Cambridge Pythons beat Essex Blades, put themselves in playoff position
The Cambridge Pythons played the Essex Blades in a close fought, hard hitting match. After regulation, the score was 6-6 and the Pythons scored the winning field goal in sudden death overtime to win 9-6.
The first quarter went quickly with a lot of running plays causing the game to be played at a fast pace. Essex didn’t manage to get going, while Cambridge drove the length of the field, helped by a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt, before throwing an interception which ended the drive.
In the second quarter, this pattern continued. Cambridge managed to put together good long drives before stumbling deep in opposition territory. At the same time the Pythons’ defence largely stopped the Blades moving the ball at all.
The last drive of the quarter, however, was a Cambridge drive from their 38 yard line. The first three plays were ineffective, but Joe Moore converted the vital fourth down which provided the spark the offence needed. After the successful conversion and more productive running including a long quarterback scramble from Joe Yarwood Cambridge got to the four yard line with three seconds of the half left. The decision was made to go for the touchdown instead of settling for the field goal, the final play of the half was a Moore run up the middle for a touchdown to put Cambridge up 6-0 heading into the break.
Cambridge got the ball back to start the second half but could not make anything of it, eventually punting it to Essex. Essex only needed one play to score, 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, which ended the productive drive and gave the ball back to Essex.
The fourth quarter included two long Cambridge drives, the first of which ended with a fumble on the Essex 24 yard line, and the last ended with an attempted field goal as time ran out which would have won the game for Cambridge, which was blocked. This meant that the score was 6-6 and the game was headed to overtime.
The first Cambridge drive of overtime again ended with a fumble, this time just short of the Essex end zone, giving Essex the opportunity to win on their possession. But the Cambridge defence held strong, forcing a sack-fumble which was recovered by Essex and almost intercepting a pass, then blocking the possible game winning 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 confusion as Cambridge went for the field goal, leading to a penalty which caused the ball to be moved back ten yards before the kick. Despite this Jack Tavener’s kick was perfect, winning the game for the Pythons with a final score of 9-6.
The win was 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.