ‘Shehawks’ Match Report

Exhibition2023 (Game 1)

Stade Charles Martin, Bordeaux, France

Seahawks Womens
Lions De Bordeaux
22 - 48
Final Score

The reality of the occasion set in at 14:15, when both teams and officials lined up and stood to attention for the National Anthems. This was it; we were finally only minutes away from the Sealand Seahawks Women’s Team – the Shehawks – to take to the field and play our first ever game!

Our hosts won the toss but deferred to us, so we received to start the game. A booming KO was returned short, and the Seahawks Offence took to the field.
Some errand snaps stalled the first few drives as Offence settled into it. A crafty playbook executed by a stellar offence, saw the Shehawks chip at the Lions D early on.

Passes were made and completed, runs were strong thanks to a dominant blocking scheme, but unfortunately came up inches short. A few kinks needed to be ironed out, as the ball turned over.

The Lions‘ Offence found their feet, as a hard slog for Defense took its toll as they stepped onto the field. Shehawks would make big TFLs, easily sacking the Lions QB and providing stops for no gains – only to be followed by strong runs or short passes for 1st downs.

The Lions were well drilled, their WRs knew how to find space and their RBs could run hard. The Shehawks Defense dug deep, but after a 17/18 play drive, they just couldn’t keep those Lions out of the endzone to open the scoring.
The remainder of the first half went back and forth, mostly in the Lion’s favour. The Lions Offence began to adjust to our Defence and found space to run to the endzone.

On the other hand, the Shehawks Offence continues to fall foul of a few costly errors, with an Interception being thrown seconds before the half, but narrowly saved by the most outrageous 60+ yard chase by Ilse Van Staden – OL you have ever seen!!

Halftime hit and it was 32-0 to the Lions – but we were not defeated just yet.

Taking a moment, the coaches gathered the players. We were maybe down on the score, but we were not out. There was still a whole half of football to play – we are Sealand Shehawks after all!

Shehawks Kick off team took to the field to start the half and wow, did they do that. Pinning Lions back in their own half and forcing a four and out. The Shehawks Offence returned to the field and picked up a few first downs, but once more coming up short.

After a blown coverage and another Lions score, our Kick return team found some much anticipated magic.
A screaming kick taken clean by Jess Liddiard was returned 80+ yards for a Touchdown!!

Shehawks were on the board and the side line was amped!! A QB sneak from Nicole Speirs tagged on another 2 points.

Adrenaline was pumping among the players and coaches, but there was a ball game to be had. With the Lions clearly rattled, the Shehawks Defense shut down our hosts who attempted to unleash their passing game.

However, the DBs and secondary were having none of it – which gave the Offence the opportunity to get back on.
A great field position saw a QB keep by Speirs tag on more points, and a fast toss to Rylee Adamson for 2 more. The well-gelled Offence were clearly now on the same page and began testing the Lions Defense to their limit.

A jet sweep to Adamson to the field side saw some of the filthiest stiff-arms delivered to the attempted tacklers. Derrick Henry himself would be proud.
Unfortunately, the 2pat was no good and the final seconds ticked on. The Lions offence was on the final drive of the game, and they were going for it.
Once more Shehawks DL said no, as the Sealand side-lines chanted in support. The final whistle blew to end the play – and the game, as the QB was sacked deep in the backfield.

The second half was a 22-16 win. The team rallied and cheered as they all hugged and celebrated what was a historic Sealandic football day – Sealand Seahawks women’s teams first ever match.

Final score was a 48-22 loss but that 100% does not show the effort of every Shehawk on that field on Saturday.

Head Coach Ian Fryer had this to say: “Despite the overall result, I couldn’t be prouder of this group of players and coaches. The first half was more like a live training session with many mental mistakes but after half time this team showed it’s potential and depth of talent.
“The group of players supported each other, listened to their coaches (even me) and put it all out there on the pitch.
“Despite most never having played this format of the game, especially the extra level of special teams, to score the first ever Shehawks TD on a kick return says so much for how they embraced the experience.
“I’d like to thank everybody who came to Bordeaux for their time, their effort and the fun they brought with them. On to the next one……”

Sealand Seahawks