The Glasgow Tigers entered the 2019 season with high hopes under new Head Coach – and left their first game with their heads held high and optimism for the games ahead.
Coach Ryan McCluskey’s first game at the helm started with both defences controlling the game throughout a scoreless first few drives before the Northumberland Vikings defence put the first points on the board as they stopped the Tigers making it out their own end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead.
The Vikings came close to scoring again, but they put paid to their own drive as a number of threatening penalties turned a 1st And Goal from within the 10 to a 4th and Goal from midfield before Robb Gould intercepted Vikings QB Richie Howe on a 4th down try.
The Tigers sprung to life in the second quarter, with a well put-together drive showcasing the offence’s running and passing ability.
Good runs from Maurice Adams and QB Jig McCoy led the team down the field, before Jig hit wide receiver Dan Matthews for a passing TD from just over 30 yards out. Kicker Jason Maclean added on the extra point to make the score 7-2 to the Tigers.
Both teams failed to make it into the end zone on their ensuing drives, with the Vikings missing a field goal attempt from around 30 yards to keep the score close.
The Tigers came closest to scoring again before the half, as running back Adams broke four tackles on a pitch from the QB making it inside the Vikings 20-yard line.
A fumble just short of the end zone meant the play didn’t lead to points, and the teams headed into the half with the Tigers still leading 7-2.
The Vikings seized momentum at the start of the 3rd quarter after a huge kick return gave them a short field, starting from just 12 yards out.
Running back Johnny Mbuyi gave the Vikings the lead again just seconds after the start of the second half with a run up the middle, before the PAT made it 9-7 to the home side.
A 4th down fumble from the Tigers gave the ball back to the Vikings and they ensured points from the turnover when QB Richie Howe ran it in from two yards out. Another successful point after made it 16-7 to the Vikings.
The Tigers rallied again in the 4th, with another strong drive featuring a key third down pass to keep it alive before QB Jig McCoy scrambled for a score from six yards out.
Jason Maclean again stepped up to make it 2-for-2 on the day, and the score 14-16. The defence made it count on the next drive, as DE Sean Carney brought down the Vikings QB on 1st down before a high snap forced the Vikings even further back.
They failed to make it upfield and were forced to punt, bringing the Tigers offence back to try and take a late lead.
Unfortunately, a combination of penalties and good defensive play from the Vikings prevented the Tigers from taking the lead and despite good play again from the defence – holding the hosts to field goals from 32 and 38 yards out – the Glasgow side headed home disappointed.
Despite the result, the team left Northumberland knowing they gave last year’s division champions one of the toughest tests they’re likely to face this season and head into next weekends home opener against the Yorkshire Academy Rams with confidence.