Spartans at a loss in opener

12:46 12 May 2012

Essex Spartan Liam Mills rushes against the Kent Exiles

Essex Spartan Liam Mills rushes against the Kent Exiles

Mikey Cartwright, Ponderosa Pics

Billericay-based side blanked

Essex Spartans got their 2012 British American Football League campaign off to a shaky start with a narrow 14-0 defeat at the hands of the Kent Exiles.

Billericay-based Spartans, playing in Division One following their promotion after reaching the play-offs last season, travelled to play the Exiles in a game which promised to go down to the wire.

In less-than-ideal conditions, both teams struggled to make an impression, the weather making for a slow, sluggish game.

Spartan Nick Mayer ensured the first quarter ended scoreless with his first interception for the team.

The second quarter saw the Spartans defence impress with a goal-line stand to deny the Exiles, and the Spartans rushing attack, lead by Liam Mills, Ryan Towey and Shulba Hunte, started to move the team downfield.

Quarterback James Woodward was unlucky to see his end-zone pass intercepted by the Exiles as the first half ended with neither team having been able to score.

The Spartans continued to improve in the third quarter, moving into position for an Aaron Davidson field goal attempt which the Exiles were fortunate to block.

And the stalemate continued into the fourth quarter, when the Exiles were able to open the scoring with a touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.

After the Spartans saw an interception of their own called back by a penalty, the Exiles drove downfield and with less than two minutes to play were able to score through the air again to seal 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 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 play-off football this year.”

Spartans host the Hampshire Thrashers in their first home game of the season at Billericay’s Hannakins Farm on Sunday.

Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30pm and all supporters are welcome.

For more details about the Spartans, visit the team’s website at www.essexspartans.co.uk.

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