PLYMOUTH Buccaneers Flag American Football team returned successful from a 575-mile round trip to Northampton at the weekend.
The Buccaneers beat hosts Northants Tigers twice and also Merthyr Tydfil to stretch their winning run to six games and go 6-5 in the standings.
They are now on the brink of the national play-offs in what is already the club’s most successful season since their foundation.
They opened their weekend with a 32-12 win over bottom side Northants. The Bucs made a great start to take a 14-0 lead after quarter-back Barry Sellers hit wide receivers Jack Gilbert and Sam Smith for scores.
Northants pulled a score back to make it 14-6 after a darting run only for running back Iain Sawczyszak to hit Sam Smith on a trick pass for a 20-6 half-time lead.
The Bucs started the second period as they ended the first, with Sawczyszak catching another Sellers pass for a 26-6 lead.
Northants pulled it back to 26-12 but Sawczyszak had the last word to secure his side a 32-12 victory.
In their second match, Plymouth overcame Merthyr 13-7 in a defence-orientated contest.
The Bucs finally found a way around the Ducks’ defence with Sam Smith scoring the touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
Merthyr, however, hit back to level the match at 7-7 before half-time.
The second period was a tense battle with neither side able to find a way to score.
But with the last pass of the game Sellers found Smith right in the end zone side-line for the winning score and a first ever win verses the Ducks.
The Bucs capped off a good trip with a 26-24 victory over Northants in their third match.
The visitors went 13-0 up with Sam Smith scoring first and then Sellers finding Jack Gilbert for another.
Northants started finding form but could not find a way past a tough Plymouth defence and the Bucs went in at the break 20-6 up with Sellers finding Gilbert again.
The second half saw Northants come out fighting and they looked like they might pull off a remarkable comeback but Sellers capped a nine-touchdown day with yet another Smith hook up to secure his team a tense 26-24 win.
Afterwards head coach Gareth Hawcroft praised his well-travelled squad, who had left Plymouth at 4am.
“Every single player gave their absolute all in very hot conditions and proved that we are the real deal this year,” said Hawcroft.