The Ouse Valley Eagles travelled to Colchester on Sunday for their first Inter Conference fixture of their American Football National League Division 1 campaign. A disappointingly lacklustre performance saw the Eagles fall to their first defeat of the season and the Gladiators record their first victory.
It could scarcely have started better for the Eagles as free safety Kevin Kong intercepted opposing Quarterback Curtis Bourke’s first pass of the game on the second play from scrimmage. Kong returned the ball 25 yards into the corner of the end zone for the opening score, with Ross Hubbard converting the PAT. An uneventful first 15 minutes was played out with Ouse Valley leading by 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Colchester played their way back into the game during the second quarter and deservedly levelled when Bourke kept the ball on a triple-option play and swept into the Eagles’ endzone on a first and goal. The half-time score was tied at 7 points apiece.
The Eagles have been a second-half team so far this season securing all three of their wins in the last two minutes of each game. An improvement in performance was required in the second half. Matters did not improve immediately for the Eagles with Colchester taking the lead with a second touchdown from Bourke in the 3rd quarter. The Gladiators extended their advantage with a short run following a turnover in Eagles territory. A lead they would not relinquish.
The Eagles did find some momentum in the fourth quarter and a sustained drive saw Quarterback Justin Laroda find returning Tight End Jack Judge for a well-timed eight yard touchdown pass. The Eagles had the ball again as the clock was running down towards the end of the game. The Gladiator’s defence held strong though and time expired with Ouse Valley driving. The final score was 21-14 in favour of the home side.
Few Ouse Valley players can, in all honesty, be pleased with their performance and overall the Eagles did not match the standards set in earlier matches. They fall to 3 wins and 1 loss but retain top spot in the table based on fewest points conceded by teams with the same percentage record. The division promises to be a close run affair for the rest of the season as, with Ouse Valley and Farnham both losing this weekend, after four games there are no undefeated sides left.
Ouse Valley now has two weeks to prepare for two Inter Conference home fixtures back-to-back. Farnham Knights are next up in a top-of-the-table clash on 7 June with East Kent Mavericks visiting the following Sunday. An improvement in execution and effort will be both expected and needed against strong and experienced opposition. We look forward to seeing you all at Bedford International Athletics Stadium for these match-ups. Both kick-off at 12:00 Noon and the admission is £2.00 for adults.