|Match report - Personal Assurance Knights 26 - 0 London Blitz
In an atmosphere of Deja-vu the Knights secured their entry into the top level play offs
with a repeat of the previous weekends score.
The Blitz received the opening kick off and the Knights defense went to work stamping
their authority on the game from the outset on their way to restricting the visitors to
less than 100yds in Offense.
The home team offense took over and drove confidently and relentlessly to an opening score
on a drive that was underpinned by excellent running from Rob Scruby and Keith Theobald.
The drive was completed by a bullet pass from young QB Ashley Heath to WR Dayle Kirby from
5yds out. The extra point attempt failed and the Knights led 6-0.
The ensuing Knights kick off was fumbled by the visitors and recovered by Stephen
Hollingdale giving the home team Offense another immediate chance to stretch the lead. The
Knights were in no mood to spurn such a chance, realising a win would put them into the
National Div1 play offs for the first time in their 17 year history. Adedayo Ashaye and
Paul Wakeford supplied the running support but it was QB Heath who found paydirt again.
Wide Receiver Jonny Allen, who has missed most of the season, was on the same wavelength
as the young QB wriggled free from the Blitz Defense and found Allen diving at full
stretch for a spectacular scoring catch from 19yds out. This time Andy Smythe nailed the
extra point and the Knights led 13-0.
The second quarter saw the Knights defense turn on the style stopping the Blitz 3 times
from close in (one attempt ended in a missed Blitz field goal attempt). Jez McLees led the
tackling but it was often two or three Columbia blue shirts that swarmed to the ball
carrier as the home team defenders pursued their fourth shut out of the season.
Turning around at 13-0 the Knights faced their nemises - the third quarter. In their
Division 2 Championship season in 2000 the third period had been their most productive -
and yet in this season they had failed to score a single point in the third period in 7
attempts. After the kick off the Knights took over on their own 21yd line. Punishing runs
from Paul Wakeford, Pete Fulford and Keith Theobald saw them pound their way to the Blitz
20 yd line. Then it seemed that the jinx had hit
again as a penalty and a QB sack saw them facing a third down and long situation. A switch
of formations in the Knights multi-set approach saw 4 Receivers on the field. QB Heath hit
WR John Clarke with a perfect spiral from 34yds out to break the third quarter duck. The
extra point failed and the Knights led 19-0.
The Blitz continued to make a game of it despite the heat and the scoreline against them.
In the fourth quarter however Stephen Hollingdale made a diving interception to set up
another Knights attack. The Knights ground game was in full swing with all 7 of the
Knights running backs getting an opportunity to contribute. The drive was finished of by
Senior Team rookie Paul Wakeford the young back has dominated Youth football for the past
2-3 years gaining honours with the
GB Youth squad. He opened his British Senior League account powering in from 1yd out
behind the now rampant blocking of his backfield colleagues and the Knights Offensive
line. Smythe again nailed the extra point and the score stood at 26-0 to the home team
(co-incidentally the exact same score as the previous weeks meeting between these teams).
The Knights Defense kept control of the visitors and the Offense ran out the clock for a
final 26-0 win.
Knights Head Coach Steve Rains said " As is traditional I got a good soaking from the
water bucket at the end of the game and I have never been happier to take what was comimg
to me. This team has done the Club, our Sponsors, the Surrey/Hants area and themselves
proud. We came into this season as the new boys after winning Division 2 last year, we
lost 27 names off that Championship squad and people generally wrote us off. They
confirmed their views when we lost the first two games of theseason as we blended a mix of
newly aquired players, returning players and youth/rookie players into a team. All credit
to the players and my coaching staff - we built a team that has got stronger from week to
week. We still have room for improvement but we are now in the play-offs with a
visit on 12th August to either Gateshead or Portsmouth - we will approach that game with
relish its an unexpected bonus to us and we have nothing to lose or fear".
Assistant Head Coach Pete Vaughan added " This was another complete performance from
the team - every department did its job. Its tough playing a team back to back but the
players were disciplined and simply got down to work from the very first whistle"
Knights Supporters Club Chairman Andy Solstyak said " What can you say - this team
have an air of awsomeness about them. They fulfilled our dreams last year with the
National Div 2 title and less than a year later they are delivering post season play in
their first year back in Division 1. We will be on the road for the play-offs but the
people in the Guildford area can be proud of the team - lets get more people along to
support the Knights (and the Youth team and University team) in