Spartans storm to another win
HALTON SPARTANS .......................... 52 MORECAMBE BAY STORM .............. 18 HE Halton Spartans improved their record to 5-1 with another powerful performance as they saw off the Morecambe Bay Storm 52-18 at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Storm put up a strong fight, on what was a very hot day but the Spartans reaped the benefits of a larger squad as the game progressed.
The game kicked-off with the Spartans receiving the ball. Charlie Nash made a great return, allowing the Spartans’ offence to start in good field position.
The first drive for the Spartans, however, was an unproductive three and out, as was Morecambe’s.
It was the second drive of the game that saw the Spartans offence spark into life, with quarterback Tom Everson connecting with the everdependable receiver Ross Dryden for a touchdown. The extra point was duly converted by Matty Fitzsimons for a 7-0 lead.
The rest of the opening quarter seemed to be blighted by penalties, a theme that continued throughout the game.
As the stanza drew to a close the Spartans attempted a 30-yard field goal but it sailed wide of the target.
The second quarter saw the Storm step up their game and a pair of unconverted touchdowns saw them establish a 12-7 lead.
Halton’s running game finally clicked and the running back trio of
TDan Morris, Craig Owen and Alex Martin made some great runs.
Martin bagged himself a couple of rushing touchdowns, one of which was converted by Fitzsimons, and the Spartans took a 20-12 lead into the interval. The Storm received the ball at the start of the third quarter, only for the Spartans’ defence to hold them to three and out.
Spartans running back Owen had a touchdown called back for a penalty but the offence regrouped and Morris crossed for a six-pointer to improve the home side’s lead to 26-12.
Morecambe hit back with a third unconverted touchdown to bring them within eight points of Halton.
The Spartans’ offence responded on their very next drive, Owen making another dazzling dash to cross into paydirt.
A two-point conversion effort failed and the third quarter ended with Halton ahead 32-18.
It was the fourth quarter that saw the Spartans finally pull away from the Storm as their larger squad and player rotation allowed their offence in particular to take full advantage.
On special teams, punt returner Billy Forest continued to make great yards from the Storm kicks deep into Halton territory while on defence, linebacker Dave Tickle made the first interception of the day.
The Spartans’ offence scored three touchdowns in the final quarter.
Quarterback Rik Lowthion sneaked in for one before Owen completed a 60-yard scamper for another, that was converted by Fitzsimons.
The final touchdown of the game ● came from Morris bringing the score at the end of the game to 52-18.
Halton head coach Ian Beattie was in a reflective mood after the game.
He said: “Whilst we ended up winning the game, in what looks like a one-sided affair it was far from that.
“In many areas of our game today we did not execute well, and the players all need to step up a level when we take on the unbeaten Romans in a couple of weeks’ time.
“This game is all about confidence but at times today we lacked composure and did not do the simple things right.
“If it wasn’t for some great running from our trio of running backs, the scoreline could have been very different. The hard work and adjustments have already started as we must be better prepared for Chester.” ● The Spartans’ next home game is a week on Sunday – July 15 – when they host the unbeaten Chester Romans. The concourse bar will be open, with plenty of entertainment on throughout the game to make it a great family day out. See the team’s official Facebook page for pricing details.
Halton Spartans running back Dan Morris aims to dash upfield against the Morecambe Bay Storm during Sunday afternoon’s encounter at the Select Security Stadium.