Northumberland Lightning headed up to Aberdeen last Sunday hoping to get back to winning ways after a difficult first half to the season.
The teams last met on the opening day of the season when the Lightning defeated the Roughnecks 10-8. Since then however, Northumberland had suffered consecutive defeats and sat with a 1-4 record pre-game.
Aberdeen, by contrast, headed into the game on a 3-3 record, picking up a last gasp win against Newcastle Vikings the week prior and likely wanting to avenge that opening day defeat.
The Northumberland Lightning team in their new away jerseys pre-game
Aberdeen (white) won the toss and opted to defer and so Northumberland (wearing the new away kit) began with the ball. The opening quarter was a solid battle for field position, with both defences holding well and the ball rarely moving beyond 20 yards in either direction for the most part.
Northumberland Lightning RB Gary Cooper is dramatically stopped in on his run. Credit to Gail Davis for the photograph.
The rain was falling and whilst both teams began to focus on their respective run games, Northumberland did make 3 successful completions in the opening drives.
Both teams fought on in the second quarter but Aberdeen began to gradually push Northumberland back between exchanges and the pressure paid off just before the half when HB John Strange ran the ball home to open the scoring and Aberdeen added a PAT to end the half 7-0 up.
Aberdeen Roughnecks running the ball. Credit to Gail Davis for the photograph.
The Roughnecks then received the ball in the second half and moved down the field, with HB Dave Obatolu forcing the Lightning back with several powerful runs to put the ball just outside the Northumberland end-zone, before finishing with a short run over the line.
Lightning blocked the PAT and the score was 13-0. Northumberland continued attempting to fight back in the rain. However, Aberdeen continued to utilize their field position and soon made the most of a perfectly placed punt, downed on the Lightning 1 yard line. Northumberland attempted to rush the ball out but the hole was crashed by Aberdeen for the Safety, to leave the score at 15-0 and the match gradually slipping away from Northumberland leading into the fourth quarter.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game was put to bed. A fumble by Northumberland gave CB Lewis Rothnie the opportunity to recover and there was time for Aberdeen to add a further rushing score from 10 yards with HB John Strong punching through as a depleted Lightning squad finally succumbed.
Aberdeen Roughnecks RB Grant Travis driving forward. Full credit to Gail Davis for the photograph.
The game ended Aberdeen Roughnecks 28 – 0 Northumberland Lightning.
Despite the defeat, there were positives to be drawn from the game for Northumberland.
Defensively there were some excellent performances – with DB’s Michael Raven and Luke Osbourne making several key stops and taking an interception each, helping to frustrate Aberdeen’s aerial threat in already difficult conditions.
Luke Osbourne holds onto the ball following his interception in the fourth quarter. Full credit to Gail Davis for the photograph.
Northumberland Lightning LB Mike Brown makes a big stop. Full credit to Gail Davis for the photograph.
Offensively, QB Callum Pattinson made some good plays and opportunities which on another day could have paid off. RBs Gary Cooper and Scott Radford battled hard to move the ball throughout against a tough Aberdeen defence.
Another loss for Northumberland but great fighting spirit shown throughout. Injuries have hit the squad hard, so it will be vital that the team continue to pull together, despite the lower numbers in the next upcoming fixture against Dundee Hurricanes (A) on 24th July.
The photographs featured above are thanks to Gail Davis – visit her Facebook page here to see the full album. To read the Aberdeen Roughnecks full match report (we borrowed some of it!!)- visit their Facebook page here!