Match Report – Northumberland Lightning @ Aberdeen Roughnecks 10.7.16

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Luke Osbourne holds onto the ball following his interception in the fourth quarter. Full credit to Gail Davis for the photograph.

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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!

 

 

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Match Report – Glasgow Tigers @ Northumberland Lightning 24.4.16

Match report by Stuart Dick.

Northumberland Lightning suffered a setback in their NFC North Division Two campaign with a 26-0 defeat to Glasgow Tigers on Sunday at Ashington Rugby Club.

The Lightning came into the game confident after a 10-8 win over the Aberdeen Roughnecks in week one, but came down to earth with bang as they committed seven turnovers against their Glaswegian opposition.

Two first quarter punts were fumbled by Northumberland, allowing Glasgow excellent field positions, which they capitalised on with two rushing touchdowns to lead 14-0. From then on however, the Lightning defence mainly dominated as it did in week one, holding the opposition to just over 100 yards total on the day.

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The Lightnings D line up against a Glasgow attack

 

However, the Northumberland offence struggled to move the football, completing just one pass on 22 attempts, and struggling to block a pacy Tigers D.

The Lightning’s troubles were added to late in the second quarter when a Glasgow punt was downed at the two-yard line. Three plays later quarterback Callum Pattison threw pick six to make the score 20-0.

The second half saw a switch of quarterback for the home side, Pattison suffering a shoulder injury meaning veteran backup Stuart Dick took to the field.
Early in the third quarter the Lightning got a drive going, running backs Scott Radford and Dale Merritt contributing, as did penalties on the Glasgow defence.

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Jordan Nellis takes a punt up-field for Northumberland

A Michael Raven field goal was blocked, allowing Glasgow to take control once again.
As the game headed into the fourth quarter, another rushing touchdown from Glasgow put points on the board.

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Tigers offence push the ball forward

A late Michael Brown interception gave the hosts hope of at least putting some points on the board and Northumberland nearly broke a big play for touchdown soon after, Dick overthrowing wide receiver Carl Charlton by millimetres, missing a sure fire touchdown.

A poor day at the office for Northumberland (now 1-1) who will look to bounce back against the Dundee Hurricanes (also 1-1) on Sunday 1st May at Ashington.
However, there were still encouraging signs, with the Lightning defence showing its metal on a number of occasions despite poor field position.

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Game Day Three

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Defensive Back Chris Pringle won the Most Valuable Player Award, winning two tickets to a Punch Drunk Comedy gig of his choice, the clubs game day sponsors for 2016.

To find our more about upcoming events for Punch Drunk, head on over to their Facebook page here!

Match Report – Aberdeen Roughnecks @ Northumberland Lightning 10.4.16

Match report by Stuart Dick.

The Northumberland Lightning shocked the Aberdeen Roughnecks on the opening day of the British American Football National League season with a 10-8 victory at Ashington Rugby Club on Sunday afternoon.

The heavily fancied Roughnecks, who reached the play-offs last season with a 6-4 record, made the long journey south to Northumberland to take on a Lightning outfit that went 1-9 in its rookie season, suffering heavy 44-20 and 53-0 defeats to Aberdeen last season.

The Roughnecks first drive showed some potential, but the Lightning held firm against their Scottish opponents forcing a punt that Aberdeen were able to down inside the 10 yard line. Northumberland’s offense struggled to gain yards, but an excellent punt by Michael Raven flipped field position in the home sides favour.

From that point onwards, the defences dominated, particularly Northumberland’s who got immense pressure on Aberdeen QB Chris Breen; rookie linebacker Liam Allen a particular menace totalling two sacks with fellow rookie ‘backer Dan Bandeira also sacking the QB. Second-year DE Sean Hall picked up his first sack of the season, the defense getting four in total.  Rookie CB Luke Osbourne also made his first career interception as the Lightning shut out their opponents in the first period.

