GAME 1 – APRIL 22nd 2007
NORWICH DEVILS 25 – ESSEX SPARTANS 00
Report by Pete Wrigley
The Norwich Devils made a winning start to their season with a significant win over old adversaries the Essex Spartans. The Spartans had started their season off the previous week with a 38 – 0 win over Maidstone, so the Devils knew they were in for a stiff test, but got off to a flying start and never looked back.
The Devils, who were sporting their new strip for the first time, having changed from their gold shirts to navy blue, looked inspired in the opening exchanges and went in front on their first possession through an 18 yard touchdown run from running back Jason Osborne. The Devils then went for a two point conversion, but Travis Simmons was stopped a yard short of the goal line to leave the score at 6 – 0.
Norwich moved further in front before the end of the first quarter when Ben Barker returned an Essex punt all the way from 65 yards out. The Devils went for an extra point kick this time but a fumbled snap meant the kick never got off.
Norwich’s third score came following a quarterback sack by Thomas Lyons which caused a fumble, enabling the Devils to take possession on the Essex 29 yard line. On the next play, Iickyra Jones ran in for the score. Steve Playford then kicked the extra point to leave the Devils 19 points ahead.
Things got worse for the Spartans before half time when Devils quarterback Troy Schmidgall ran in from 35 yards out for Norwich’s fourth touchdown. They then tried another two point conversion, but Osborne’s run was stopped well short of the line, to leave the score at the half 25 – 0.
Norwich dominated procedings in the second half, with the game being played deep in Essex territory. In fact an incredible sequence of 25 consective plays took place inside the Essex 20 yard line, but without the Devils getting a score. Only 4 plays in the entire second half were in the Norwich half of the field, but they could not convert their territorial advantage into points and the score remained 25 – 0 until the final whistle.
Prior to the senior game, the Norwich and Essex youth teams played. The Devils came out on top in this one as well with a 22 – 0 victory. Touchdowns from Hereward McGillivray, Wesley Klenieo, followed by James Tovell’s extra point kick, and Stephen Hatherway were enough to see the hosts start their season off with a win.