With a two game win streak under their belts, the Merseyside Nighthawks played their penultimate game of the 2018 season this past weekend at home against the East Kilbride Pirates. Although the Nighthawks can finish no higher than third in the Premier North after a poor start to the season and the Pirates relegation already confirmed this game still had meaning as both teams came out gunning for the win.
East Kilbride started fastest and got off to an early 7-0 lead as they scored on their second possession of the game. Merseyside responded quickly however, as Martin Murphy scored on a 30 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7, breaking several would be tacklers and getting some solid boundary blocks from the ‘Hawks WR core of Houghton and Eager. The Nighthawks were without their starting quarterback, as Ben Robinson sat the game out with a badly gashed non-throwing arm, but backup quarterback Henry Bulmer showed what he can do as he threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter – one to Alex Eager and one to Jordan Houghton – to give the home side a 21-7 lead by halftime.
The Hawks received the ball to start the second half, but traded punts with the Pirates as they both strugged to get going. However, the Nighthawks further extended their lead on their next possession in the third quarter, as running back Jimmy Sutherland carried the ball 16 yards for the score. Bulmer threw another touchdown pass to Ben Hogan later in the quarter, his 1st as in the balck and red of Merseyside, as the Nighthawks eased into a commanding 34-7 lead to start the fourth quarter. Bulmer still had time to throw two more touchdown passes as he found wide receivers Dom Woo and Houghton once more, either side of an East Kilbride consolation score late in the game, as the Nighthawks finished the game with a comfortable 46-13 victory.
Now sitting at 4-5, the Nighthawks have a couple of weeks to prepare for their final game of the season against the Sheffield Giants (4-4) on Sunday the 12th of August, which is at home. Both Merseyside and Sheffield can still finish anywhere between third and fifth in the Premier North so even at this late stage in the season, there are still plenty of reasons to get behind the Nighthawks.