HACL Development 24-20 Moray Tide
An hour before the Highland Bowl was a tightly fought exhibition match between a HACL development team (made up of the Black Isle Stags development team and the Charleston Academy Knights) and the newly formed Moray Tide (who will be participating in the National League in the upcoming season).
As the HACL team won the toss they started the game in control of the ball.
The first play of the game was strong as HACL Running Back, Kyle Hollyoake rushed into the opposition half for a first down. During the next set of downs HACL couldn’t capitalise on the field position and were turned over. The Moray Tide struggled to make any territory when they had the ball and it was turned over on downs after a strong defensive display from Highland based development side.
The next time HACL had possession it was again Kyle Hollyoake who made the difference by gaining great field position. He then scored a touchdown on the very next play. Te one point conversion attempt was unsuccessful but they were 6-0 ahead of the Tide.
The Tide’s offense couldn’t gain any yards in the subsequent set of downs and HACL took control of the ball. The Tide managed to hold on defense heading into the two minute warning but soon after the Highland side managed to get into the no run zone. Kyle Hollyoake then scored his second touchdown of the game after receiving a well timed pass from Quarterback Euan Crawford. The HACL squad then attempted a two point conversion but the Tide managed to fend them off. This left the score at half time 12-0 to the HACL.
After the half time break the Tide fought back with two crucial rushes by their running back Jack Durkacz to score. They then attempted a two point conversion but the defense held their ground leaving the score at 12-6.
The HACL side then completed a series of plays but in the opposition half of the field they couldn’t score leading to a turnover on downs. The Tide then took advantage of the turnover and Jack Durkacz scored his second touchdown of the day. They attempted a two point conversion but it was unsuccessful and the scores were tied at 12-12.
The home team didn’t take long to retake the lead and it was due to Kyle Hollyoake, who scored his third touchdown of the game to put the score at 18-12. They attempted a two point conversion but it was unsuccessful.
It only took two plays for the Tide to level the scores with a huge rush by Durkacz from inside his own half. The Tide then attempted a two point conversion and this time they were successful not just in the attempt but also in taking the lead.
The game tightened up after this score with HACL maintaining possession of the ball and using all of their time outs to great effect which all lead to a score on the penultimate play of the game as a result of a pass down field from Euan Crawford to his Charleston Academy Knights team mate Nathan Ross to win the game. It didn’t matter that the conversion attempt was unsuccessful. Steven Oag then stopped Jack Durkasz from adding to his tally for the day which resulted in a HACL victory.
Speaking about the game, Wildcats Head Coach Robbie Paulin commented, “This was a really good insight into how our team could potentially shape up in the National League. Although the Moray Tide are a new team, they have athletic players and I can safely say they have a very good Head Coach in Dave Ronald. Our development team from the Community League matched up fantastically well against the Tide and I’m looking forward to seeing how this will progress as we bring together the Youth Wildcats with players from not just the Knights and Stags, but from all of the HACL teams.”
Article by Tom Green