6th May 2001 - O's and Bulls win big

PA Knights 0-31 London O's

The Knights found out early that life in Division one is tough. From the opening kick off the London O's held the Guildford based team deep in their own territory. The Knights defense were on good form and forced turnovers when it seemed certain the National Champions would score. The O's special teams and their own Defense however had the Knights pinned down and it was only a matter of time until that field position advantage paid off.

The opening score came late in the first quarter as Knights QB Steve Donlevy tried to find a receiver open - the ball was tipped and the O's ran the interception back 40yds to score. Andy Boyle then slotted the PAT and the O's led 7-0 at the end of the quarter.

There may not be an Elm Street in Guildford but for the second quarter the Varsity Centre made a good substitute - it was certainly a nightmare for the Knights. Having given up the ball on a highly disputed fumble the home team then compounded the situation with a 15yd penalty. The O's needed no second invitation and a 10yd run backed by Boyles PAT made it 14-0 O's.

It got worse for the home team as another Donlevy interception saw the visitors take over deep in Knights territory. Stuart Franklin starting at QB for the O's found an open receiver from 10yds out and Andy Boyle again obliged to make it 21-0 to the visitors.

Things can only get better?? Not in this quarter for the Knights. Nick Preece made an impressive return to the offensive backfield on his first run - the second one however saw a swarming O's defense strip the ball and return it 29yds for another score  - almost inevitably Boyle struck the extra point,  28-0 to London.

The Knights defense were called upon again as the Offense gave up the ball on a fumble. This time they rose to the challenge forcing the O's to kick a field goal from 39yds out - yes it was that man Boyle again. London led 31-0.

Half time saw the Knights coaching staff go to work and it was clear that it was a different team that came out for the second half. Young QB Ashley Heath had taken over and the Knights offense suddenly found the ability to gain yards through tough running from Paul Wakeford, Rob Scruby. Adedayo Ashaye and Zizwani Mhango.

Heath's mobility was also a factor as he scrambled for vital yardage to keep the home team alive. The O's defense matched their home team counterparts and both offenses were struggling to make a significant impact. At one point the Knights Offense found another gear and drove to the O's 20yd line before giving up the ball on downs.

Nick Preece found himself leading the Knights Defense after his brief appearance on the offense and they continued to force errors from the slightly understrengh  London team. Neither offense could find paydirt - and if anything it certainly looked like the Heath led Knights were more likely to break the second half deadlock.

The scoring for the day was however complete and the half time 0-31 scoreline remained as the final result when the game ended.Neither passing attack could have been satisfied but the O's ground game, and the Knights errors, proved to be the difference between the teams.

Bright spots for the Knights were the performances from some of the younger players notably Heath at QB and Paul "Benny" Wakeford at running back in his first Senior League game having moved up from the youth team.

Knights Head Coach Steve Rains said " We didn't get the breaks in the first half - and certainly did not help ourselves with some of the errors. We will use the excellent second half performance as the springboard for the next game - the O's are the top team in the country and they showed it today in taking full advantage of the opportunities we gave them".