2019

Tigers Tamed in Roughnecks' Final Home Game of the Season

Looking to bed into a new home field against the Tigers, we would take the field at Woodside hoping to keep our hopes of finishing 3rd in the division alive with a win, and keen to hit the ground running #6 RB Lewis Hughes set right to it.

Having won the toss Glasgow opted to receive the ball and following a quick 4-and-out (including an attempted fake punt) the Roughnecks offence took to the field and almost immediately would find the endzone. The aforementioned running back would find a chasm in the lefthand side of his offensive line before dancing 30 yards through the Tigers’ backfield, and a PAT would make it 7 - 0 Roughnecks.

Despite looking strong on defence too in the early stages of the game, the Tigers would be the next to find the scoreboard as a long pass down the sideline would set up the Tigers in the Redzone. 3 plays later, including an impressive interception potentially erroneously overturned by the side judge the Tigers would be forced to settle for a field goal as the defence refused to be beaten both on the ground and through the air. That would continue all day, as the Roughnecks defence would get off the field again and again, either forcing turnovers or quick punts to allow the offence to get back to work.

With both teams often running the ball, the first half would draw to a close quickly however not before the two Breen brothers would hook up to extend the Roughnecks’ lead to 10 points. Provided with short field by #20 Darren Henderson and #22 Gamu Mukuredzi forcing and recovering a fumble on a Tigers’ punt return; #1 WR Sean would then get himself open in the back of the endzone, and given all day by the offensive line #16 QB Chris found him with a lovely weighted pass.

The second half would continue in a similar vein to the first, with again the Roughnecks offence would move the ball, and the defence would get off the field. The next score of the game would come through the returning #35 RB Dave Obatolu who had powered the offence into scoring position for most of the proceeding drive, before finding the endzone twice, once for six points, and a second time - this time untouched - for 2 more points; 21 - 3 Roughnecks. Defensively it was more of the same, with multiple turnovers, #85 LB Rob Hayes and #20 DB Darren Henderson would get interceptions, #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi would pick up a fumble on kick-off but the play would be whistled dead before he could reach the endzone. #56 LB Chris Adam and #95 DL Winston Ojei would also come up with fumble recoveries, forced by Darren Henderson, Winston himself, and #45 Che Mueller.

The game would finish 28 - 3 however as #13 RB John Strang would find his way into the endzone to cap off a fine drive, and a fine afternoon for the Roughnecks, with the PAT sailing through the posts.

FT: Aberdeen Roughnecks 28 - 3 Glasgow Tigers

MVPs, Scorers & Turnovers

Offensive MVP: #6 RB Lewis Hughes

Lewis got the game off to a brilliant start for the Roughnecks with a quick, opening drive touchdown, and the rest of his afternoon was just as important to the offensive effort. He ran hard and didn’t give the Tigers’ defence a chance to catch its breathe.

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Defensive MVP: #45 Che Mueller

Che wouldn’t give the Tigers’ QBs or RBs any chance to get going and along with the rest of defensive line colleagues would find himself in the opposition backfield all afternoon. Che’s hard work and engine shut down the Tigers’ gameplan and any down he was not on the field his absence was sorely felt.

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MVP: #20 DB Darren Henderson

Darren had a great day on both defence and special teams. His long snaps would allow successful punts and PATs but in getting down field, set up the second Roughnecks’ TD of the day by forcing a fumble on a punt return. Hendo would force another fumble, and make a nice catch to pick off the Glasgow QB down the sideline.

Scorers

Rushing Touchdowns: #6 RB Lewis Hughes, #35 RB Dave Obatolu & #13 RB John Strang

Receiving Touchdowns: #1 WR Sean Breen, thrown by #16 QB Chris Breen

Rushing 2PAT: #35 RB Dave Obatolu

Kicking PATs: 2x #4 K Stuart Don

Turnovers

Interceptions: #20 DB Darren Henderson & #85 LB Rob Hayes

Fumble Recoveries: #56 LB Chris Adam, 2x #95 DL Winston Ojei & 2x #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi

Roughnecks Humbled on the Road

Looking to break the Pirates’ perfect season we would take to the road again with Glasgow the destination to face the East Kilbride outfit.

