Pythons win in fourth quarter comeback against the Spartans

With many games being snowed off for a second week around the league, due to frozen pitches, the Pythons boldly travelled to South London to take on the London South Bank Spartans this past Sunday. Having not trained for two weeks due to the snow, it was a fear as to whether the players would remain on form, especially considering the cold.

 

In a new approach to pre-game warm ups, the Pythons were hitting straight from the bat, bringing up the intensity before the game. A delayed kickoff due to a late ambulance meant players were starting to get cold, and the water bottles turning into chunks of ice!

 

Eventually the game got underway with the Pythons kicking off to the Spartans. The first series only lasted two plays as a run was stuffed and the ensuing pass was picked off by Guy Peters and returned to the Spartans 30. Some hard running from Jack Tavener and Tom Lindsell gave the Pythons a touchdown; with a failed 2pt conversion saw the score at 6-0.

 

Again the Pythons kicked to the Spartans and forced a punt. The punt was blocked by Guy Peters and a safety awarded to the Pythons to put the score at 8-0. The Spartans struck back with some power running from running back #30 Aaron Price, putting the score at 8-6 Pythons. The Spartans attempted another run up the middle by Price only to be stopped short of the line.

 

 

Silly mistakes and terrible pitch conditions marred the rest of the half for the Pythons. A blocked punt was returned for a 21yd TD by Spartans #13 Dwain Jackson, and a fumble at the Spartans 8yd line returned for 60yds, allowed the Spartans QB Tim Lietchi to complete a pass to #11 Sean Lewis just before the half. Lietchi attempted the 2pt but again to no success.

 

At the half the score stood at 18-8 to the Spartans. Knowing that the score line could be very different the Pythons emerged from the half with something to prove. In the second half the Pythons defence stopped LSBU dead in their tracks. In the 4th quarter it was time for a comeback! With a long run up the middle by #32 Jack Tavener with some excellent blocking downfield, the Pythons punched in a 29yd Rushing TD. The attempted 2pt was no good, and the scoreline stood at 18-14.

 

 

Needing to stop the Spartans on offence, the Pythons made tackle after tackle, with the Lietchi under pressure while throwing all day long. The offence had the ball in their hands with under two minutes left in the game. A sweep to the right saw the Pythons inside the 10yd line, and a facemask penalty on the Spartans on 4th down gave them even better field position. However, some excellent defence by the Spartans saw the Pythons move back 10yds with tackles from #20 Leon Jackson.

 

#22 Yemi Bankole-Thomas was a force to be reckoned with all day and came up with a sack for a 10yd loss, a combination of holding against the Pythons and another facemask against the Spartans moved the Pythons forward 5. A 9yd pass from #3 Yarwood to #10 Roope saw first down. Finally, the Pythons scored on a 5 yd pass play with the Yardwood/Roope connection. The ensuing 2pt conversation was successful and the scoreline was 22-18 with 20 seconds remaining.

 

The Spartans got the ball back and attempted to pass the 80yds they had to make the TD, but to no avail. On the final whistle the Pythons jubilantly celebrated, a game said to be a walkover for the Spartans turned out to be very different.

 

 

 

The game MVP was named as Nick Roope for his outstanding efforts on defence, offence and special teams. The Pythons now travel away to Canterbury this weekend to face the undefeated Kent Falcons.