A week after a disappointing start to the season, we travelled to South Ockenden to face the newly promoted, Essex Spartans. The Spartans had fared better in the previous week by beating London Blitz B on the road 20 to 14. This early game would be quite a tone setter for the year. Is the Spartans won, they would continue their streak and be headed for the top tier of the SFC 1 East. Meanwhile, a second loss would see the us plummet to the bottom and make a comeback even harder.
The Cats kicked the ball deep into the Spartans territory to begin proceedings. The Spartans only managed two plays before coughing up the ball for us to collect. LB Jonny Hodgson hitting the RB on a sweep play and taking possession. Veteran QB, Mark Rivett, then set about delivering the ball to the receivers and even running for some 1st downs. RB, Mark Womble, almost got the first score but was stopped at the 1 yard line. 3 plays later and the ball is safely in WR James Horne’s hand in the corner of the End Zone. The 2 point attempt is no good. Cats 6, Spartans 0. But the Spartans are no pushovers and are quick to respond. Following a couple of possessions, they finally get in to the Cats End Zone on the ground to level the score. The 2 point attempt is no good. Spartans 6, Cats 6.
The Spartans put together another good drive and score again. This time through the air. The 2 point attempt is no good. Spartans 12, Cats 6. We struggled to get the ball moving consistently on offence. However, an interception by CB Mikey McLoughlin keeps the Spartans at bay for longer. However, this doesn’t last as the Spartans are able to move the ball on the ground, eventually scoring once again. The PAT is good. Spartans 19, Cats 6.
With the ball and a 13 point deficit, QB Mark Rivett, leads his team back into the game. But there still seems to be something missing from a usually potent offence. The Spartans retake possession and find the End Zone shortly after. The PAT is good bringing the score to Spartans 25, Cats 6. However, the latest score has now ignited the fuel in the Cats’ belly. A fantastic outside run from WR Thabiso Mpofu tears off a huge amount of land. The O-line give Rivett plenty of time, who picks out Womble for a passing TD. Mark Finbow kicks the PAT. The score is now Spartans 25, Cats 13. The Spartans begin their dive, but it is cut short by a fumble under centre. The ball is recovered by DT Callum O’Connor. A low snap forces Womble to hurdle Rivett as he bends to collect it. Womble instinctively changes roll from ball carrier to blocker, allowing Rivett to get the pass away. We nickel and dime the ball all the way for another passing touch down scored by WR Ryan Smith. 2 point attempt is no good. Spartans 25, Cats 19.
The Spartans stubbornly stick to their running game with good effect. But the Cats Defence stands firm before the 20 yard line. Possession changes hands a few more times. But Rivett breaks the stalemate with a pass to James Horne, who breaks free from his man and runs the 15 yards in to the End Zone. Finbow is good on the PAT. Spartans 25, Cats 26. The Spartans look strong again as they run the ball. But a fumble recovery by DE Mike Lee snatches away their chances of regaining the lead. A combination of runs and passes sees Womble back in the End Zone. PAT is good. Spartans 25, Cats 33. With time quickly running out, the Spartans take to the air. They move the ball quite effectively until one poorly thrown pass is tipped and caught by CB Gregg Prettyjohns. Gregg’s return give us great field position. A tired looking Spartan Defence allows Rivett to find WR Kay Dennis this time for another passing touch down. The PAT is good. Spartans 25, Cats 40.
Game MVP – Jonny Hodgson
O MVP – Mark Rivett and Mark Womble
D MVP – Gregg Prettyjohns
ST MVP – Mark Finbow
Our next game is at home versus Sussex Thunder on Sunday 1st May. Kick off will be at 2pm on Coldhams Common.
See you there!