From the off that task immediately looked like a difficult one as the Pirates would draw first blood early on. Taking advantage of a blown defensive coverage they would go 6 - 0 up and continue to punish the usually stout Roughnecks defence quickly adding two more scores. The offence though would move the ball at times, with mistakes hurting drives which looked good. They would find paydirt in the second quarter however, as #16 QB Chris Breen found #18 WR Rhys Elmslie in the endzone, following #6 RB Lewis Hughes’ hard work on the ground throughout the drive. With neither team having converted a PAT, the score would be 18 - 6, with special mention to Jack Conn on FG block preventing three early Pirates PATs.

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Unfortunately that would be as close as it would get last Sunday afternoon as the Pirates would pull away for the remainder of the afternoon, as the bossed the Roughnecks’ defence about all over the field to the tune of 52 points.

Fulltime: Aberdeen Roughnecks 6 - 52 East Kilbride Pirates

MVPs, Scorers & Turnovers

Offensive MVP: #1 WR Sean Breen

Sean made numerous catches across the middle of the field for the offence, and kept the Roughnecks on the field, whilst giving his all to support the running and screen games by providing blocks for his peers.

Defensive MVP: #23 DB Huseyin Yildirim

Huseyin stood out on the defensive side of the ball as one of few positives. Not only did he make his first interception of the season (on a long contested catch), Huseyin also made some great tackles to slow drives and was deployed all across the defensive backfield in an assured performance.

MVP: #6 Lewis Hughes

Lewis once again ran hard on offence, and special teams this week, and not content with only moving the offence down the field, he would find himself in the defensive backfield too - covering for injuries. Unlucky not to score any points on the afternoon, Lewis will hold his head high after a strong performance across all three phases of the game.

Scorers

Touchdown: #18 WR Rhys Elmslie from #16 QB Chris Breen

Turnovers

Interceptions: #85 LB Rob Hayes & #23 DB Huseyin Yildirim

Roughnecks Send Senators Home Sombre after 56 - 0 Romp

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Looking to get back on track, we would face the Gateshead Senators on Sunday in our 7th game of the season determined to come away with the win.

Winning the coin-toss and opting to defer, the Roughnecks defence would get on and then off of the field quickly, a feat repeated nearly all day with 3 and outs followed by quick, decisive scoring drives from the offence. Finding the endzone on their first drive through #6 Lewis Hughes the offence wouldn’t look back adding another six touchdowns to their first half tally.

In no particular order for the rest of the first half touchdowns, Lewis would find the endzone twice more to equal his own personal best tally, and the Roughnecks individual single game record with 3 touchdowns, adding 4 more points to the team’s tally through two successful 2PATs. WR #18 Rhys Elmslie would haul in two touchdowns, coming down in the endzone both times having leapt above the Senators’ defensive back to secure the ball both times. WRs #3 Wako Anindo and #9 Greg Keenan would both score their first ever touchdowns, both weaving through traffic on their way into the endzone after receiving short passes from QB #16 Chris Breen who himself would total 4 throwing TDs for the day. Chris and TE #85 Rob Hayes would also combine for a 2PAT in the first half, with K #4 adding two PATs to make the score 50 - 0 to the Roughnecks at the end of the first half.

With the deficit greater than 35 points in the second half, the game would proceed under a running clock for the remainder of the game. This would mean that the 30 minutes on the clock in the remaining two quarters would only stop for an injury timeout or a team timeout. The defence would continue to stand resolute throughout, only conceding one first down, right at the end of the game, and never allowing Gateshead to gain any type of momentum. Continuing to move the ball throughout the second half, the offence would find the endzone once more as second half QB #18 Rhys Elmslie would find TE #85 in the endzone to round out the day with the scoreline at 56 - 0.

FT: Roughnecks 56 - 0 Gateshead Senators

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MVPs, Scorers and Turnovers

Offensive MVP: #6 Lewis Hughes

Hat trick hero Lewis weaved in and out of defenders giving Gateshead no chance to catch their breathe on defence. One particularly impressive run saw Lewis almost impossibly staying on his feet to set up the second half touchdown showing no mercy to stand out amongst his peers on offence.

