Essex Spartans vs. London Blitz B

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London Blitz B vs. Essex Spartans

The winning streak was short-lived for Essex Spartans as missing crucial players meant they failed to maintain their lead and conceded 19 points in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Blitz ‘B’ Team.

The game began badly for the Spartans on the first play as #11 Norris Owusu fumbled the catch and the ball was intercepted straight away by the Blitz. Spartans quickly found their feet however and #35 Oli Page tipped the ball for #51 Harry Shelton to recover, putting the Spartans offense back on the field.

Both sides looked equal for the majority of the first quarter; Spartans #13 Felix Olu looked likely for a TD with a powerful run through the Blitz defense but was brought down at 15 yards.

Spartans #19 Ashton Lord then stepped up and ran the ball to the end zone, but was flagged for being out of bounds and the points were not given. The visitors took consolation in a superb field goal from #84 Mitch Arthur on the fourth down to give the Spartans a 0-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The two sides barely moved from between the 30-yard markers during the second quarter, with one or two first downs being achieved but with no real significant yardage gain. Arthur sacked the Blitz QB in the dying seconds for a big loss and the half ended with the Spartans leading perilously by three points.

The Blitz came immediately into play and put the lead in danger as they earned a first down right away and lined up at 5 yards. A 5-yard penalty was awarded for delaying the kick-off and so they were pushed back to a still-uncomfortable 10 yards, but the Spartans defense clung on and made it to the turnover with their lead intact.

Not for long however, as the Spartans fumbled on their second down and Blitz recovered, and scored their TD close to the boundary with no conversion. The remainder of the third quarter continued very much in the way of the second, with a handful of small yardage penalties and continuous turnovers with little progress either way.

Blitz B went for the TD early in the fourth as #11 Will Bentley battled through a tiring Essex defense for the six points. Just minutes later, Blitz QB #3 Timothee Liechti did the same and with a one-point conversion kicked over the bar, the game was wrapped up at 19-3 with two painful minutes left on the clock.

The Essex Spartans return to practice in Grays before their second home game of 2017 against the East Essex Sabres on Sunday 4th June.

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London Blitz B vs. Essex Spartans

The season opener was all frustrations for the Essex Spartans as they lost a two-point lead in the final play of the game to London Blitz B.

Touchdowns from Tom Kitchen and Ashton Lord, with two successful conversions from Kitchen, was not enough to earn the Spartans the win after a hearty and spirited performance that saw them come back from a 12 – 0 deficit at half time.

The Spartans put pressure on the Blitz straight from kick-off with a confident and convincing 30-yard drive from #13 Felix Olu. Shortly after #90 Aaron Millar was able to block an attempt at field goal and then recover the fumble to re-open the door for the Spartan offense.

The glory was short-lived after a contentious touchdown was achieved by the Blitz, which was argued may have been subject to a fifteen-yard penalty. Spartans #99 Eugene Tangney blocked the attempt at conversion to keep the deficit at 6-0 in favour of the home side.

The second quarter was all in Spartan favour as the Blitz B quarterback passed the ball straight into the hands of Spartans #77 Ricky Pease, achieving the pick for the visitors. An invigorated Spartans side provided solid defensive coverage for some time before conceding again to the Blitz B running back.

Spartans #44 Ernest Owusu blocked the conversion and the half finished with the visiting Spartans trailing 12-0.

The third quarter belonged to Spartans linebacker Tom Kitchen, after a pick brought the Spartans back in for a run of downs. He then caught a second pick, ran it home for the first Spartans touchdown of the game and kicked the conversion over the bar for the seventh point.

Drama was abound in the final fifteen as #19 Ashton Lord, who had struggled to fight off a determined Blitz B defense all game, finally broke free and ran fifty yards for the touchdown. A second conversion from Kitchen left the Spartans with a precarious two-point lead over a shaky but determined home side with ten minutes still to go of the quarter.

The Blitz ran home a third touchdown with a few minutes to go on the clock, but was disallowed for holding. Spartans Oli Page provided outstanding blocking in the Blitz end to hang on to the lead until the dying moments, before a determined Blitz B achieved considerable yardage on consecutive penalties and went for the touchdown with just four seconds remaining on the clock, ending the game 18 – 14.

The Essex Spartans return to the field again this Sunday 24th April away at the London Hornets.

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Colchester Gladiators U17 vs. Essex Spartans U17

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London Blitz U17 vs. Essex Spartans U17

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Hertfordshire Cheetahs U17 vs. Essex Spartans U17

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London Blitz B vs. Essex Spartans

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.

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London Blitz U17 vs. Essex Spartans U17

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Colchester Gladiators U17 vs. Essex Spartans U17

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Hertfordshire Cheetahs U17 vs. Essex Spartans U17

18 - 0
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