SWANS START SLOW, TOP TAMPA BAY GAA, 63-52

SWANS START SLOW, TOP TAMPA BAY GAA, 63-52

The St. Petersburg Swans overcame their errant kicking, and recovered from a slow start – helped in large part by stellar play by Adham Makki and Best On Ground Basil Benjamin – running out 63-52 winners over Tampa Bay GAA Saturday night in St. Petersburg.

If anyone wearing the Red and White imagined the Second Annual International Rules Test Match would be an easy ‘pre-season tune-up’, they quickly learned otherwise, as the Gaelic side came out with all the energy, quickly building a two-goal lead before St. Pete had a chance to ready themselves.

Although the ledger showed just a 10-point lead for Tampa Bay GAA at the first break, solid work from Aaron Crittenden and Mark Earley quite nearly could have ended the Swans’ chances early, but for a few unlucky bounces for Gaelic.

The second frame proved much the same – with both sides keeping offenses in check. Nursing a 33-29 lead at halftime,GAA seemed poised to go on an offensive run and break the game open in the third stanza.

That’s when Benjamin and Makki took the game over.

The St. Petersburg defense clamped down on GAA in the third stanza – allowing just one over and one behind – giving the Swans their first lead of the night, headed into the final turn.

St. Pete wouldn’t look back from there, as solid goalkeeping from Miro Gladovic, coupled with a much improved second-half attack carried the Red and White.

While Benjamin was named Best On Ground, Jake Keglor paced the offense with three goals, bringing his pre-season tally to 14.

Makki proved a force in the middle, taking a series of tough marks and staying on ball almost the entire evening.

Had St. Pete’s kicking been up to standard, the proceedings may have topped last season’s 41-point margin. The Swans kicked a stunning 18 behinds, as well as three overs, in cobbling together the winning tally.

1 2 3 4 F    
Tampa Bay GAA 19 14 4 15 52    
St. Petersburg 18 12 15 18 63
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