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Defensive MVP: The Whole Defence

Everyone on defence gave their all, and only gave up one first down right as the clock hit triple zeros. The Senators could never get the ball moving, with tackles for a loss a plenty racked up by the defensive linemen, and nothing given up through the air by the defensive backs. All in all a solid performance with the Pirates coming up this Sunday.

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MVP: #16 QB Chris Breen

Chris’ excellent work saw him given the opportunity to sit out the second half having built a comfortable 50 - 0 lead in the first half alone. Chris marshalled the offence up the field making smart decisions and with crisp passes finding all of his receivers and given all day by his offensive line Chris picked the Senators defence apart.

Scorers

#6 Lewis Hughes: 3 Touchdowns, 2 2PAT
#18 Rhys Elmslie: 2 Touchdowns (+ 1 Passing Touchdown)
#85 Rob Hayes: 1 Touchdown, 1 2PAT
#9 Wako Anindo: 1 Touchdown
#3 Greg Keenan: 1 Touchdown
#4 Stuart Don: 2 PATs (Kicking)
#16 Chris Breen: 4 Passing Touchdowns, 2 Passing 2PATs

Turnovers

#73 Andy Watts: Fumble Recovery (Botched Snap/Hand-off)
#56 Chris Adam: Fumble Recovery (Forced by #72 OL Doug Pearson)

Safety proves costly in defensive clash with Rams

Last Saturday would prove to be a very frustrating outing for the Roughnecks. Playing at Harlaw Academy playing fields rather than The Rig, the Yorkshire Rams would make the trip north of the border and made it immediately apparent that they were a much improved team from the side we faced in the previous fixture.

The game would start as it would continue to go on, with both defences standing resolute, with neither offence able to get into a rhythm. Taking advantage of good field position the Rams would be awarded a safety in the first quarter, as the Roughnecks punter would accidentally take a step onto the white line at the back of the endzone before getting his kick away to make it 2 - 0 to the Yorkshire side.

The scoreboard would remain unchanged for the rest of the day with the flow of the game never changing, as both defences stood up to everything thrown at them. Both sides would have chances from field goals, although one blocked, and one finding the right upright for the Roughnecks would allow the Rams defence to hold onto their clean sheet and win the game.

FT: Aberdeen Roughnecks 0 - 2 Yorkshire Rams

A highly frustrating day at the office leads to a loss by the lowest possible score in a game of football. Much improvement required across all three phases of the game before the trip to Glasgow to face the Tigers on Sunday 9th.

Defensive MVP: Darren Henderson

Captain Darren Henderson would lead by example, making plays and tackles all day to hold the Rams offence to no points.

MVP: Phil McCall

Phil could be find breaking up runs, batting passes and making plays in the Rams backfield throughout the game. Unlucky also not to get an interception, Phil singlehandedly blew up a Rams 4th down and goal attempt to keep the score at 2 - 0 in the second half.

Roughnecks Execute Order 36-to-6 over Senators

Making the second of our three trips to England this season we were looking to restore balance to our record, return to .500, and start a long run of fixtures which will define our 2019 season with a positive result.

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With Gateshead looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat to the hands of the Northumberland Vikings last weekend, the Senators would opt to forego punting the ball on their opening offensive drive, a decision the Roughnecks defence would make them regret immediately. Linebacker #55 Phil McCall would intercept the pass from the Senators QB at the half-way line before taking off behind a wave of Red blockers, to find the endzone - a first for the defence since the 2017 season. Immediately back on the field following the PAT and kick-off the defence would again force a turnover, this time Lineman #69 Matt McCall would come up with a fumble recovery and, despite an unsuccessful lateral pass during the return (which his brother Phil would recover for him), set the offence up deep in Senators’ territory. And it wasn’t long until the offence added 6 points of their own. Quarterback #16 Chris Breen deciding his best course of action was to tuck the ball under his arm and carry it in himself. Another successful PAT later it was 14 - 0 to the Roughnecks and the match looked to be over as a contest. Although at only two scores down, no-one’s ever really gone and the Senators would begin to gain a foothold in the game, stiffening on defence and reducing their mistakes on offence meaning that the first quarter and then first half would finish at 14 - 0.