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Lightnings D take their orders

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Lightnings LB attack the Roughnecks O-Line

 

On the other side of the ball Northumberland managed to move the ball thanks to the running of RB Dale Merritt and the blocking of an offensive line including two rookies.
The hard work paid dividends in the second quarter when, after a fumble recovery by Hall after another vicious sack, Raven kicked a field goal through the uprights to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead.

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Lightnings O v Roughnecks D

A crucial play before the end of the first half almost provided more points for the Lightning. A fantastic pass rush forced Breen into an errant throw, the ball picked off by recent transfer Michael Brown who ran the ball back to the three yard mark.

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Michael Brown returns an interception towards the endzone

However, there were two flags on the play, both on Aberdeen, but the referee’s called the play should never have happened, meaning Aberdeen inexplicably kept the ball, and with that the action in the first half ended.

 

The third quarter followed a similar pattern, Northumberland and Aberdeen’s defences on top, both stuffing the run game, but Lightning had the edge in pass defense forcing a number of mistakes from the oppositions trigger-man.

By this point the Lightning had been forced into changes on defence, having only 11 players on that side of the ball. TE Ross Conley was now playing at linebacker, with TE Lee Davison and QB Stuart Dick splitting time at Free Safety from the 2nd quarter.

With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Northumberland furthered their lead. Allen broke through the Aberdeen offensive line, making a crunching hit on Breen as he was in the process of throw.

The ball looped in the air for Conley to intercept, running the ball in from 23 yards out, Raven’s block opening a lane for Conley to reach the endzone. The Aberdeen quarterback was unfortunately forced out of the game after the hit with a shoulder injury.

To their credit, Aberdeen came back strong in the remainder of the game, running the ball up the middle for small but sustained gains. With just over two minutes remaining in the game a busted coverage allowed TE Rob Hayes to run free down the middle of the field, catching a 40 yard reception for the score, RB Ollie Schaffmann converting the two points leaving the score 10-8 in Northumberland’s favour.

With two minutes remaining it meant Aberdeen would be forced into an onside kick, Lightning rookie RB Daniel Patterson picking up the kick despite a pile on from the Roughnecks.

The Lightning still needed a first down to secure the win, but after three straight run plays Northumberland were forced to punt the ball away, Raven kicking the ball out of bounds.

This left Aberdeen with one last play with 4 seconds remaining from halfway. The Roughnecks backup QB dropped back and fired to his left where FS Dick was waiting to grab the interception and take a knee to end the game.

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A fantastic effort by the Lightning against a side who went to the play-offs in 2015, defeating Northumberland 97-20 on aggregate last season.

Head Coach Mal Ditcham said following the game;
I’m delighted with the guys today, going up against a team like Aberdeen on the opening day was never going to be easy, but the team played brilliantly and managed to grind out the win. Last year was our first in the league and at times we found it difficult, so to get a win in the first game really shows how far we have come in the last 12 months. The lads did brilliantly, I can’t praise them enough. We will not get carried away though, this is just 1 win, we have another 9 games to go, so our focus now switches to our home game against the Glasgow Tigers. I’d like to say thanks to Aberdeen for making the long trip down south, they put up a strong fight and the late TD really made it an exciting finish. The Roughnecks are a great organisation and we’ve enjoyed all of the games we’ve played against them. We wish them all the best for the rest of the season”

Game day sponsors Punch Drunk Comedy supplied two tickets for an upcoming gig to the game’s Most Valuable Player, awarded to rookie LB Liam Allen for his 2 sack performance, along with a number of other big plays. If you want to join Liam at one of these shows, Punch Drunk 2.4 is coming to Blyth, Bedlington and Ashington between 18th-21st April 2016, click on this link to access their Facebook event for more information!

Next up for the Lightning is a home game against the Glasgow Tigers on Sunday 24th April, 2.30pm Kick-Off at Ashington Rugby Club, further information to follow soon!

