The weekend see’s Carnegie football send a combined team of Steelers and Renegades to Glasgow to compete in the now annual Flagging New Year tournament, this brings some of the best talent from all over Europe to one venue to compete for the prestigious title, teams travel from Ireland to the depths of mother Russia, and it just so happens that team Carnegie were drawn in the same group as these teams as well as last years FNY2 champions and BAFA leagues champions the Bakerstreet button hookers. Also in the the group are the athletic,fast and exciting Grangemouth Broncos who are a team we have faced off against many times, but we are still looking for that maiden victory, hopefully this is our time. Another team we have faced a few time the well organised Newcastle Blackhawks, this is a team that has many weapons at their disposal and Carnegie will be hard pushed to find spaces and scores here. A team there is very little information about are the Reckless Russians, rumour was that a combined team from the tough nuts and the zombies would be making the trip from the limited information we had about this team but they were coming with a few players missing for various reason but we knew they will be very well drilled and looking to make an impact on British soil. The final team Carnegie will face are the current Emerald Bowl champions the Craigavon Cowboys, with champions bowl experience under their belts, they will be no slouch.
There is no easy team or guaranteed victories in this group every game will provide another opportunity to test and make progress towards promotion from the HNC first division.
Game 1 – Carnegie Vs Craigavon Cowboys
Game one sees the best chance for Carnegie to get a victory, Coach Guthrie has made a statement with a starting defence of Allison, Anderson, Lamb, Robertson and Hill.
The game started well with early pressure from Robertson forcing loose passes from the Cowboys QB each time worthy of being picked off, until Robertson receive a dubious penalty for contact on someone resulting in 10 yards and an automatic first down, from here the defence stepped up with Anderson missing an easy interception and Robertson getting the Sack, forcing a turnover on downs from the first Cowboys drive.
Starting offence was packing a punch with Phung, Arnold, Lamb, Allison and Reid. Carnegie started with Intent a Quick pitch from Arnold to Robertson found a hole in the defence for 5 yards but then Arnold dropped the bomb to Lamb all the way down to the 5 yard line, a quick pitch for a tackle just outside the end zone and then a pitch pass to Allison for the Touch Down but then missed the Extra point, 6-0.
Cowboys got the ball and a quick hit to the wing saw Hill getting involved for the quick tackle to save yards. Then came the pass up the middle on 2nd down giving the Cowboys a 1st down, missed defensive coverages gave the Cowboys their TD and they then converted the Extra point. 6-7.
Arnold was Sacked on Carnegies second possession after getting good yards from a handoff to Allison, from there a Contact penalty on the QB gave Carnegie 10yards and an automatic first down, then another contact penalty on Lamb gave a further 10yards and 1st down, that followed up with a deep pass to Allison for the TD, The XP1 was missed after a pitch from the Reid to Arnold was deemed to be a run play of sorts.
Half time Carnegie 12 – 7 Cowboys.
The second half started with Arnold making quick pitches to Reid, Phung and Allison, driving the ball up field for the eventual touchdown and Extra point from Allison. 19-7.
It only took the cowboys 3 play to regain a score which kind of deflated Carnegie slightly, but it was missed tackle and missed coverages that cost Carnegie dear. 19-13.
The Next two Carnegie drives saw Turnovers on downs, due to the struggles faced trying to get open, between this the cowboys exploited a lack of height and pace from Carnegies defence forcing the score and XP to take it 19-20.
The first game of 2018 and Flagging new year 3 finished in defeat for the Carnegie outfit, the toughest test of the day is still to come as the team face off against the BAFA Champions 2017 Baker Street ButtonHookers
Game 2 – Carnegie Vs Baker Street ButtonHookers
Carnegie began this game on offence with Arnold, Lamb, Reid, Robertson and Phung, this is a game that Carnegie would use as a learning marker to see where they stood in relation to the best of British football.
