29th October 2000 - Gateshead defeat Dutch opposition in friendly

Hilversum Hurricanes 0 Gateshead Senators 3

The Dutch champions, Hilversum Hurricanes, travelled to Gateshead this weekend to take on yet again the 1999 UK Division one Champion Gateshead Senators.  Having always been just beaten by Gateshead in successive tournaments in Holland, the visitors were determined to defeat Gateshead on their own territory.

In the event, the game often resembled mud wrestling as much as American football.   In heavy rain showers the centre of the Blaydon field became churned to a grassless brown quagmire, and to make it worse, such was the even balance of the two teams, that most of the play took place in the midfield area.

David Nimmins kicked off for Gateshead and the Senator's 'D' held Hilversum to 4 and out, with the Dutch punting.  The Senators' possession also ended with a Gary Marshall punt.  The two teams spent the rest of the first quarter trading punts, except for two attempts by Hilversum of fourth down, both of which were unsuccessful. Marshall at QB for the Senators was unable to probe any weakness in the determined Dutch defense.

In the second quarter, play at last got away from midfield when Hilversum recovered a Gateshead fumble and drove to the Senators' 5 yard line.  But Mark Sloan scooped a vital fumble recovery and stopped the Dutch drive dead.  A later Hilversum threat was also stopped by a fumble recovery of the wet ball by Mikey Rumney before the half.

The third quarter was dominated by rain and strong winds, neither team able to progress the ball beyond the mudbath of midfield.

The final quarter continued in much the same vein as the as the third, until the weather cleared.  Inside the two minute warning, Marshall's punt pushed Hilversum back to their own 10 yard line, But their drive from danger got nowhere when Mark Sloan again came up trumps with a fumble recovery to give Gateshead the ball just ten yards out.  But Gary Marshall looking for the six points was intercepted in the end zone.  Returning upfield, the Dutch defender
was met by a swarm of Senators and in the melee, Gateshead recovered the ensuing fumble, again at the ten yard line.  On the next play, Marshall faked, dumped the ball to Lee Fraser, playing in the backfield for the day, who used his passing skill to find Kev Ramsay at the back of the endzone.  But Geordie jubilation was cut short when the catch was disallowed and on fourth down, with only seconds on the clock, Marshall set for a 27 yard field goal attempt.  Snap and hold were good, and Marshall's kick was cleanly through the uprights for three points as time expired.

Once again, Gateshead had beaten Hilversum, once again by the narrowest of margins and once again with little or no time to spare.