Yorkshire Rams 0 Northumberland Vikings 27
The Rams suffered a disappointing third straight defeat to damage hopes of a play-off place in NFC1 North.
Division leaders the Northumberland Vikings completed a season sweep of the Rams as Eric Poindexter threw for three touchdowns, two to Diira Ejibe, and ran for another while the Tynesiders’ defence secured a shut-out at John Charles Stadium for the second year running.
The Rams received the ball first and Tom White’s diving catch helped set up a first down, but the drive stalled short of halfway.
The Vikings drove into field goal range only to be foiled by a bad snap, but a short Rams punt set up similar field position and this time Poindexter hit Ejibe for a long touchdown. The extra point was blocked.
Frank Brier, a key man in the Vikings’ 34-28 win in Newcastle a fortnight previously, was next on the scoresheet from another long Poindexter pass and Josh Penny this time converted.
Tyler Broad, left, produced some trademark brilliance to prevent another touchdown and Dan Haywood looked to spark the Rams into life when, punting on fourth and five in his own half, he corralled a high snap and scrambled brilliantly for a first down.
Stewart Hegarty‘s strip-sack of Poindexter, with Eoin Byrne recovering the loose ball, offered further encouragement as the Rams sought a way back into the game.
But when Ejibe was controversially awarded a third touchdown on the stroke of half-time despite appearing to push off against cornerback James Lewsley, the Rams faced a 20-0 deficit and a desperate fight to keep the season alive.
There were signs of life on offence in the second half, with Christian Davies catching a deep bomb from Ben Green while Spencer Whybrow and Faheem Hasan also came up with some fine sideline catches.
But five Vikings interceptions, three of them for
stand-out safety Conor Joyce, snuffed out any hope of a comeback. Poindexter, right, drove in the final nail with a running touchdown, with Penny’s conversion making it 27-0.
The Rams now know they must get back on track in two weeks time against local rivals the Leeds Bobcats, and realistically will need to win the season’s four remaining games to get into the play-offs and retain any hope of playing Premiership football next season.