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.
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.
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.
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.