Lightning join the #PunchDrunkArmy

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We are excited to announce that our season opener on Sunday 10th April 2016 against Aberdeen Roughnecks will be sponsored by…… Punch-Drunk Comedy!

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The team host live stand up comedy events with a huge focus on re-igniting the concept of community; using laughter to connect us all.
Over the last few years they have hosted international comedians and raised the bar for stand up comedy in the region.. but why stop there?
Their goal is now to create a community movement and to make the events bigger than ever – more laughter, more energy and to put our communities on the map as a national platform for comedy.

To help achieve their goals, the Punch-Drunk team set aside 50 free tickets to the small businesses in the community and allocate some of their ticket sales revenue to charities.
Most recently their events have been a driving force behind Kian Musgrove’s fight to fly to the US for life-saving cancer treatment (which to date has now surpassed over £580’000!) through the “100 heroes” campaign where 100 individuals are attempting to generate £1000 each in fundraising to help Kian.

So, whilst Punch-Drunk have generously offered to sponsor the Lightnings first game day of the season, we are going to flip this one on its head and use the opportunity to bring attention to the Punch-Drunk movement!
Check our their events, share their posts, leave them a review and help them spread the word – be part of something very special.

One worthy player will win two tickets to an upcoming Punch-Drunk event at our opening home game against Aberdeen Roughnecks. Kick off is 14:30 on Sunday 10th April 2016, at Ashington Rugby Club and the game is FREE, so come down to show your support!
To find out more information, click on the Lightnings Facebook event here.

Punch-Drunk Comedy have several upcoming shows throughout April and May, click on their social media links below to find out more and get involved:

Website: http://punchdrunkcomedy.co.uk/
Facebook: Punch-Drunk Comedy – Blyth
Twitter: @PunchDrunkBlyth #PunchDrunkArmy
Instagram: @PunchDrunkComedy

 

 

 

Match Report – Northumberland Lightning @ West Coast Trojans 9.8.15

NL v WCT field

Northumberland (1-8) travelled up to Garscube Sports Complex this past Sunday for their final league game of the season again table toppers the West Coast Trojans (8-1) in a 2pm kick off.

The teams last met back in May, when the Trojans visited Ashington and dominated the Lightning, leaving with a 98-6 win.  West Coast have since gone on to comfortably win the division and with a huge opportunity awaiting them in the playoffs, the expectation was that the Trojans may make use of their entire squad to get valuable game time.

West Coast won the toss and began with their full strength offence setting the standard. WR Kenny Hoggan received a 13 yard pass for the opening TD. Northumberland struggled to move upfield in the reverse and a blocked punt left the Trojans in an excellent field position.  DE Ross Cavanagh capitalized with a 2 yard rushing TD before LB Connor Nicholson forced a fumble recovery in the end zone.

With the Lightning struggling to improve their field position and making crucial mistakes on special teams, the Trojans threatened to run riot with their powerful run game.  Northumberland battled hard to try and stop this but RB Jordan Falconer who was chasing (and passed!) a career total of 11’000 rushing yards was proving unplayable and scored with a 12 yard run for the TD before a final 8 yard rushing TD from Chris Lang left the score at a daunting 36-0.

Picture courtesy of Mhairi-Louise Greenshields/ West Coast Trojans

Picture courtesy of Mhairi-Louise Greenshields/ West Coast Trojans

As the game entered into Q2, West Coast made the first of their squad rotation changes.

This gave the Lightning a chance to find their feet and led to a more competitive second quarter. The Trojans however scored the only points before the half, as RB Lorn Campbell rushed again from the 9 yard mark to leave the half time scores at 42-0 and a rolling clock implemented after the break.

West Coast continued to allow their backups time to play and the result was another one score affair, as Campbell yet again rushed for a TD, this time from 12 yards. The PAT failed and left the score at 48-0 heading into Q4.

The final quarter saw the Trojans look to finish strong, with WR Murray Hogg receiving a perfectly placed 35 yard pass and for the TD before RB Jordan Falconer swept for a huge 34 yard rushing score to add to his previous efforts.