The first drive of the game saw Carnegie move the ball with short to medium passes all having success, before finally allowing Arnold to find Robertson for the short trip to the end zone after crossing the field laterally to avoid tackles. With the Extra point being scored by Lamb off the Arnold pass, this kick started the game for Carnegie and a great 7-0 lead on the opening drive.
Hookers took the ball and faced the Carnegie defence of Reid, Lamb, Anderson, Spurling-McGowan and Hill. Hill making the first two tackles of the game. With the ball being thrown deep on the second pass, second down for the hookers saw them throw over Lamb to bring the TD score back, they went for 2 on the XP and successfully connected taking a 7-8 lead.
Next Carnegie drive saw Arnold. Pass to Phung who made the miraculous fingertip grab to make 8 yards gain. Progress was steady with Lamb making 8 yards as well, then another pass to Phung took another first down from the half. Arnold bombed one deep for Lamb to catch and be tackled 2 yards from the endzone, this was made up on the following play with a quick pitch for the score and the XP also scored by Lamb. 14-8.
The ensuing drive from the Hookers saw them get first down on the very first drive with missed tackles being made up for with Hill making the covering tackle, Hookers went deep on the very next play with Reid making the covering challenge by eventually turning his head to see the ball and avoid the pass interference call. The next sequence of events had to be seen to be believed, with Hill making a further couple tackles, before being flagged for a supposed push in the back which from spectating seemed very soft, but then the Hookers were allied for a false start ending the half with Carnegie holding a slender 14-8 lead.
The second half began with the ButtonHookers on offence and quickly got the TD that coupled with the XP gave them a 14-15 lead.
Carnegie couldn’t get into flow of the game making small gains but eventually being held to 4 drives and out. The defence however was showing sings of improvement with everyone starting to read the QB and the routes with Hill and Heather making good tackles and even Anderson batting the ball away, but the quality of the opposition shone through with their ability to create a score from seemingly nothing, although they did miss the XP giving them a 14-21 lead going into the final minutes of the game.
Carnegie never stopped or gave in they continued to push the game and got the first down within the first two drives of the final plays, and with Arnold connecting with Robertson for the TD gave the Hookers a scare, unfortunately they couldn’t convert the 2XP and eventually lost 20-21 a very respectable result, hopefully showing signs of things to come.
Game 3 – Carnegie Vs Grangemouth Broncos
This was a match up where both team knew each other very well, and each time they have met the broncos have come out on top. Helped in many parts by the depth of talent the Broncos have with having GB players and Chieftans players alike they are a very tough team.
It was a match up where Carnegie were never in control, they went from riding the high of the previous game to having the lowest point of the day. The offence couldn’t click to muster any competitive drives and the defence were lacking intensity, but this was a match up where Carnegie were able to blood in some true rookies in Michelle Holborn~White (wife to the leader of the Cena-nation) and Barry Moir. Early on in the game Carnegie were on the back foot trailing by 2 scores pretty quickly and it soon became a game to learn what they needed to do to make the step to premiership team.
The second half was a much tighter affair with the Carnegie offence making roads up the field and the defence causing minor problems for the Broncos but the damage was done early in the game with the interceptions and early scores. But this didn’t deter the Carnegie outfit who kept working hard with the Rookies to eventually break through and get the score with Lamb making the decisive catch.
Final Score Carnegie 6 – 33 Broncos
Game 4 – Carnegie Vs Reckless Russians
After starting the day 0-3 the Carnegie outfit came up against the unknown Russian mob, led by Lev Petukhov of the Zombies from Moscow, this was an unknown as the team were fielding a few ringers and a depth of talent.
Defence; Anderson, Lamb, Hill, Robertson, Spurling-McGowan
The first Russian drive saw a run play, read all the way by Hill who made the tackle. 2nd down was a fumbled snap followed by a long bomb that was covered all the way by Hill, the pressure from Blitz from Robertson forced a rushed pass to create the turnover on downs.