Challenged to step-up in the second period the Roughnecks offence would kick into gear finding success in moving the ball throughout the second half, but failing to add to the cushion. A change in Quarterback from the Senators would also provide a spark to the home side, as they began to grow in confidence, and only a redzone fumble recovery by Lineman #90 Ross Elrick (forced by fellow Lineman #67 Che Mueller) would stop them from reducing the deficit. Continuing to move the ball, both through the air and on the ground the offence would find pay-dirt again, this time with WR #6 Lewis Hughes carrying the ball into the endzone behind the left-tackle to finish off an impressive drive and make the score 20 - 0. The Senators offence however would again come out fighting, and made strong process down the field to score points of their own - running the ball in on third down preventing what was nearly another strong defensive stand in the shadow of our own goal posts. Phil McCall would burst through the Senators offensive line to give the selected run play no chance on the 2 point after try making the game a 14 point affair once more.

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The remainder of the game would be marred in controversy with back to back plays leading to back to back injuries to Roughnecks running backs and neither drawing a penalty. As the second injury stoppage would require an ambulance, and with concerns to the head and neck area of Running Back #80 JP Broughton there followed a lengthy delay to fourth period, one which would galvanise the Roughnecks and see any hint of a Senators comeback truly quashed. Despite some worrying scenes on Sunday, JP was discharged from hospital later on that evening to return to Aberdeen with scans revealing there had been no bones broken in the neck.

Following the restart the Roughnecks would finish with a flourish. On offence Quarterback Chris Breen would throw the ball Wide Receiver #18 Rhys Elmslie’s way, and with a beautiful toe-drag catch Rhys would haul in the catch just inside the back line of the endzone, 26 - 6. Deciding to punish the Senators for turning down the opportunity to kneel out the game amidst the injury concern to JP, the offence would successfully add on the 2PAT making the lead 22 points. But not to let the offence have all of the fun, and not to let his elder brother get all of the praise, Defensive Lineman #69 Matt McCall would catch the ball in amongst a botched QB/RB hand-off by Gateshead and find the endzone for 6 points of his own. Again opting to go for 2 points, Running Back #21 Sean McDonald would repeat his success of 4 plays earlier added his 3rd and 4th points of the afternoon to finish the scoring.

FT: Roughnecks 36 - 6 Senators

MVPs, Scorers and Turnovers:

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Offensive MVP: #6 Lewis Hughes

Lewis took the game by the scruff of the neck on Offence, running the ball with force and purpose in the second half to finish the game with 196 yards. Lewis allowed the offence to manage the clock in the second period, and his touchdown provided an unassailable cushion to guarantee the win.

Defensive MVPs: #55 Phil McCall & #69 Matt McCall

Whilst they were both in the right place at the right time to clone one another’s scoring efforts, the two brothers were inseparable for Sunday’s defensive award.

Phil got the game started but was found in the right place on more than just that occasion, stopping Senator drives in their tracks, and making tackles wherever required.

His brother Matt might have been a little risky in trying to lateral his first fumble recovery to a teammate to provide them with an opportunity to score, but Matt would be found in the Senator backfield throughout the day dragging the running back or quarter back down, before getting his just rewards at the end of the game with 6 points of his own.

MVP: #73 Andy Watts

Andy, like his defensive counterparts could be found in the Gateshead backfield to stop plays and drives, and driving the Senators backwards, but it was his efforts on offence that set him apart. Andy created huge openings in the Senator’s defence affording running lanes to allow the backs to matriculate the ball down the field early and often in the second half!

Touchdowns:

#55 Phil McCall, #16 Chris Breen, #6 Lewis Hughes, #18 Rhys Elmslie & #69 Matt McCall

2PAT:

#21 Sean McDonald (2)

PAT:

#4 Stuart Don (LS: #20 Darren Henderson, Hold: #18 Rhys Elmslie)

Interceptions:

#55 Phil McCall (Returned for TD)

Fumble Recoveries:

Matt McCall (2, One returned for TD), Ross Elrick

Roughnecks Go Lambing in Leeds on Easter Weekend

Leaving Aberdeen at 6am we were headed to Leeds for our first road game of the year against the Yorkshire Rams. Having finished 6-4 last season behind the Northumberland Vikings and Lancashire Wolverines, the Rams would be looking to get their season going with a win having been touted to be in contention for the division crown.

