Northumberland Vikings 34 Yorkshire Rams 28
A miserable first quarter led to a frustrating defeat in Newcastle as the Rams were unable to overturn a 21-0 deficit.
A strong running performance led by Chris Peel, who scored a hat-trick of touchdowns, and Elliott Jackson raised hopes of a stunning comeback by the Rams.
But ultimately a series of mistakes proved decisive and the team fell to a 3-2 record in NFC1 North.
There was a touching moment pre-match as Rams captain Lysander Code was presented with a bunch of flowers following the death of his mother ahead of our previous game against the Lancashire Wolverines.
Captains are out and a nice gesture from the Vikings as they present flowers to #52 Lysander Code after he lost his mum last week.
Rams will kickoff pic.twitter.com/lFhqS1T1pZ
— Yorkshire Rams (@Yorkshire_Rams) June 17, 2018
The Rams defence quickly snuffed out the opening Vikings drive but things soon turned sour, with Frank Brier’s long touchdown catch followed by a Conor Joyce pick-six to give the hosts a 14-0 lead.
Jonny Mbuyi added a third score with a long run but back-to-back interceptions from Tyler Broad – the first a stunning one-handed reach with the young safety gathering the ball in as he fell to earth – sparked a much-improved second quarter.
Newcastle still led 21-0 at the half but the Rams were quick to make inroads after the resumption, Jackson with a 55-yard run to set up a short-range touchdown for the prolific Peel. Keimar Stuart‘s two-point conversion cut the deficit to 21-8.
A punt blocked and recovered by running back Josh Green came to nothing and the Vikings added another score after Stuart rashly attempted to recreate his completion out of a thwarted run play against the West Coast Trojans last season but this time gifted a pick-six to Dick Carr.
Jackson‘s, right, 32-yard score on fourth and five, and another Stuart conversion, gave the Rams hope at 27-16 but Diira Ejibe’s score, set up by a long catch from Brier, stretched the lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Vikings linebacker Scott Kersey was ejected after a late hit to the head of and after a long delay, Peel rumbled in for another touchdown.
His third followed after Christian Davies‘ deep catch was initially ruled a touchdown but the side judge’s verdict was over-ruled, leaving Peel to punch it in from close range.
That cut the margin to six but with only two minutes remaining, the Vikings recovered an attempted Rams onside kick and ran out the clock to leave head coach David Pawson and his team to rue a frustrating afternoon.
Offensive MVP: Elliot Jackson
Defensive MVP: Tyler Broad
Coaches’ MVP: Chris Peel
Ram of the Day: Charlie Gough