Gateshead Senators 28 Yorkshire Rams 47
The Rams brought the curtain down on a disappointing 6-4 season with a topsy-turvy win over the Gateshead Senators at Monkton Stadium on Sunday.
Four unanswered touchdowns in the first quarter gave way to a mid-game slump as the Rams were pegged back to 27-20, before pulling away again to win 47-28.
Elliott Jackson, Tyler Broad and Keimar Stuart scored two touchdowns each while long-serving pair Lysander Code and Tom White played their final games in black and gold – the latter retiring while Code, an emotional leader and defensive tone-setter over the years, moves to London to further his teaching career.
The match was always likely to have an end-of-season feeling, with the Rams eliminated from play-off contention by the Lancashire Wolverines seven days earlier and Gateshead long since safe from relegation.
But the Rams came out firing and Jackson, the team’s designated ‘One to Watch‘ for the day, started the scoring with an early touchdown run.
TOUCHDOWN RAMS!#OneToWatch #27 Elliot Jackson runs outside and into the endzone!
PAT is blocked
6-0 Rams pic.twitter.com/xOvEKZu6g7
— Yorkshire Rams (@Yorkshire_Rams) August 12, 2018
Broad looked set to dominate the afternoon when he scored on an interception return on Gateshead’s first offensive play and added a punt return score shortly afterwards.
And when a long catch-and-run by Stuart made it 27-0 the Rams were in upbeat mood on the sideline, dampened only slightly by the first of three touchdowns for the Senators’ Cameron Grant.
Dan Hayward connected with Broad on a fake punt to keep a second-quarter drive going, but both Jackson and Stuart saw long touchdown runs nullified by holding penalties. Chris Lawton’s interception return was inadvertently ended by team-mate and ex-Senator Matt Pardoe as the score remained 27-7 at the half.
Cameron Grant scored twice more to cut the gap to seven as the comeback reached ominous proportions – and it could have been worse, with a Senators field goal disallowed for the hosts having 12 men on the field before the second attempt was missed.
More Rams special teams trickery brought some breathing space as Haywood found Chris Peel for a touchdown. Stuart then brilliantly swooped on a Ben Green pass for the pair’s second touchdown connection, with Jeff Quartey adding his fifth extra point from six attempts.
Jackson rounded off the Rams scoring with long run, with Broad for once stopped in his tracks on the two-point attempt.
Gateshead pulled another touchdown back and attempted an onside kick but the ball was safely recovered by wide receiver White. The 50-point mark proved elusive, with Broad just unable to corral Green’s long pass before time ran out.
Offensive MVP: Ben Green
Defensive MVP: Charlie Gough
Coaches’ MVPs: Tom White and Lysander Code
Ram of the Day: Tyler Broad, right