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American Football: Trafford out to continue turnaround; Amsterdam Admirals 20 Scottish Claymores 31.

Byline: LEE REYNOLDS

ROD Trafford helped the Scottish Claymores record a narrow win over Amsterdam Admirals - with his first touchdown since college.

Trafford's score kept the Claymores on target to reach next month's World Bowl Final, and he believes his side are finding their form at the right time.

The tight end has now turned his thoughts to Saturday's game at Barcelona Dragons, and he said: "It feels as if we're peaking at the right time.

"For the last couple of years, the team that has won its final four games has gone to the World Bowl.

"We now have to think about facing Barcelona at the weekend, but this is a huge win."

The winning touchdown from Trafford on Saturday came with less than two minutes left.

With quarterback Craig Nall leading the offence with great maturity - he finished with 313 yards and three touchdown passes - the Claymores led 24-10 at half-time.

But there were fears of a collapse as the Admirals came back in the final quarter with a touchdown from tight end Ryan Collins.

On their next drive, the Claymores held them on the six-yard line and Amsterdam had to be content with a Silvio Diliberto field goal.

Trafford said: "It was unbelievable. We couldn't have asked for anything more. The defence did a hell of a job and it was a relief for us.

"We went in at half-time with our minds set that it was 0-0 - that's the way we always looked at it. Of course you have worries about whether they suddenly hit a hot streak, but our offence is moving the ball so well just now that we knew we would get chances.

"I think the turning point in our season was the effort by the defence against Rhein Fire. They played unbelievably and it just shows what they can do.

"The defence took it to another level against Rhein and that can only help the team.

"When the offence were getting 500 yards in games, the question was why weren't we winning? But the defence have stepped it up."

To underline the point, cornerbacks Deveron Harper and Dyshod Carter both had bit interceptions in the second half. Running back Mike Malan scored two first-half touchdowns and Ken Simonton made his ninth trip to the endzone this year on a one-yard run.

Amsterdam kept in the hunt after half-time with Justin Skaggs scoring a touchdown to add to Joe O'Donnell's 39-yard field goal.

Rob Hart also kicked a 28-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half, and after a no-scoring third quarter, came the final quarter drama.

CAPTION(S):

HEAD OVER HEELS: A delighted Ron Trafford scores the Claymores' winner; HERO: Malan got two touchdowns
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 26, 2003
Words:455
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