BRITISH AMERICAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE SOUTH EAST: Bury Saints 19 Essex Spartans 13: The Bury Saints came from behind to secure a 19-13 win over the Essex Spartans in their first ever competitive league game.
A punishing first half was dominated by the defence of both teams.
Despite taking the lead with a one yard run by Ramsey Orr in the first quarter, the Saints’ offence struggled to move the ball against an aggressive Essex defence.
However, the Spartans found the Bury defence just as dogged as the home team went into the half time break with a narrow 6-0 lead.
In the third quarter the Spartans took advantage of more errors by the Saints to take a 13-6 lead courtesy of runs from six and 22-yards.
But it was the Spartans’ turn to falter in the fourth quarter as errors finally sparked the Saints into action.
The game was tied on a three yard run by Scott Curry after a superb 29-yard catch and a run by rookie Sean Linnane moved the ball to the Essex goal-line.
The winning score came with less than two minutes left in the game.
In a drive that featured a spectacular catch by Trevor McBride on a crucial third down play, quarter-backGuy Mitchell scrambled for a touchdown on a nine-yard run to snatch a 19-13 advantage.
The Saints’ defence then held firm as Essex tried and failed with one final desperate drive as the hosts held out for victory.
“It was a scrappy game and Essex was the tough opponent we expected,” said Saints head coach Chris Wallis. “There’s no question we were lucky, but our defence kept us in the game and the offence eventually came good when the game was on the line.”
The Saints now face a break in action until Sunday, May 11 when they hit the road to take on Watford Cheetahs.