Northumberland had been slowly improving on the offence throughout the game and, despite losing FB Gary Cooper after taking a huge hit and HB Reece Salkeld to a broken thumb during the game, the Lightning continued to attack, with the Offensive Line battling hard against a physical Trojans defense to try and provide protection for Northumberlands QB Callum Pattinson.

Picture courtesy of Mhairi-Louise Greenshields/ West Coast Trojans

Picture courtesy of Mhairi-Louise Greenshields/ West Coast Trojans

That hard work and fight paid off at the end of Q4, as every member of the Lightnings offense played their part for remarkable drive.  After starting deep in their own half, Pattinson found TE Lee Davison, TE Ross Conley, WR Carl Charlton and stand in RB Ben Harris (although the latters 15 yard run was pulled back) to drive up the field, before ending the drive with a perfect pass to WR George Allsopp II to finally put points on the board.

With nothing to lose, the Lightning went for the 2 points and nearly pulled it off, however strong press coverage from the Trojans DB’s prevented Allsopp securing the ball from the short pass.

The game finished 60-6 to complete the Lightnings 10 game rookie year at (1-9), whilst the Trojans (9-1) march on to face Peterborough Saxons in the playoffs.

Whilst there was never likely to be a question over the result, the game was a good opportunity for both teams to test their squads and the Lightning, despite the defeat, showed glimpses of what they are capable of and will be looking to work hard in the post season to improve for next year.

Northumberland Lightning

Northumberland Lightning

Match Report – Northumberland Lightning @ Newcastle Vikings 5.7.15

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Last Sunday saw Lightning take the short trip to Druid Park, to take on the high flying Newcastle Vikings, in a re-arranged fixture previously scheduled for the following Sunday.

Following a home victory against Dundee Hurricanes in May, Lightning headed into the game on the back of two defeats away to Glasgow Tigers and most recently away to Aberdeen Roughnecks the previous weekend, making the fixture their third away match in 4 weeks.

The Vikings also came into the game off a defeat, falling to top of the table West Coast Trojans 52-8 a fortnight earlier.  Newcastle however were in considerably better form for the season, looking to secure playoff football and with an overall 6-2 record prior to the game, they were heavy favourites to repeat their victory earlier in the season, which saw them humble the Lightning 79-0 at Ashington.

A heavy run of fixtures and the impact of the rescheduled date meant that Northumberland entered the game with their smallest match day squad of the season so far and it didn’t take long for Newcastle to strike, securing 3 TD’s in the opening Quarter through 2 runs and a 37 yard pass to put the score at 21-0.

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Northumberland struggled to move the ball in response, despite Lightning Safety Jordan Nellis intercepting a Newcastle pass and returning for 73 yards, Northumberland couldn’t capitalize.

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A further 3 TD runs in Q2 saw Newcastle dominate and repeat the score line of Q1, taking the score to 42-0 at the end of the half and shutting Northumberland out.
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The beginning of the second half saw no let up, as Newcastle continued to score, putting 62 on the board in total and securing playoff football before Northumberland finally struck back, with Lightning HB Reece Salkeld ending a positive rushing drive with a 35 yard run to put points on the board and ensure that Northumberland have now scored against every team in the division. The PAT hit the post to keep Northumberland’s contribution at 6.

Newcastle had time to add one final TD, rushing for 8 yards at the end of a powerful run drive and adding a PAT for a 69-6 score line.

Northumberland moved the ball up the field in the final minutes, seeking to add further consolation points but their final passes were incomplete and the clock ran out to give Newcastle the comprehensive win.

Next up for Northumberland is a two week break before the Aberdeen Roughnecks visit Ashington Rugby Club on Sunday 26th July for the Lightnings final home game of the season.

The photographs above were taken by Michael Oakes and his full album of game day pictures are available on Facebook by clicking Here.

