|April 19, 2015||2:30 pm||BAFA NL II South||2015|
|London Blitz B||6||19||0||6||31||Win|
12 - 31Full Time
In a vastly improved performance, the Essex Spartans for unfortunate to come away with a second loss of the season 12 – 31, as they endured a long and gruelling battle with the London Blitz Development Team, new to the league this season.
It was a dramatic first half that had barely begun when Blitz #74 Alex Hughes was assisted off the pitch by ambulance with a suspected broken ankle following a tackle.
The Blitz opened the scoring early, despite a strong start from the Spartans, with a rush from 10-yard line from RB Yaw Owusu-Nyarko. As the Spartans tried to battle for space, multiple flags were thrown throughout the first and second quarters in great numbers; something which was to continue for the game’s entirety.
It was Ashton Lord who brought the Spartans onto the score board with a 40-yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter. Neither conversion had been successful so the first quarter ended 6 – 6, with very little to tell the sides apart on the field.
What followed for the remainder of the half was a see-saw of touchdowns and flags with varying degrees of controversy. Blitz QB Chris Walker pitched to Harry Herbert who ultimately scored a second touchdown; it was advised that Walker was tightly on or over the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball, possibly indicting a foul that went unnoticed.
Herbert fumbled the ball in the end zone but managed to recapture the ball for the touchdown to extend the home side’s lead to 6 – 12. Another followed shortly, along with the game’s only successful conversion, after the Spartans dropped their guard at the 40-yard line, leaving the visitors trailing 6 – 19.
Shortly afterward, Lord again made a dash for the end-zone and the touchdown was given, but there was considerable discussion afterward with coaches and officials relating to an incident with two other players at the point of the touchdown.
Just before the close of the half, the Spartans conceded a 70-yard touchdown reception to finish a tightly-fought first half 12 – 25 to the home side. The second half began dramatically as Herbert found himself unguarded and made a 25-yard run towards a clear end-zone, but tripped and fumbled the ball just short of the end zone.
In direct contrast to the first half, the majority of the third and fourth quarters continued without great incident after Herbert’s fumble. Opportunities for gaining yardage for the Spartans opened up and the two sides battled over the middle ground with little to separate them, as more and more flags began to fly as discipline dropped and frustrations ran high.
The Blitz applied great pressure towards the close of the fourth quarter and, after two shaky fumbles and more flags for false starts, the Spartans conceded a regrettable final touchdown just after the five-minute warning, sealing the fate of the game 12 – 31.
The game ended in unfortunate circumstances, as a clash of bodies following a fumble from Spartans’ Felix Olu just seconds before the end of time led to Olu himself being knocked unconscious. Owing to the minimal time remaining and the possible severity of his injury, the officials declared the match complete.
The Spartans will be at home on Sunday 3rd May to welcome the London Hornets, hoping to secure their first win of the season at Hannakins Farm.
Note: The Essex Spartans can confirm that Felix Olu made a good recovery once he regained consciousness, was examined by medical officials and declared fit to go home. The Spartans also extend their best wishes to Blitz Alex Hughes and wish him a speedy recovery.