ESSEX Spartans Academy American football team saw their 2016 season come to an end this weekend with a 4th-placed finish in the annual National Finals.
The Thurrock-based Spartans travelled to Doncaster for the U17 Finals Day, or BritBowl, ranked as one of the top seeds following an undefeated regular season and the title of Outer London East Division Champions, and knew they faced a tough challenge with an opening game against old rivals Kent Exiles.
On a cold and rainy day, the young Spartans put in perhaps their best performance of the season to claim a hard-fought 8-7 victory, and with it, a place in the semi-finals. Sadly, the Cobham Cougars bested the Essex team 34-14, and with an additional 22-12 defeat to tournament favourites Chester Romans, the Spartans finished the day ranked 4th in a tournament won by the East Kilbride Pirates.
Head Coach Steve Watson said; “To finish the year as the 2nd-ranked team in the South, and the 4th-ranked in the entire country, is something we are all incredibly proud of.
“We set our goal this season as to compete at the National Finals, so to do so on the back of everything else we achieved along the way means we have far exceeded that. We knew going in we would have our work cut out to beat Kent in the opening round, so we are all absolutely thrilled to have done so, and absolutely delighted with the season we have had.”
The Spartans now turn their attentions to the end-of-season AGM, followed by their annual presentation night, before recruitment begins for the 2017 campaigns.
The Spartans have three teams – an U17 team, an U19 team, and an adults team for those aged over 18. For full details, and to be kept informed on dates for the upcoming recruitment sessions for 2017, please visit the clubs website at www.essexspartans.co.uk