Match Report – Northumberland Lightning @ Aberdeen Roughnecks 28.6.15

11150819_868494953215756_3460927389130875288_nSunday saw the Lightning travel back up to Scotland for the third time this season to play the Aberdeen Roughnecks at Hazlehead Park.

Injuries determined Northumberland could travel with a squad of approximately 24 players for their first game against the Roughnecks, who were 3-3 going into the game, sitting in the middle of NFC North 2 and hoping to push up the table with a home win.

The weather in Scotland was unpredictable as usual, going from a deluge of rain, to blistering sun and back again within the first half as Aberdeen began with a solid run game, Ollie Schaffman ending a powerful opening drive for the Roughnecks with a 1 yard TD run, followed by the extra point.

Northumberland struggled to get their offence going in the first quarter, with the Roughnecks defence holding well and forcing the Lightning to punt away repeatedly. Aberdeen’s offence made the most of this possession and it was Schaffman who struck again with another run, this time from 18 yards. Roughnecks again were successful with the extra point, taking them to 14-0.

Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Heading into Q2, Aberdeen struck again, this time receiver Adam Bennett was picked out with an 18 yard throw from QB Ash Sarcevic. The Roughnecks kicked the extra point again, before Scott McDonald added a 24 yard field goal towards the end of the quarter, taking the half time score to 24-0 and leaving the Lightning struggling with the rolling clock approaching.

Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Half time however saw a change of tactics and a change of personnel for the Lightning, with Reece Salkeld again temporarily stepping into the QB role as he had done against Glasgow and hoping to drive the offence forward.

It was however the Lightning defence who struck first early in Q3, with Safety Jordan Nellis rising high to intercept an Aberdeen throw, before driving down the pitch for a 54 yard return TD.

Aberdeen struck back with another TD pass from Sarcevic, who threw 32 yards to receiver Rhys Elmslie, followed by another extra point leaving the score at 31-6.

Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Just when Northumberland began to move the ball well, Aberdeen had their own interception from Ross Elrick, who ran on for 33 yards to take the score to 37-6, followed by a further extra point.

Moving into Q4, the Roughnecks pulled away further with Schaffman made another 1 yard TD run, however this time there was no extra points and the game sat at 44-6.

Northumberland surprisingly then put together their best spell of the game, receiving the ball back from the kick off, only for Jordan Nellis to get his second of the game by returning the ball the entire distance. Northumberland had nothing to lose and went for the 2 points but failed in their attempt.

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Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

The Lightning defence then forced Aberdeen back towards their own goal line and into a punt. That momentum gave the Northumberland offence a boost and TE Ross Conley attempted to score his fourth TD in as many games when he burst through the line, however the play was pulled back for holding.

Not to be disheartened, Northumberland continued to move the chains and took the ball up to Aberdeen’s goal line. This time, FB Scott Radford burst through for the score.

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Photo credit: Gilles Gardner

Northumberland again decided to try for the 2 points and were finally successful when Salkeld rolled out of his pocket and picked out receiver George Allsopp to take the Lightnings second half (and total) score to 20, leaving the final score at 44-20.

A disappointing day for Northumberland, however they can take a lot of positives from their second half performance, particularly in Q4 when they continued to play right until the end and were rewarded with an improved scoreline.

The Lightning now only have 1 week to heal up their injuries and prepare for an away fixture much closer to home, as they play Newcastle Vikings on Sunday 5th July.

Northumberland and Aberdeen will meet again on Sunday 26th July when the Roughnecks visit Ashington Rugby Club for the reverse fixture

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.

Match Report – Dundee Hurricanes @ Northumberland Lightning 31.5.15

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Sunday saw Northumberland Lightnings fifth National League game and their first rematch of the campaign, playing host to Dundee Hurricanes at Ashington Rugby Club.

The teams both met 4 weeks earlier in the reverse fixture, playing in horrendous conditions at Morgan Rugby Club, which saw a late surge from the ‘Canes secure a 37-6 victory.

