Sunday 7 January 2024

Match Report: Flintshire Phantoms 3 - Connah's Quay Cobras 12 (Summer Classic Cup)

Connah's Quay Cobra celebrate their 3-12 Summer Classic Cup win over Flintshire Phantoms 

Saturday 6th January 2024 – Summer Classic Cup: Flintshire Phantoms 3 – Connah’s Quay Cobras 12

The Connah’s Quay Cobras got the new year off to a good start with a comprehensive 3-12 win over the Flintshire Phantoms in the opening game of the Summer Classic Cup at Deeside Leisure Centre on Saturday.

This was the first ever meeting between the two Deeside-based teams and, with the Phantoms being the longer established team - and semi-finalists in the cup last season - it was expected to be a tough test for the Cobras, who were making their debut in the competition.  

The game started well for the Cobras and they took the lead after just 93 seconds with a goal after  Louie Bailey finished off a blue zone breakaway from Emma Dutton.

Kieran Clarkson made it 0-2 two minutes later before the Phantoms opened their own account with a goal in the 5th minute. Flintshire then equalised on 14 minutes but a last-gasp goal from Stewart Cutting with just 2 seconds left on the clock handed the Cobras a 2-3 lead at the first period break.

A goal from Martin Rybka on 24 minutes edged the Cobras further ahead and unanswered goals from Cutting and Rybka again put some daylight between the two teams 

A flurry of activity and the start of the third period saw three goals scored within 50 seconds of each other as Kieran Clarkson fired the Cobras into a 2-7 lead, the Phantoms pulled a goal back and then  Connah’s Quay captain Evan McKinney restored the advantage.

The latter stages saw the Cobras pull away and 4 more unanswered goals – from Rybka for his hat-trick, Louis Ellwood, Cutting (another hat-trick) and then Rybka again – saw them coast to a comfortable victory.

The Most Valuable Players (MVPs) for the two teams were Brian Chalmers for Flintshire and Martin Rybka for Connah’s Quay.  Special credit goes to Alex Fisher and Jason James who stepped in to referee the match after the appointed officials didn’t arrive.

The win sees the Cobras top the qualifying group at this early stage of the competition but there is still a long way to go and, as the word “summer” in the title suggests, most of the games will be played later in the year.  

As well as the two qualifying games against Flintshire, the Cobras will also play home and away against Trafford Thunder, Blackburn Falcons, Newcastle Predators and last year’s Development Section treble winners Riverside Raiders in a 6-team “round robin” group that will stretch into the summer months.

The top two finishers in the group will qualify for the play offs in Sheffield in August, where they will meet the top teams from the other groups.

The Cobras are next in action on Saturday 27th January when they take on the Solihull Vikings in a challenge match at Deeside Leisure Centre, 4.30pm face off.  Admission is free for all spectators.