Having chosen to receive the opening kick-off the Rams offence struggled to get their run game going as the Roughnecks front 7 on defence swallowed up running backs and the quarter back in the backfield allowing the Roughnecks offence to take to the field and whilst a punt ended the first drive of the day they never looked back. Quarterback #16 Chris Breen would get the scoring started as he found Tight End #85 Rob Hayes in the endzone on a long pass downfield on third down; Roughnecks 7, Rams 0 with a successful PAT. A short Rams drive later would end with a botched punt snap which #27 Ross Herbert scooped up only to be stopped at the Rams 1 yard line. Running back #35 Dave Obatolu would happily then take to the field to convert the turnover into 6 points powering his way into the endzone however a blocked PAT would leave the score at 13 - 0 at the end of the 1st quarter.

Kicker #4 Stuart Don would make it 16 - 0 with a successful ~30-yard FG early in the second period, and a turnover from DB #22 Gamuchirai Mukuredzi would provide #35 Dave Obatolu another opportunity to find the endzone. This time he would receive a short pass from QB Chris Breen before taking the ball 35 yards, weaving through the Rams defence; Roughnecks 23 - 0 Rams, this time with K #23 Phil McCall tacking on the extra point. Pinning the Rams offence back from the ensuing kick-off would let the defence pin their ears back and getting pressure on the QB led to an intentional grounding penalty in the endzone, which by rule is a safety. 2 points to the defence, and a 25 - 0 lead at half time for the Roughnecks.

Determined not to give anything away in the second half, the defence continued to stand resolute forcing and recovering fumbles to get the offence back on the field and earn much needed rest on what was a sweltering Yorkshire afternoon. On one such occasion however Punt Returner #6 Lewis Hughes would ensure that rest wouldn’t be for long, almost finding the endzone on a long return only to be stopped agonisingly short, allowing #35 Dave Obatolu to complete a hat-trick in the 4th quarter again powering in from close-range. With Phil McCall having earlier added his first ever field goal to the score from ~35 yards out, Dave’s touchdown would make it 34 - 0 the PAT hold compromising the kick attempt. A final score of the game would ensure the game ended under a running-clock, with QB #18 Rhys Elmslie having to improvise with a wayward snap , forcing him to roll out of the pocket before delivering a throw to Tight End #85 Rob Hayes who rose above the Rams defence to come down in the back of the endzone. Rhys would then run in the 2PAT making the score 42 - 0 and sealing the deal on what was a very productive day for the Roughnecks.

FT: Aberdeen ROUghnecks 42 - 0 Yorkshire Rams

Following the disappointment of last weekend, it was great to be able to make amends and return to .500. We now prepare for the visit of the Northumberland Vikings to the Rig on the 5th of May.

Coach Stevenson had this to add:
"I’m immensely proud of what the guys went out there and did today. Not many had given us a chance of getting a result and to do so in the manner which we did really shows the hard-work and improvement this team strives for on a weekly basis. Credit also to my coaching team who keep working to ensure the guys remained upbeat after the tough result last week. 24 hour rule applies as always and then we move onto Northumberland.”

SCORERS, Turnovers AND MVPs

Defensive MVP: #44 DL Grant Travi

Trav really personified what we were looking for on defence yesterday with unrelenting effort, shutting down the run game early and with the help of the rest of the front 7 never let up.

Offensive MVP: #57 OL Angus Wright

All day long the offensive line gave both Quarterbacks all day to deliver dimes. Gus stood out standing strong and giving up nothing to the Rams D-Line.

MVP: #35 Dave Obatolu

Dave found pay-dirt 3 times and ran hard all day, carving through the Rams defence and carrying defenders with him.

Scorers

Touchdowns: 3x Dave Obatolu, 2x Rob Hayes

Kicking: Stuart Don (FG, PAT), Phil McCall (FG, PAT)

Turnovers

Gamu Mukuredzi INT, Ross Herbert FR, Grant Travis FR, Andy Watts FR, Matt McCall FR

Pirates Prove to be Formidable Foes in Opening Day Clash

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Whilst we have shared a field with the East Kilbride Pirates before, most of our current playing and coaching staffs would fail to remember that day back in 2014. Still donning our green uniforms back then, we hosted the Pirates for a combined scrimmage during our inaugural campaign. Needless to say the then Premiership outfit came out the better of the two sides quite comfortably but this time we were determined to show just how far we had come since that day, and that our promotion was by no means a fluke.

