|May 20, 2012||2:30 pm||BAFA NL I Central & South||2012|
28 - 0Full Time
The Spartans slumped to their second defeat of the season in their third game, going down 28-0 to the visiting Sussex Thunder, their first home defeat since 2010.
This game was always going to be a tough test – the Thunder were on the verge of Premiership qualification last season and are amongst the favourites to secure the Division One title this year.
Cornerback Will Steel recovered a Thunder fumble deep in Spartans territory early in the first quarter. With quarterback James Woodward sidelined through injury, James Dawson took control of the offense, but was unable to move the ball on a stout Sussex defense.
That defense would soon open the scoring, capitalising on a Spartan fumble to recover the ball in the endzone for an early 6-0 lead. Again, the Thunder defence held firm, intercepting Dawson later in the quarter so put the offense in position to extend their lead with a rushing touchdown. With the extra point being blocked, the Spartans found themselves behind 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Kieron Treacy, making his second start for the Spartans after transferring from the Cambridgeshire Cats, was a constant thorn in the side of the Thunder, and made several key tackles as defenses came out on top in the second quarter. Aaron Davidson saw a punt blocked to give the Thunder possession deep in Spartans territory, and they quickly converted it into points with another rushing score to further extend their advantage to 19-0.
Ally Minto snagged a wayward Thunder pass to set the Spartans offense up in good field position, but Dawson’s second interception of the afternoon ensured the half ended with the scoreline at 19-0 to the visitors.
Lee Millar recorded his first sack of the season to begin the third quarter, but with the Spartans offense still struggling, it was the Thrashers who put points on the board with an aerial score and a lead of 25-0. A few plays later, another Spartan fumble was recovered by Sussuex and converted into points, a long-range field-goal setting the scoreline to 28-0.
The final quarter saw both teams make several substitutions to enable them to cast eyes over some of the backups. Treacy recorded his first interception as a Spartan as time ran down, and the game ended with the Spartans being shut out for the second time in three games.
After the game, a reflective Spartans Assistant Head Coach Sean Benton said, “We faced a tough opponent today who must be considered a strong favourite for the national championship. While the result was disappointing we know what we need to do to improve and look forward to getting back on track next Saturday against Hampshire.”
The Spartans will look to bounce back when they travel to play the Thrashers on May 26th before their next home game on June 10th against the East Kent Mavericks. The team welcomes anyone wishing to cheer them on to come down to Hannakins Farm for the 2:30pm kickoff.
ROLL TIDE ROLL!