11th August 2003 - BSL Div.2 Quarter-Finals
Cambridgeshire Cats 9-6
Southern Sundevils (double OT)
A 24 yard Field Goal by Brian Jelley, 4.07 minutes into the SIXTH quarter sealed a
dramatic victory for the Cambridgeshire Cats, sponsored by Mickey Flynns American Pool in
Cambridge and the Royal Mail, in their Quarter Final clash with the Southern Sundevils
The Cats got off to the perfect start as strong running by Seth Campbell and Mark Spittle
set up a 25 yard pass from Quarterback Nick Tilbury to Wide Receiver Steve Peck to open
the scoring. Jelley's extra point attempt was missed but the Cats still led 6-0.
The sweltering conditions seemed to affect both teams as the game became dominated by
mistakes and penalties until Southern Running Back Gareth Dauley broke away from three
Cats tacklers to sprint home for a spectacular 75 yard touchdown run. The extra point
attempt failed and the half ended with the score tied 6-6.
Like the first half, the third quarter was dominated by errors, penalties and good
defensive play by both sides and the score remained tied.
The fourth quarter saw the Cats offence start to move the ball, behind powerful rushing by
Seth Campbell and Mark Spittle, driving into scoring range on a number of occasions. But
yet more mistakes, penalties and a blocked Brian Jelley Field Goal meant the score
remained 6-6 after 60 minutes of play.
So the game went into sudden death over time with the first team to score as the winners.
The one-two combination of Campbell and Spittle continued to work well for the Cats and
they had the first chance to win the game. But another Jelley field goal attempt was
blocked and the Sundevils regained possession inside the Cats half.
Powerful running by Gareth Dauley and Barry Minter saw the Sundevils move the ball to the
Cambridgeshire 5 yard line. The Cats defence, led by Linebacker Steve Bennett, dug in and
three plays later the Sundevils lined up to kick a field goal and seal victory. But
veteran defender Mickey Howling powered through the line to block the kick and give the
Cats a life line.
Yet more strong running by Campbell and Spittle saw the Cats move the ball from their own
4 yard line as the first period of Over time ended. Crucial Third Down Catches by Dave
Lemon and Steve Peck kept the Cats dreams alive before Booty Morris broke lose on a
brilliant 30 yard run to move the ball inside the Sundevils 10 yard line. Three runs later
and the Cats were in position for Jelley to make his game winning kick.
A stunned Cats Head Coach, Chris Wallis said, 'Wow! I'm shattered and I wasn't even
playing. The players from both sides gave everything today and must be exhausted. Double
over time games are very rare and the tension was incredible. But we held our nerve when
it mattered and came away with the win. Now I need a beer!'
Despite the errors and 12 penalties the Cats offence gained over 450 yards in total
offence. Runningback Seth Campbell led the way with 139 yards from 17 carries while
Fullback Mark Spittle weighed in with 126 yards from his 17 attempts.
On defence Linebackers Mickey Howling and Steve Bennett each made 15 tackles while
Defensive End Richard Rigby sacked the Southern Quarterback twice to go with his 8
Cambridgeshire will now face the Bristol Aztecs in the British Senior League National Semi
Finals this Sunday 17th August 2003 on Coldhams Common in Cambridge, Kick-off is at 1430.
For further information ring Head Coach Chris Wallis on 01480 461905 or check the teams
web site www.cambridgeshirecats.co.uk.