Offence; Arnold, Anderson, Lamb, Phung, Robertson
Carnegies first drive of the game could not have started worse with a completed pass from Arnold to Anderson, followed up with a pass to Robertson who couldn’t catch the pass and deflected the ball skyward for the Russians to intercept. From the field position gained the drive began with a successful tackle by Anderson, then a missed tackle by the same player to allow the Russians to score and take a 0-6 lead.
On the following possession, Carnegie fared much better, making steady progress getting the first down in three possessions and then moving a further three possessions up the field before a lapse I concentration allowed the Russians to get another interception, from this the Russian went deep an missed, and then chose to drive the ball up the fields getting to the endzone for the score and extra point giving them a 0-13 lead.
With time running out in the half Carnegie had one more drive and so Arnold dropped a bomb to Lamb who made it all the way down the side line to the 5 yards line, this was followed up with the same two players connecting for the TD and XP. 7-13 to the Russians at the half.
The second half saw Carnegie start with the ball and within two plays had already secured the first down this was followed up with some sticky plays which saw the team progress tentatively towards the goal line, for Arnold to eventually connect with Anderson for both the TD and the XP respectively, bringing the score to. 14-13 in Carnegie’s favour.
The Russians moved the ball quickly up the field to regain the advantage with a quick score and the extras to make it 14-20.
Carnegie continued to rely on the safe hands of Anderson to get the ball moving and with Lamb making the catches stick, even when in contact. The ensuing plays both went the way of Allison who scored the TD to allow Anderson the XP giving Carnegie a 21-20 lead.
The Russians then went for a couple of deep balls with one near the end zone being deflected by Lamb who read the play all the way and the final Russian play saw the ball high in the and with an act of some deity landed in the hands of Hill who ran it all the way back the the 5 yard line only too be tackled after a slip.
With the ball back in the hands of Arnold, he devised a play that would allow Hill to get the ball into the end zone for the score from a hand off, but this was read by the Russians who swarmed on Hill, the final play of the game saw a play devised to draw every player to one side with one breaking out the other way to the open space, and that one happened to be Lamb, who had the safest hands all day to give Carnegie a 27-20 lead.
This marked Carnegies sole victory of the day, but this has created a scenario where their destiny is in their own hands going into the Sunday group and placing games. Up next the transitional Newcastle Blackhawks.
Game 5 – Carnegie Vs Newcastle Blackhawks
The effects of Saturdays games was being felt throughout the team, with players running tired and physically stiff, but this is just another reason why we play theses tournaments.
The game began with a Carnegie offence that were just not connected, running the wrong routes, not finishing their routes this culminated in the first drive being turned over on downs, there were flashes where you could see what was being attempted and sometimes with success.
The game was very defensive, with both teams making stops at the line or forcing turnovers, not a very good advert for football or an exciting game to watch the first half ended 0-0.
The second half was not much better with both teams forcing turnovers yet a gain, but then finally, Team Carnegie made the break through with Purves using his sizeable frame to turn the corner and poke the ball into the endzone to break the deadlock, the XP was dropped so Carnegie took a slender 6-0 lead into the final 2 minutes of the game, this must have sparked the black hawks into action as on the very next drive they moved the ball to the half, then threw a long ball over the Carnegie defence for the score, the XP was converted under pressure . 7-6 , fifteen seconds left on the clock Carnegie had no choice but to go long for the win, unfortunately they fell short.
Carnegie 6 – 7 Blackhawks.
This result means Carnegie finished their group in the bottom spot, setting up a game with Clyde comets.
The group section saw some really good games, with the only real blow out being at the hands of the Broncos, against everyone else. It was all 1 point losses. And that sole victory against the Russians, There are many positives to take away and plenty food for thought for Coach Guthrie to ponder going forward with the development of this raw but mildly talented team.
21st to 24th Playoff Game 1 – Carnegie Vs Clyde Comets
In the second game of the day Carnegie came up against a familiar foe, the Clyde Comets, Carnegie were playing for pride as this game was for placing positions 21-24.
