Match Report – Northumberland Lightning @ Glasgow Tigers 14.6.15

Last Sunday the team took to the road for another rematch, this time travelling to Pollok Park in Scotland to face the Glasgow Tigers.

The teams previously met on the opening day of the season at Ashington Rugby Club, with Glasgow winning 27-3.

Following on from the Lightnings first league win against Dundee Hurricanes, the team were looking to make it two on the bounce in rematches, but Lightning certainly didn’t strike twice for Northumberland on a frustrating day in Glasgow.

That frustration began before the game even began, with an unfortunate combination of unavailability and injury leaving the team without a recognized QB and requiring HB Reece Salkeld to step up to the mark.

Northumberland received first and didn’t make things any easier. An inside run was fumbled on the first drive, which was quickly recovered by Tigers LB Robert Poore. Glasgow capitalized on the field position, with QB Darnell Starks finding Anthony Rice for the TD, followed by a 2pt conversion on their opening drive.

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Both teams then moved towards the oppositions 40 yard lines before punting in turn, however a well placed effort from Glasgow left Northumberland starting their drive on their own 3 yard line. Northumberland were penned in and Tigers LB JJ Crawford took advantage, landing a safety towards the end of Q1 to take the score to 10-0.

Glasgow were looking to add to that total soon after but a fumble recovery and repeated stops from Lightning LB Ben Harris kept them at bay.

Mid Q2, a well placed punt from Lightning placed Glasgow back towards their own goal line. Unlike Northumberlands effort earlier, the Tigers managed to move the ball to safety with a 22 yard pass. However, a false start and a sack from Harris for -11 yards put the Tigers back onto their 2 yard line and on 2nd & 31.
The snap from Glasgow missed the target, bouncing awkwardly onto the posts and it was Lightnings in form Harris again who recovered it for the TD. Glasgow blocked the 2pt conversion to leave the scores at 10-6.

However, the Tigers then stepped up a gear on their next drive, with Starks finding Scott Vallance with a 26 yard pass. Northumberland stopped the 2 pt conversion, but Glasgow soon had the ball back after a failed punt from the Lightning left the Tigers on their oppositions 18 yard line. It was Starks again with the pass, this time for 18 yards finding Liam Baird in the endzone. A successful 2pt conversion put Glasgow in control of the game as half time beckoned, but the Tigers and Starks still had another in them, with a 9 yard TD pass to Robb Gould and a 2pt conversion ran in from FB Maurice Adams leaving the scores at 32-6 to Glasgow at the break.

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The momentum built up by the Tigers continued in Q3, as David McLintock broke through the tackles and managed to find himself free for a superb 86 yard kick off return and TD.

The Lightning could have been forgiven for letting the game get out of control at this point but refused to go down without fighting. Ben Harris again was responsible for getting points on the board, forcing a safety with another superb tackle.

Maurice Adams continued his powerful running at the end of the third quarter however, to leave the score at 44-8 in Q4.

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Starks final TD pass of the game came soon after, finding Scott Vallance for his second of the day and Liam Baird ran in the 2pts to follow.

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Northumberland continued to fight late into the game, with TE Ross Conley sweeping with the ball for 58 yards and his third rushing TD in as many games. Stand-in QB Reece Salkeld, who had managed to make 74 rushing yards on his own already, deservedly ran in the 2pt conversion.

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Glasgow still had time for Fearghus Maher to force his his way downfield for a 25 yard rushing TD run and a final 2pt conversion left the score at 60-16 as the whistle blew.

A deserved win for the Tigers and a frustrating blow for Northumberland, despite stand out performances from Harris and Salkeld for the Lightning, who need to re-group and prepare for the long journey north to Aberdeen on Sunday 28th June 2015.

The pictures in the above match report are all courtesy of Digitalpict Photography who were present throughout the game Sunday. Click Digitalpict Photography to view their full album on Facebook and to like their page.

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