The final regular season action of the year for the HNC was played at the fantastic facilities provided by the Clyde Comets. Courtesy meals, balcony views of the pitches and an onsite bar were on offer as the rookie squad would look to clinch their playoff spot in an all-or-nothing showdown with the Carnegie Renegades. Elsewhere, the Paisley Spartans were chasing their first win of the year, and the Glasgow Hornets would look to go undefeated and ensure that the Northern Playoffs would be coming to Glasgow.
The Renegades turned up with a small squad but put up a big score on the Paisley Spartans. With 6 players, the Renegades would play some iron-man football throughout the day as they bid for a playoff spot. Ross Dawkins had a lethal performance, throwing for 7 TDs and no interceptions. Former Kirkcaldy Bull John Guthrie and Ross McLean scored three times each in a fine showing. For the Spartans, Mark Peberdy found Roberto Cann for the Spartans only score of the game. The game-ball goes to Stuart Anderson, who was deadly on both sides of the ball. His 2 TDs, 2 interceptions and 1 sack set the Renegades up well for the day.
In the rematch between the two squads, the Renegades approached the game with largely the same idea, ensuring they used up as much of the clock as possible. Nicky Farrell was playing in place of the absent Alan Young for the second game-day in a row and put in an awesome performance, as he hit Callum Bell for a length-of-the-field score on the first drive of the game. What made this scoreline more lopsided than the 45-6 win the Hornets had earlier in the year was the opportunities seized by the Hornets defence, as they picked up 5 interceptions. Cameron Shaw and Andrew Gibson started the onslaught early with 3 interceptions between them in the first half; Cameron grabbing two of his own and returning one for a pick six. The deadly duo of Grant McLennan and Julian Holburn-White proved too much for the Renegades defence as they scored multiple TDs each and added an interception each on defence. Tommy Grouchey and the debuting Zohaib Ali added the other TDs for the Hornets. The highlight performance for the Renegades was the defensive play of Stuart Anderson, who snagged three wayward passes for interceptions. Our game-ball goes to Cameron Shaw for his excellent defensive performance.
The Comets themselves needed 2 wins on the day to book their spot in the playoffs, and they couldn’t have wished for a better start as their offence flexed their muscles against the Spartans. Martin McLintock scored 7 TDs, finding Fabio Murturano, Ryan McCluskey, Andrew Bruce and David Pasnik for a score each. However it was Bud McFerren‘s 4 TD performance that caught out eye, and earned Bud the game-ball.
In the highlight match-up of the day, the Comets would defeat the Renegades by a single point in a game with an unbelievable amount of drama involved. After losing a player due to injury, the Renegades were down to 5, while the Comets boasted plenty of talent in their midst. The Game was a tense affair, with the score deadlocked at 6-6 through much of the game. The Comets repeatedly drove the ball within touching distance of the endzone, but a stirring defensive display from the Renegades made it feel like a miracle might be on the cards.
A game-breaking score from Bud McFerren and XP from the sure-handed David Pasnik looked to give the Comets a playoff-clinching victory, however the Renegades would not be deterred. A long completion took the Renegades into striking distance, where Ross Dawkins would find John Guthrie for the tough catch over the middle on 4th down. After a contact penalty on the score, the Renegades courageously elected to go for the 2 point conversion from the 6 yard line. The attempt failed however, and the Comets seemed to have secured the win. Suddenly, the tide shifted. As the Comets began to drive, and a tipped ball found its way into the hands of Ross Dawkins inside the two minute warning and inside the Comets’ half, giving the Renegades the chance to grab the unlikely victory.
A fantastic defensive stand from the Comets thwarted any chance of the Renegades making the playoffs, as their option game was nullified by Chris Lang, who was playing in heroic circumstances given his personal loss during the week. The Comets regained the ball and relied on the elusive running of Bud McFerren to clinch the victory and the play-offs for the Comets! The game-ball in this contest goes to Chris Lang. Despite it not showing in the stat-sheet, his defensive awareness snuffed out a number of opportunities for the Renegades as he applied constant pressure to the Carnegie squad’s running attack.
The Hornets secured a dominating victory over the Paisley Spartans as a number of players earned valuable playing time. Nicky Farrell spread the ball around to the usual suspects, but other Hornets stepped up to score, such as William McNab (2 TDs, 1 XP), Zohaib Ali (1 TD, 1 XP) and Tommy Grouchey (1 TD).
For the Spartans, Brian Sheldon benefited from a breakdown in communication from the Hornets defence for the consolation score. The Spartans put in a much improved performance from their first meeting with the Hornets. Players such as Jon Keys, Roberto Cann and Kenneth Melville put in excellent showings throughout the day for the Spartans. Nicky Farrell ran in an additional 2 scores on top of his 9 passing TDs, which earns him our game-ball!
In the Hornets bid for their first perfect regular season in their history, it started off in perfect fashion, as the opening Comets drive resulted in an interception by Nicky Farrell. Julian Holburn-White gave the Hornets the lead, but the Hornets began to unravel shortly after. A long completion to David Pasnik gave the Comets a chance to score, and after a TD to Ryan McCluskey and XP conversion, the Comets found themselves with an unlikely lead.
The Hornets then struggled against the quick blitz of the of the Comets and turned the ball back over. The Comets could have scored again after blown coverage by the Hornets defence, however a dropped pass meant the score would stay at 7-6 to the Comets. Nicky then began to lean on Julian Holburn-White, as the star WR went full beast mode and gave the Hornets a commanding lead going into the half. The highlight of which was the final Hail Mary pass with 1 second remaining before the interval.
The second half was far more comfortable for the Hornets, as they romped their way to a 46-7 victory in the end. Julian earns our game-ball in this contest, as the Hornets finish the season 12-0.
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