|July 19, 2014||7:00 pm||BAFA NL II South Central||2014|
38 - 8Full Time
The Essex Spartans lost to cross- river rivals the Kent Exiles under floodlights in Billericay.
The Exiles, who qualified for last season’s play-offs and beat the Spartans earlier in the season, were expected to be tough opponents, and did not disappoint, leading 21-0 by half-time. However, as the natural light faded, both the floodlights and the Spartans got stronger, and the crowd were rewarded with a fourth-quarter touchdown for substitute running back Oli Huke.
As well as the Huke touchdown, there were also excellent individual performances, not least for Joe Parsons, who secured over half the Spartans’ yards on offense. On defence, linebacker Jackson Tiller and cornerback Ernest Owusu both had interceptions, as well as leading the team in tackles with 9 and 10 respectively – almost double the next best performance. Finally, the first of the Spartan junior players made the step up to senior football, defensive lineman Henry Quick making three tackles on his debut.
Head Coach Sean Benton said “I know I speak for everyone at the club when I say enormous thanks to everyone who came down to support us under the floodlights. Whilst we were disappointed to lose, we all know if we perform like this for the rest of the season we can end up with a 50% record, which will be a huge improvement on the last two seasons.”
The Spartans have just two games left this season, both winnable. On Sunday 27th July they travel to the Ipswich Cardinals, winless since 2012. The season concludes on Sunday 17th August at home to the Bury Saints, to whom they narrowly lost in their opening game.
Huke said “Whilst we’re all disappointed with the defeat, we played much better in this game than the when we played Kent earlier this season. The fact we’re improving gives us real confidence that we can beat Ipswich next week, before gaining revenge on Bury next month.”