|May 6, 2012||12:00 pm||BAFA NL I Central & South||2012|
0 - 14Full Time
The Spartans got their 2012 campaign off to a shaky start with a narrow 14-0 defeat at the hands of the Kent Exiles.
This was always going to be a tough contest – the two teams had played twice in 2011, the first ending in an 18-18 tie and the second a narrow Exiles victory 24-20. With both teams gaining promotion into Division 1 for 2012, it was time to renew a rivalry.
The Spartans arrived at the Exiles ground and were met with less-than-ideal conditions – cold, wet, muddy. But this is football in Britain, and the Spartans buckled their chin-straps and knuckled down to opening their season.
The weather made for a slow, sluggish game. Both teams struggled to move the ball, opening drives ending in three-and-outs. Spartan Nick Mayer ensured the first quarter ended scoreless with his first interception for the team.
The second quarter saw the Spartans running game begin to march the ball downfield. Shulba Hunte powered his way for tough yards, with Ryan Towey and Liam Mills also moving the football. However, both defenses were tough – the Exiles intercepting a James Woodward pass in the end zone, and the Spartans, not to be outdone, had a goal-line stand to ensure the first half ended in a stalemate.
The Spartans grew in confidence in the third quarter, Woodward marching the team down the field to put Aaron Davidson in a position to try and open the scoring with a field goal attempt. Again, defense came out on top, with Davidson seeing his kick blocked.
Crunching hits and powerful tackling were the order of the day in a defensive battle, and the third quarter ended with neither team troubling the scoreboard.
The forth quarter saw the Exiles able to move the ball behind an efficient passing attack, and soon, the Spartans were backed up deep in their own territory. As the clock ran down, the Exiles opened the scoring with an aerial score – with the conversion, the home team took a 7-0 lead.
The Spartans struggled to move the ball, and the Exiles offense were able to benefit from a Spartans interception by Tom Langford being called back by a penalty to march down the field once again. Another aerial score gave them a 14-0 lead, and the Spartans were running out of time.
Woodward attempted deep passes to try and pull the team back into the game, but as the ball fell down onto the muddy field, the Exiles were able to run down the clock and emerge with the 14-0 shutout victory.
Spartans Head Coach Marc Saunders said, “Losing a game is always a disappointment, but as always with this sport it’s time to focus on our next challenge.
“Mistakes were made but there were also a lot of positives from this game we can take forward into the rest of our season. Our rookies performed well and some excellent play in unexpected places still makes the 2012 Spartans a contender for playoff football this year in my opinion.”
The Spartans now prepare to face the Hampshire Thrashers in the teams first home game of the season at Hannakins Farm, Billericay, on Sunday, May 13th. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm, and the team welcomes anyone wishing to cheer them on.
Roll Tide Roll!