The Essex Spartans made it two for two on Sunday with a clear win over Suffolk-based Ipswich Cardinals.
Two touchdowns from #11 Norris Owusu, plus a field goal and two conversions from #84 Mitch Arthur saw the Spartans open scoring in the second quarter, finishing the half 7-0 up and scoring ten additional points in the second.
The first half was all drama as initially two rushes on the opening drive from Owusu and #1 Dwayne Ferdinand saw the home side gain two consecutive first downs; the Cardinals then recovered a fumble to send their offense to the field.
Spartans defense held the visitors to a single set of downs and fought a hard fight against a rejuvenated Ipswich defense, in which a fumble from #9 Steve Cox was recovered by QB #8 Tom Macfarlane to save the drive.
Early in the second quarter when still 0-0, Spartans #3 Ryan Lines was tackled with such force that his helmet was removed. Players on both sides intervened and the game was delayed by several minutes as the officials briefed both Head Coaches as to the consequences of the incident. Lines was unhurt and not involved; Cardinals #76 was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct and Spartans #9 Cox and #92 Ricky Pease were also ejected for leaving the players box and entering the field.
The mood quickly improved for the home side as Owusu ran twenty yards for the touchdown and Arthur converted afterwards with ease. The two-minute warning was given on the Spartans third down and the half finished 7-0 in favour of Essex.
Ipswich returned with force as their #85 ran for twenty-five yards for a first down and put the pressure on Essex right away. However Spartans defense held the position and a turnover put Arthur back on the field for a timely three-point field goal to extend the Spartans lead to 10-0 by the middle of the third quarter.
Owusu again made it a double as he slipped passed defense at 30 yards to make the touchdown, with Arthur again converting to bring the Spartans’ lead up to 17 points to nothing.
Early in the fourth Owusu crossed the line with the ball for the third time, but the TD was flagged for holding and he couldn’t repeat the feat at the next play. The Cardinals received a late penalty of fifteen yards and a first down to Essex for roughing the kicker, but no further points on the board came of it and the match ended amicably with the Spartans taking their second win of the season.
The Essex Spartans travel to London Blitz B on Sunday 14th May for their third league fixture, and return home on Sunday 4th June for an Essex derby against the East Essex Sabres.