The weather was forecast for much the same on a morning beset with heavy rain, however as the kick off time rolled around the clouds parted and the teams were met with the unusual sight of glorious sunshine

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Q1 started well for the Lightning, with the defence working well as a team to hold the ‘Canes back. The offence also moved the ball well, with TE Ross Conley making Northumberlands first big play with a 52 yard rush upfield to put the Lightning into a great field position. That position gave Lightning their first big chance of the game, with QB Callum Pattison finding Conley on the edge of the Endzone – only for the ‘Canes to make a fantastic last ditch tackle as Conley juggled the ball to prevent the early TD.

The game was tied at 0-0 going into Q2, however Conley didn’t have to wait long for his next opportunity.  Pattison sold the fake hand off before picking out Conley in the corner of the Endzone and the TE made the most of his opportunity and collected the ball with a diving catch to put the Lightning 6-0 up, after the PAT hit the post.

Dundee had established their own passing game however and QB Bruce Thomson soon picked out a receiver on a deep pass route, allowing the ‘Canes to collect and run it home.  The PAT was good, bringing the scores to 7-6 in favour of Dundee.

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A fumble from the Lightning then gifted the ‘Canes a final drive prior to the break and they moved the ball down to the edge of the Lightnings Endzone. However the Lightnings defence showed real determination to hold the ‘Canes back as the clock ran out to bring the first half to an end.

Q3 saw Northumberland receive the ball and their offence soon put themselves into a good position within the opening drive. After some powerful running, Pattison saw WR Carl Charlton open in the centre of the Endzone and picked him out for Charltons first Lightning TD. The PAT was good and saw Lightning move back into a 13-6 lead.

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The Lightning defence were working hard and a combination of good coverage and powerful tackles saw them continue to win possession back and give the offence more opportunities to extend the lead.  That key opportunity came soon after – after a short timeout due to injury for the ‘Canes LB Graham Thomson, the Lightnings Offensive Line combined well to assist a perfectly executed reverse and it was Conley who broke free for a 62 yard rush and his second TD of the afternoon. The PAT was no good, leaving the Lightning up 19-6.

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Dundee however continued to fight hard and within a few drives had managed to bring the score back to 19-14, following another deep pass from QB Bruce Thomson on 4th & 13 which found its target. The PAT was good and the game was back on as Q4 approached.

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Northumberlands offence continued to deliver and establish a drive based on solid power runs, with Scott Radford, Reece Salkeld and Gary Cooper all combining to drive forward. Two successive penalties on the drives against Dundee; for a late hit out of bounds and then unsportsmanlike conduct, moved the ball to the edge of the ‘Canes Endzone.

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1st Down saw the Lightning push closer onto the 1 yard line, but the next down saw FB Scott Radford take the hand-off and dive over the line for his first Lightning TD on his return to the team.  Looking to secure the game, the Lightning then made the call to go for 2 points and this paid dividends when Pattison picked out Cooper with a pinpoint pass to make the score 27-14 with only 7 minutes on the clock.

Radford

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Dundee again refused to go down without a fight and almost immediately, Bruce Thomson had his third TD pass of the day, finding his man upfield to take the game to 27-20 with just under 4 minutes on the clock and setting up a tense finale.

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Dundee then made their big play, kicking onside to try and regain possession. The Lightning were first to the ball but couldn’t secure it before Dundee stole in to make the recovery and allow themselves a golden opportunity with everything to play for. They immediately drove up the field but a crucial fumble on 4th down saw Lightning LB Roy Boucher collect the ball to the delight of his team mates.

As the two minute warning approached, the Lightning found themselves on 3rd & 5. However this time TE Lee Davison took the reverse, rushing past the 1st down marker and putting the victory into the Lightnings hands as they ran the clock down to secure their first league win.

