Pythons edge out Essex in a tight encounter

The Cambridge Pythons played the Essex Blades in a close fought, hard hitting match. After regulation time, the score was 6-6 and the Pythons scored the winning field goal in sudden death overtime.

The first quarter was a quick one with a lot of running. Essex didn’t manage to get going, while Cambridge drove down the field, helped by a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt, before a pass was intercepted.

In the second quarter, this pattern continued. Cambridge managed to put together good drives before stumbling and the Pythons’ defence largely stopped the Blades moving the ball. The last drive of the quarter, however, was a Cambridge series from their own 38 yard line. The first three plays were ineffective, but Joe Moore converted the vital fourth down, then productive running and a long quarterback scramble from Joe Yarwood took Cambridge to the four yard line with three seconds of the half left. The final play of the half was a Moore run up the middle for a touchdown.

Cambridge got the ball back to start the second half but could not make anything of it, punting it to Essex. The Essex drive was only one play, but it was a 60 yard run for a touchdown, tying the score up at 6-6. The Pythons’ next drive was a long one and looked as though it would put them back in the lead, but it was not to be. A Cambridge pass was intercepted in controversial circumstances so Cambridge did not get the points.

Strong running from workhorse back, Tom Zhang was critical

Strong running from workhorse back, Tom Zhang was critical

The fourth quarter had two long Cambridge drives, the first of which ended with a fumble on the Essex 24, and the last ended with an attempted field goal as time ran out which was blocked, leaving the score 6-6 and sending the game to overtime.

The first Cambridge drive of overtime was again fumbled, this time just short of the Essex end zone, giving Essex the opportunity to win by scoring any points on their possession. But the Cambridge defence held strong, forcing a sack-fumble and almost intercepting a pass, then blocking the attempted field goal. This gave the ball back to Cambridge. They took the ball all the way to the Essex one yard line, but couldn’t punch it in. On fourth down, there was some confusion as Cambridge went for the field goal, leading to the ball being moved back ten yards before the kick. Despite this Jack Tavener was perfect, winning the game for the Pythons with a final score of 9-6.

This win is Cambridge’s fifth in a row, putting them in contention for the playoffs. The Pythons play at the Kent Falcons on Sunday, the winner of which will win the conference and make it into the post-season.