|April 18, 2014||TBD||BAFA NL II South Central||2014|
Essex Spartans first game of 2014 ended in a narrow defeat to Bury Saints.
With many rookies in the starting lineup, the game began with the Spartans gifting the Saints a 6-0 lead after a series of silly mistakes and cheap penalties. The Spartans nearly went into halftime level anyway, after defensive lineman Billy Swick forced a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown, but it was disallowed for celebrating. The Spartans instead ended the first half just yards from scoring but ran out of time.
The second half, however, started with a bang. 2013 player of the year Craig Willis opened with a touchdown, on his way to a team-leading 110 yard rushing game. On the other side of the ball the Spartans defence, led by defensive back Will Still who made a team-high 11 tackles, stopped the Saints near their goal-line. With confidence growing the Spartans ended the third quarter with a second touchdown, this time for rookie running back Tom Woods.
Unfortunately, it was not to be as the well-drilled Saints scored two touchdowns of their own in the final quarter to win 19-13 in their first league game.
Spartans Head Coach Sean Benton said “despite coming out second best from a tough game, there is so much for the Spartans to be proud of. Our rookies and veterans played well but the breaks did not go our way. We know exactly how what we need to do to improve next week for our first home game against Maidstone.”
Willis said, “Defeat is obviously difficult to take, especially in such a close game, but as players we have to take it on the chin and bounce straight back with a win next week.”