UEA Pirates fell to an unlucky 34-16 defeat to the Sheffield Sabres in the semi-final of the BUAFL Challenge Trophy, meaning their season is finished after a superb play-off run.

It was the Pirates’ offence that had the first attempt to put points on the board. However, they could not take advantage and were forced to punt the ball away. On their first drive, the Sabres managed to make some good headway.

On a fourth down, having elected to keep their offence on the field, the Sabres quarterback managed to hit one of his receivers to give the home side an early 6-0 lead. They missed the resulting extra point attempt, and after the Pirates conceded a safety on their next drive, the first quarter ended with the home side up 8-0.

The second quarter saw the away side’s defence show a great deal of spirit, but Sheffield’s defence was also proving hard to break down, so both sides were forced to punt. The Pirates fumbled, handing Sheffield the ball very close to their goal line, and on their first play, they rushed for anot
her touchdown, and now held a lucky 14-0 lead. Despite some superb offensive play, the Pirates ran out of time in the first half, and were unlucky to go into the interval 14-0 down.

The third quarter began with some superb Pirates defending, and then running back Chris Carson began to cut swathes through the home side’s defence before running in a touchdown. With their attempt at a two-point conversion being successful, the deficit was cut to 14-8.

The Sabres were clearly rattled, and their offence could not drive downfield. However, despite the efforts of Carson and quarterback Mark Rivett, the Pirates were halted in their charge and turned the ball over on downs.

Unfortunately, the Sabres offence began the fourth quarter well, and managed to find another receiver in space for another touchdown. Despite not converting their two point conversion, Sheffield now found themselves up 20-8.

On the next series for UEA, a succession of superb receptions and more incisive running saw the away side make an instant reply. Carson made his way into the endzone once again, and with the two point conversion again being successful, the Sabres now only led 20-16.

The Pirates’ hopes were dashed when the Sabres quarterback threw a superb pass to his wide receiver, who took it home for another touchdown. The extra point was converted, and the score was now 27-16, but the Pirates still had hope.

Unfortunately, the home side finished the game with another rushing touchdown, putting the game beyond doubt meaning the Sabres progressed to the final courtesy of a 34-16 win. The result flattered the home side a great deal, and on a different day, the Pirates might have taken the win.

Photo: Chris Teale.