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After the game, Head Coach Mal Ditcham said: “‘Firstly I’d like to say thanks to the Dundee Hurricanes for making the long trip south, that’s the second time the two clubs have met and both games have been good competitive games played in the right spirit, I’d like to wish them all the best for the rest of the season. Its a great feeling to get our first win of the season, especially to bounce back from a big defeat against West Coast Trojans in our previous game. The players were fantastic and a real credit not only to the club, but to the county of Northumberland. Most of our players had not played American Football prior to this season so to see them develop in such a short space of time is a great credit to the players and the coaches. We have 5 games remaining this season so hopefully this win can be the springboard to more victories’ 

Full match reports, photo galleries and video highlights coming soon…

*Full credit to Stuart Dick for the information in the game report and Katy Young for the all photography featured in this article*

Match Report – West Coast Trojans @ Northumberland Lightning 17.5.15

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The biggest test so far of the season came on Sunday gone when the division leaders West Coast Trojans travelled to Northumberland.

As mentioned in our preview, this was not the Trojans first visit to Ashington, helping the Lightning in their final friendly associate game in December 2014.

However on this occasion, the pressure was turned up and Trojans were all business, with a point to prove. The Lightnings heaviest defeat of the season so far came in a 79-0 defeat to Newcastle Vikings just under a month ago in a game that the Lightning just didn’t turn up for.

Considering West Coast turned Newcastle over 46-7 following this game, the Lightning were always in for a tough day, but on a surprisingly sunny day in Northumberland, the Trojans came with their biggest performance of the season so far.

The first drive set the tone for the day, with HC and QB Gary McNey throwing a perfectly weighted ball to WR Kenny Hoggan for the first of 11 TD passes from McNey in a hugely impressive performance, 4 of which came in the 1st Quarter, a second for Hoggan, a catch each for WR Bryan Bleasdale and one for RB Jordan Falconer continuing the Trojans impressive season record for 1st Quarter scores and putting 30 points on the clock early without return.

The 2nd Quarter produced an identical return, this time from 3 receptions, two more for Hoggan and one for WR Kenny Hogg, before RB Jordan Falconer rushed for 18 yards to put 60 points on the board before HT and grab his second of the afternoon.

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The Lightning finally began to find some momentum and moved the chains, but were stopped by a huge sack on QB Callum Pattinson, by Trojans LB Jason Gillespie who forced a fumble that was also recovered by West Coast DE Sean Carney.

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Despite the scoreline, the Lightning never let their heads drop and went out into the second half determined to fight on, with the offence moving the chains well before ultimately punting back to West Coast, who made them pay when WR Bryan Bleasdale received yet another Gary McNey TD pass from close range.

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Lightning Offence came back on however and this time, got the result they wanted. Some excellent blocking from the Offensive Line allowed for a perfectly executed Tight End reverse, allowing TE Ross Conley to break through the Trojans defence and rush 60 yards for a TD and sending the Lightnings sideline wild. It was a huge moment for the Lightning, who had battled throughout and served to motivate the team, even trying an optimistic 2 pointer which was stopped short of the line.

West Coast reacted instantly and drove forward to allow Bleasdale another receiving TD from 24 yards, taking McNey’s contribution to 9 entering the final Quarter.

At 74-6, the Lightning D could have been forgiven for giving up, but they kept on battling and played till the end, despite a 98-6 scoreline with, Bleasdale taking his final TD for the day, RB Josh Polson rushing for 11 yards and a final score from QB McNey and RB Chris Lang ending the game.

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A huge win for West Coast and a near new division record for McNey with his 11 passes.

Despite the scoreline, the Lightning put in a much improved performance compared to previous games against Dundee and Newcastle but were undone by the experience and ability of a West Coast side who deserve to be in the higher divisions.

The addition of a well executed TD from the Offence now puts points on the board for two successive games and the team now have two weeks to regroup and focus their attention on their rematch against Dundee Hurricanes at Ashington on Sunday 31st May 2015.

The full game can be viewed on YouTube at the following link –> GAME VIDEO *Full credit to “zxspectrumgames4” on Youtube for the footage.