Carnegie went into the game looking to make a better start than their first game of the Sunday, this couldn’t have been any different, with the first play of the drive being a missed catch, but then it happened, Arnold played a pass of=ver the top of the defence for Lamb to pick out the air, and with a nimble switch of his hips he started making tacks to the endzone for the score, unfortunately the XP wasn’t converted, 6-0.
The comets answered back with constant drags across the middle making safe but constant yardage up the field to punch it home for the score, and converted the XP. 6-7.
Carnegie showed great patience and methodically drove up the field until the. Pitch option play from Anderson to Arnold, allowed the player to make strides up the field faking passes and making it to the endzone for a ver well worked score, the XP was converted.
The second half began with the defence needing to hold strong and prevent any progression from the comets, unfortunately the Drag play got the comets to a position where they were able to make a deep pass that was brought in and taken to the house for the score, the XP was batted down 13-13, from here though Carnegie took control of the game with another methodical drive of Arnolds, pitching the ball to Spurling-McGowan who made steady progress gaining 5/6 yards each time, which got the team up to the 2 yard line where Arnold found Lamb again for both the TD and the XP giving Carnegie a 20-13 lead, the Comets were the stopped on the next series of downs, with the clock ticking down, Carnegie went into hurry up mode, which got them to the half, and then the long shot from Arnold to Anderson was successful but the XP could not be converted.
Carnegie 26 – 13 Comets
21st & 22nd Place Playoff – Carnegie Vs Manchester Titans.
In the match up for 21/22 placing, Carnegie would face a playoff calibre team in the Manchester titans, who boast both size and speed to make most teams feel uncomfortable, both teams have not face each other before and so this will be a great test to see where the Carnegie out fit really belongs.
Team Carnegie began this game on offence and were showing signs of success with the ball moving up the field using plays to suit their style and their personnel, with Allison getting some good drives and making decent yardage, even though they couldn’t convert that to a score. Carnegies defence stepped up to the plate, causing some issues for the Titans offence and with some key flag pulls and some key bat downs. Even though there were some great defensive efforts the titans were able to take advantage of some poor Carnegie flag pulling gaining the yards and even splitting coverage to sneak the ball into the endzone for the first score of the game, but they missed the XP and took a 0-6 lead.
Carnegie were patient and using some different looks were able to move the ball more freely, and drove down the field to the 4 yard line, and In stepped Arnold to receive the pass from Anderson and split two defenders for the score, he sat out the impending XP, which was a pass straight down the middle from Anderson to Phung, 7-6.
Half time came and Carnegie regrouped for a run at the Titans in the second half, unfortunately that never materialised and the offence could barely get the ball moving and on a few of the drives were able to break the half for a new set of downs but couldn’t find that killer blow, and Titans were able to find the holes in the defence to make moves up the field, and even punch it in to regain the lead and even missed the XP, 7-12.
The Carnegie outfit couldn’t muster enough of a drive to trouble the Titans and barely got out of their own half but were still able to find the holes and move the ball but the Titans defence stood strong and make the crucial flag pulls to prevent further damage being caused, this allowed the titans to regain possession with time ticking down were able to create a drive that saw them at the Carnegie 5 yard line with seconds to go, they created an play that involved getting behind the Carnegie defence for the Score at the death and even took the XP, and converted it to give a flattering score line of, 7-19.
Carnegie 7 – 19 Manchester Titans.
In conclusion the weekend at Flagging New Year three gave the Carnegie outfit the chance to find areas that require immediate improvement, and areas that need to be tweaked, but overall they played at times quite well and at other time looked like they had never played a game of flag football before with some dedicated training and players turning up consistently to training they should be able to turn the corner and make the strides needed to make the step up to the next level. But the FNY3 weekend allowed the team to meet up and chat with old friends from all over Europe as well as make new ones. They team are looking forward to the start of the season and hopefully get a few more tournaments under their belts.