Gamuchirai Mukuredzi finds photographer Gail Davis during his TD return

Gamuchirai Mukuredzi finds photographer Gail Davis during his TD return

Receiving the opening kick-off of the season we would get to work on offence following a strong kick-off return just short of Pirate’s territory. Both sides would struggle to move the ball early on with the defences holding strong and forcing punts early. Following a blocked punt the field position battle would swing in the Pirates’ favour which their offence would capitalise on towards the end of the first quarter as the QB would find the endzone on a 14 yard run. The PAT would be tacked on and the lead was 7. Following that disappointment however the defence would stand tall again in the second quarter with neither team troubling the scoreboard again before the end of the half with a particularly brave goal-line stand from the Roughnecks to leave the score 7 - 0 in the Pirates’ favour.

Last season’s Rookie of the year, #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi would get the Roughnecks’ second half off to a brilliant start though, scooping up the ball following a blocked punt and finding the endzone to get the team on the board. Roughnecks 6 - 7 Pirates with the PAT failing to make it through the posts. The Roughnecks offence were steadily improving through the game, however the Pirates would extend their lead in the third quarter with another touchdown on a long QB run, PAT and a safety to make it 16 - 6 to finish the 3rd quarter.

Rob Hayes (Right) just after cutting the deficit with his receiving touchdown

Rob Hayes (Right) just after cutting the deficit with his receiving touchdown

The Pirates’ QB would find the endzone another time before the end of the game to make it 23 - 6 but the Roughnecks offence would strike back. Quarterback #16 Chris Breen would find #85 TE Rob Hayes in the back of the endzone with a 17 yard pass to reduce the defecit to 11 points with the 2PAT coming up short. A failed onside kick attempt would gift the Pirates great field position and allow them to salt away much of the remaining time in the game - something we could ill afford as the game drew to a close 23 - 12 to the Pirates.

FT: Aberdeen ROughnecks 12 - 23 East Kilbride Pirates

All in all a disappointing day for the Roughnecks as a few opportunities were allowed to slip through our fingers, but congratulations to the Pirates who’s defence stood resolute throughout. We now look to our next game, this Saturday against the Yorkshire Rams.

Head Coach Bryce Stevenson speaks with the Head Referee ahead of the game

Head Coach Bryce Stevenson speaks with the Head Referee ahead of the game

Head Coach Bryce Stevenson added: “Sunday's game was a frustrating one to say the least. I feel we didn't capatalise on opportunities we provided for ourselves and EKP took advantage of theirs. It's dissapointing but I know this team will move on from this result and we will ensure we do everything right to put the players in the best position to succeed. We have a short week against the Yorkshire Rams this week playing away on Saturday evening but I know the players are keen to ensure we move to .500.”

Ruari Collinson, our Offensive Co-ordinator, echoed those sentiments as a whole but added that he is keen to draw on the positives from Sunday’s game and focus on improving consistency going into our clash with the Rams.

MVPs and Scorers

Offensive MVP: #85 TE Rob Hayes

Rob played well all day on Sunday, staying in to block in the run game and coming away with the Touchdown reception on a beautiful over the shoulder catch in the back of the endzone.

Defensive MVP: #4 CB Stuart Don

Stuart was great in pass coverage all day, allowing no receptions on balls thrown his way, and funnelled the run back inside well.

Match MVP: #95 DL Winston Ojei

Winston’s showed great discipline in rushing, and was a nightmare in the opposition back field against his former team, a few sacks and a goal-line fumble added the stats to back up a fantastic debut effort.

