By Mick Taylor
The Newcastle Vikings completed their third game as part of the associate season for inclusion into BAFANL 2015 season with a victory against fellow associate team Leeds Bobcats.
After losses to Premier division teams Yorkshire Rams (44-8) and East Kilbride Pirates (26-0) the Vikings finally got their first win with a 44-23 victory over Leeds at Sporting Club Cramlington.
Leeds started brightly and scored on their first possession with Nick whitehead competing a short pass to Matt Hale for a TD and 2PAT to take an early lead, they held the Vikings first drive after Newcastle failed to convert on 4th Down.
A high punt on their next drive left Leeds in trouble giving the Vikings the ball at their own 3 yard line, it took just one play a run from RB Iain Heron Stamp to cross for the Vikings to narrow the score to 2.
QB Matt Long was stopped on the 2PAT by LB Callan Henderson to make the score 8-6 Leeds.
Good Special teams play from the Vikings meant Leeds had to punt, leaving Newcastle with the ball in Leeds territory, successive first downs from Matthew Hall followed by successive sacks from Scott Campbell left the Vikings with a 35 Yard Field Goal converted by Rookie Anthony Sowerby for a 9-8 lead to Newcastle.
Leeds punted on the next drive leaving the Vikings on their own 14 yard line.
Successive offensive penalties, a recovered fumble and a punt that went over the kickers head resulting in a safety giving Leeds the lead again at 10-9.
The scrappy play continued on both sides of the ball until Leeds completed a 45 yard pass from Christopher Winrow to Robin Oakley with the 2PAT good, taking the half time score 17-9 Leeds.
The Vikings came out of the blocks immediately with a run dominated drive ending with Matthew Hall scoring from 20 yards out, the 2PAT was stopped by Fergus o’Neill.
Leeds didn’t help themselves when they fumbled the ensuing kick-off to give Newcastle possession at their own 29.
Again the Vikings went to the ground and made the yardage, QB Matt Long scoring and completing the 2PAT to Matt Caley to make the score 23-17 Vikings.
Leeds went to the air and after a couple of incompletions QB Winrow was intercepted by Robbie Brumpton who returned the ball all the way for TD, PAT was good for 30-17 lead to Newcastle.
Leeds failed to move the ball on their next drive – the Vikings continued to grind out yards on the ground again Matt Long scoring from close in – the 2PAT was run in by Matthew Hall for 38-17.
Matt Caley playing his first game this season after a serious shoulder injury scored the final Vikings TD.
Leeds defence got on the score sheet with Nick Whitehead intercepting a pass to make the final score: Newcastle Vikings 44 Leeds Bobcats 23
Both teams will meet again on August 17th in a return tie at Leeds
Offence – Iain Heron Stamp
Defence– Connor Joyce
Special teams– Anthony Sowerby
Team – Matthew Carney