On Saturday 18th September the Bucs Junior Kitted team had an early get up to travel down to the Sixways Stadium in Worcester for the National Finals.
This was the Bucs third consecutive appearance at the National Finals and it was the third consecutive playoff game against the current National Champions the Clyde Valley Falcons.
It would be the Falcons that would start with the ball and with some solid tackling from the defense the Bucs soon found themselves on Offense. However the Falcons were quick to apply pressure and a fumbled Bucs snap recovered by the Falcons left the Bucs defending on their own 2 yard line. It took Clyde Valley just the one play to get the score and then get the 1 point conversion leaving the score at 7 - 0 to the Falcons.
The Bucs restarted with the ball but the Falcons defense was quick to stop running backs Dale and Holt for short or no gains, and the Bucs soon found themselves back on Defense. Clyde Valley were playing with confidence and gaining yards and soon found themselves in the Endzone for the second time but the conversion was unsuccessful making the score to 13 - 0 to the Falcons. With the Bucs needing a confident booster, running back Matt Holt broke off for a huge 26 yard run before being tackled, Offensive Captain and QB Rach Hull then passed to the Bucs leading Wide Receiver Tom Salerno for a nice ten yard gain. However after a very questionable fumble by Hull the Falcons recovered the ball to kill the Bucs momentum.
With some strong running from the Falcons the Bucs found themselves defending their goal-line again, and a short pass put the Falcons up 19 - 0 to end the half.
The second half saw the Bucs start with the ball and although the Bucs were making short gains the Falcons ended the drive by sacking QB Hull. As the Bucs defense took the field this time they were out to prove something, and some great pressure from Nose Tackle David Dale led to the Falcons QB throwing an arant pass which Linebacker Ben Shedwick intercepted and ran it back 8 yards for a Touchdown and the Bucs first points of the game. The conversion was no good making the score 19 - 6 to the Falcons.
As the Falcons Offense took the field again, the Bucs Defense was now looking more like their usual aggressive unit and weren't letting the Falcons get far, and as a Falcons receiver caught the ball, Linebacker Shedwick came in with a thundering hit to jar the ball loose and for fellow team mate Luke Hartley to recover the fumble and return it for 6 yards stepping out of bounds. So the Bucs Offense took the field but any momentum that they had been given was soon swallowed up by the Falcons Defense who intercepted a Hull pass and returned it for a score to make it 25 - 6.
As Hull took to the field again, she soon found herself under more pressure taking another heavy hit for the sack, but this as always didn't deter her and she completed the set of passes to Shedwick and also to veteran running back Alex Williams. The drive though ended up just short and the Falcons regained the ball at their own 5 yard line. The Bucs defense was still on top form though led by Captain Luke Haig Moir who was leading the unit in tackles, soon ended the drive to regain possession.
The next Bucs play was definitely the best play of the game with Hull passing to Williams who then was ruthless with his running and broke off several tackles to run 35 yards before being ankle tapped to the ground, however the Bucs still couldn't find a way past the strong Falcons Defense and after another change in possession the full time whistle blew to leave the Falcons victorious over the Bucs for the 3rd year running leaving the final score 25 - 6.
After the game Head Coach Ian Nicolson said "The players and the coaches are all disappointed that we have lost to a very strong Clyde Valley team again, but we must look at what we have achieved this season with a team mainly rookies. At the start of this year I wasn't sure if we would even have a team to compete in the league, but the new players came and all the team have worked so hard that I am so proud of each and every one of them."
The Bucs now will wind down their season with another 7 weeks left before they finish and then meet up in December for the end of season presentation.
If you would like to get involved with the Bucs then email
or contact Club Manager Ian Nicolson on 07787 530748