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Plymouth Buccaneers unable to stop Lions in Southern Division play-offs

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PLYMOUTH Buccaneers found Reading Lions too tough to handle when they travelled to their place in the BAFA Southern Division play-offs.

The Buccs, playing in the end of season American flag football play-offs for the first time, were beaten 36-7.

The damage was done in the first half, where Reading raced into a 26-0 lead.

The game started with the Lions having the ball and some long passes got within yards of the Buccs end zone, but some solid defensive play and a goal-line tackle from Aaron Fuller turned the ball over.

The Plymouth side’s offence started brightly but in blustery conditions the Lions secondary picked the ball and with a short field to play with the home side opened the scoring, despite some valiant defending by the visitors.

The Lions defence remained stubborn and they went into half-time 26-0 up.

The second period started better for the Buccs, but despite some great play just could not break into the end zone.

The breakthrough, however, came through a Lions tipped pass which saw head coach Gareth Hawcoft pick the ball off and run towards Reading’s end zone but was tackled just short. With only yards to go quarter-back Barry Sellers found wide receiver Jack Gilbert for the score and conversion to make it 26-7.

Unfortunately, a tired Buccs side just could not add to that after having a long touch-down run by Adam Lines called back on a penalty. The Lions finished the scoring off to make made the final score 36-7.

Head coach Hawcoft, though, was full of praise for his young side for an impressive season.

He said: “The lads are understandably upset but they can take heart from the season we have had. We finished 10-6 and made the play-offs in what has been the most successful season in club history and things are looking very good for the future.

“Most of the team are first-year players and they have played against some of the best teams in the country and been competitive.”

Hawcroft was also full of praise for veteran player Nathaniel Davis who was playing his last game for the Buccs before joining new team Exeter Falcons next year.

“Nate has been with the club through thick and thin and been a positive influence on the new players with his leadership and the lads are going to miss him,” added Hawcroft.

The Buccaneers gave Davis the ultimate honour by retiring his 41 shirt and making him their first hall of fame inductee.

The Buccs are now recruiting for next year both male and female players welcome.

The team can be found on Facebook or contacted at plymouthflagfootball@yahoo.co.uk

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