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.