Derby Braves started their BUCS Premier North season with a slI’m 19-28 defeat at home defending national champions Stirling Clansmen.
The Braves looked in trouble early on. Stirling’s running back, Thomas Campbell, made a number of significant gains including a 30-yard run leading to the first touchdown.
Despite leveling the game at 7-7 through a Bobby Walker touchdown, it looked as if the match had been taken out of Derby’s hands when Stirling scored twice more, leaving the Braves 7-21 down at the halfway mark.
However, true to their name Braves made a real fist of it after it looked like Stirling had run off into the wintry sunset. Quarterback Troy Jackson used his powerful arm in combination with some incisive running from running back Curtis Cannon to make quick gains, bringing about an early score in the third quarter.
The Braves’ defence looked much improved after half time and forced a fumble on the 50-yard line which they pounced on and ran clean through to score touchdown making it 19-21.
The Braves elected to go for the touchdown which would have leveled the score but they failed to capitalise leaving them with work still to do.
It took until the dying embers for the Clansmen to clamber to victory with final touchdown from the excellent Thomas Campbell after a prolonged period of Braves pressure.
The Braves’ caoch, Noel Cassar, said: “I thought the defence played really well, the offence needs a bit of work but it also made good yards. They are national champions but it makes no odds, it‘s 11 versus 11. We played really well and have to build on it now.
“We will analyse Durham‘s game against Loughborough today and we’ll work on that and see how we go.“
BY LOUIS MITCHELL (@MitchellinMan98) AND BEN BOOTH (@BenBoothPhoto)