Touchdown Scorers:

#22 Gamuchirai Mukuredzi - Punt Return TD

#85 Rob Hayes - 17 Yard Reception TD

Photographs from the Incredible Gail Davis

Match MVP Winston Ojei tackling an East Kilbride runner from behind

Match MVP Winston Ojei tackling an East Kilbride runner from behind

Foreword on the 2019 Season from Head Coach Bryce Stevenson

Ahead of our 2019 we took the chance to speak with new head coach Bryce Stevenson on the season ahead and the preseason:

‘Being less than a week away from the regular season opener against East Kilbride Pirates I am glad of this opportunity to reflect on our preseason and look forward to our first season in Division One.

Special Teams Coordinator George Pirie in Action during the Preseason Match against the Clyde Valley Blackhawks

Special Teams Coordinator George Pirie in Action during the Preseason Match against the Clyde Valley Blackhawks

Having taken over as Head Coach on a full time basis I wanted to build on the terrific work Coach Collinson had done last year as the Interim Head Coach, working together to ensure that this team was put in the best position possible to succeed. We also brought back Coach Pirie ST Coordinator and he has also become the OL coach this year.

With the addition of Matthew Watt and Nathan Morrice - RB coach and Defensive assistant respectively - I couldn't be happier with the work ethic and knowledge these 2 coaches bring to this team. The team have responded terrifically well to the new coaches coming in and I am very excited to help them grow in their roles within the team.

Coach Ruari Collinson once again takes the reigns of the Roughnecks Offence in 2019

Coach Ruari Collinson once again takes the reigns of the Roughnecks Offence in 2019

We started the year off in January with a 3 day residential camp in Dunfermline where the guys were pushed to their limits both mentally and physically to ensure they would be able to deal with any situation they are confronted with. We took it right back to basics and the camp was a huge success for both the players and coaching staff. Camp was where the 4 Captains for the upcoming season were announced and also decided to have positional leaders to oversee all positional groups to ensure accountability was observed. The 4 Captains for this year are OL Andrew Watts, DB Darren Henderson, QB Chris Breen and MLB Robert Hayes.

Head Coach Bryce Stevenson (top) and our two preseason outings vs Clyde Valley (bottom) and the Edinburgh Wolves (right)

Head Coach Bryce Stevenson (top) and our two preseason outings vs Clyde Valley (bottom) and the Edinburgh Wolves (right)

Following on from Camp we have taken part in two organised events with Clyde Valley Blackhawks and the Edinburgh Wolves. Having played a preseason game against the Blackhawks this year it allowed both teams to give rookies their first taste of live game action and in typical Northern football it was a very physical affair with the weather doing everything it could to add to the intensity levels.

Next came a situational training session with the Edinburgh Wolves. A thoroughly enjoyable day for everyone associated with the Aberdeen Roughnecks and gave an insight into what is required to taking the next step and we certainly gained a lot from the session.

I'd like to thank both Coach Yates of Clyde Valley and Coach Edmonston of Edinburgh for their help in allowing both events to happen and wish them every success in their campaigns this year.

This is by far going to be this teams toughest test to date but we wouldn't want it any other way. I believe that the team are ready to take on Division One and hit our primary goal which is to establish ourselves this year in Division One. There will be adversity facing us on occasion this year however with the preseason we have had and the mentality that this team carries I have absolutely no concerns about our mental toughness and strength to face these problems.

Coaches Nathan Morrice (left) and Matthew Watt (right), both join the Roughnecks Coaching Staff for the 2019

Coaches Nathan Morrice (left) and Matthew Watt (right), both join the Roughnecks Coaching Staff for the 2019

The coaching staff are doing everything possible every single day to ensure that the players are given the best opportunity to succeed because they deserve it.

Our first three fixtures see us at home to East Kilbride Pirates and Northumberland Vikings with a long away day to Yorkshire Rams all teams who will have the desire to be top of the North when it's all done. This provides us with a massive opportunity to test ourselves against some of the most ambitious teams in the country and we want to come out of all 3 games with positive results.

I'm very much looking forward to being on the sideline this year and seeing the familiar faces spectating and cheering the team on. A lot of our followers have been around the team since the beginning of the Aberdeen Roughnecks and I am looking forward to seeing them cheering us on at the highest level this team has competed at to date.

Finally I'm incredibly proud of the way each player has prepared themselves both individually and as a collective team. And I'm very grateful to be the Head Coach of the hardest working team in football.’

"A great player has the ability to win any game, but a great team has the ability to win every game."