There was gridiron glee for Grangemouth Broncos as the flag football club celebrated two achievements at the weekend – successes for the club’s Broncos and Colts sides.
The Colts, in action at Livingston on Saturday, secured the eighth and final spot for the post-season Plate Competition and their success was matched, and then some by the Broncos who landed the BAFA Premier HNC League title at Grangemouth.
A post-season place at the National Finals next month was already in the bag but they needed at least one win to take the HNC League title. Two wins would give them the second place overall seeding at Finals day.
In their first game the Broncos were up against the Inverclyde Comets – a team of erratic form this season.
By half time Grangemouth led 27–6 so coach Fraser Thomson rested some of his starters and gave some of his back-ups a bit of game time. That meant the Broncos were not quite as dominant in the second half, but they still got the job done. Two touchdowns each for James Duffie and Gordon McSherry, Scott McKenzie, Jimmy Thomson and Callum Woods each with one touchdown. Mathew Ross added three extra points and Woods got two in a 47–19 win.
That win gave them the BAFA Premier HNC title, and top seeds spot for the North of England and Scotland region. Self-proclaimed “Kings of the North”.
Their second game of the day against old rivals, the Aberdeen Oilcats would give the Brocnos a helping hand in next month’s National Finals with a seeded spot.
It has been five years since the Broncos beat Aberdeen twice in the one league season, so they knew the task ahead of them.
The task got even harder when the Oilcats intercepted the first pass from McKenzie leading to an early deficit. But the Broncos stayed calm, stuck to their game plan and worked themselves into a 19–7 half time lead. Starting with the ball in the second half Grangemouth extended their lead immediately, and while the Oilcats got a couple of scores, the Broncos were matching them.
Three touchdowns from Ally Mundie, two from Callum Woods and one from Jimmy Thomson, plus an extra point conversion from Thomson and a rare extra point interception return for a two point score from Callum Woods, all led to a comfortable 40–19 victory.
With the two wins on the day the Broncos finished the regular season with 14 wins and one loss. That means they go into the National Finals in Manchester next month as second seeds overall.
Fresh from ending the unbeaten run of the league leaders – the Glasgow Killer Bees – the Colts met the second-placed Midlothian Sabertooth side.
This game started in heavy rain, but both teams coped fairly well. The Sabers got on the scoresheet first, but the Colts responded immediately. The first half continued to ebb and flow until close to half time when the Sabers moved two scores in front.
It looked like this game was going to continue the recent pattern, however, whatever was said in the half time talk by head coach Fraser Thomson, worked.
The Colts defence were outstanding and continually stopped the Sabers building on their lead. That seemed to inspire the offence. So while the Sabers failed to score in the second half the Colts clawed back and surpassed the deficit with a risky two point conversion and a 28–27 win.
The first part of the job was in the bag, but they then had to beat the West Lothian Chargers. The Colts have never lost to the Chargers, but with a few bodies missing the Colts were a little nervous about facing an improving team.
However the Colts won 26–6 with the West Lothian hosts unable to cross into Grangemouth territory until well into the second half.
Kristopher Walker was the Colts’ top scorer on the day, but only just, from John Heron. Both had three touchdowns, but Walker also scored a one point and a two point conversion. James Duffie accumulated an impressive six sacks in the two games.
After the games were over, it was a nervous wait for the Colts as they watched results come in from the five Division One leagues in England. When all of Saturday’s results were confirmed so too were the Colts – in the eighth and final spot for the Plate qualification, and they held on through Sunday to qualify for Manchester.