Yet another tour for the Cowboys flag team saw them travel the short distance to Glasgow, Scotland to compete in the Flagging New Year III tournament. 24 teams from the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Denmark and Austria competed, giving the competition a true international flavour. The team travelled over on Friday, with the group stages of the competition played on Saturday and the placing matches played on Sunday, before returning home on Monday.
Saturday (Group Games) – first up for the Cowboys was Carnegie Flag Football, predicted as being a tight match by Flag Football World. And so it would prove to be, with the Cowboys coming from 7-19 down to win 20-19. The defence was slow to start, but two crucial forced turnovers and good performances from Thomas Pollock and Ryan McKenna in the 2nd half set the platform for the offense to get the job done.
Next up was the Reckless Russians. An unknown team to the ‘Boys proved difficult to break down during the game, with the ‘Boys losing 14-20 on the last play of the game. Up stepped Jamie Wilson, who caught arguably the catch of the tournament, in the end zone to tie the game. The 1 XP was unfortunately missed and the game finished a draw, two good results nonetheless that spurred the team on the rest of the day.
Following lunch, the team took on the UK champions, the Baker Street Buttonhookers. An opponent that was always going to be a tough ask, proved to be so with the game finishing a 12-36 loss. Valuable lessons learned from the UK champs, and a 1-1-1 record saw the Cowboys remain 3rd in the group heading into the last match of the day.
The Newcastle Blackhawks where next up in a game where the Blackhawks where expected to win. However, Peter Loughran and Conrad Smith lit up the offense as well as great defense from Andrew Herron and Lawrence Ruddock saw the Cowboys thrash the Blackhawks 34-6 and hold 3rd place moving into Sunday.
Sunday (Group and Placing Games) – another slow start on Sunday saw the Cowboys struggle against a strong Grangemouth Broncos side. Injury to Pollock on Saturday forced him to sit on the side line for the entire day. Although the team lost 0-20, a 2-2-1 record and other results in the group going in favour of the Cowboys was enough to see the team finish 3rd, 2 places higher than where they were predicted to finish, and just missing out on the quarterfinals.
Instead, the team entered the 9th place bracket where they would first face the Coventry Cougars. Niall Quinn and Christian Cowan excelled on offense in this game as well as Matthew Kelly, who put in solid performances throughout the day on his return from a serious leg injury. The ‘Boys went on to win this game 26-12, thus securing a top half finish.
Next up was the Victoria Park Panthers, a game where Jo Buchanan and the defense shone, forcing a shutout as the game finished a 13-0 win. 3 interceptions in this game for Peter Loughran would prove pivotal in his selection to the team of the tournament.
The final game of the tournament for the Cowboys was a close 12-13 loss to the Sheffield Giants. Fatigue had finally caught up with the team and they just couldn’t close out the game. This therefore meant that the Cowboys finished in 10th place, which was a great showing from the team against some high class opponents. Many thanks to the Glasgow Hornets and organisers for an excellent tournament, and to Phoenix Homes UK Ltd for sponsoring the tour.
Photo Credits: James Brewerton, Thomas Pollock, Niall Quinn, Flag Football World.
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