Sunday 30th October saw the hotly anticipated Spartan derby match of the firsts vs seconds. As the ‘away’ team, the second team had a kit change (which almost all players remembered to bring!) and were rebranded the ‘White Spartans’ for the afternoon.
The game certainly lived up to its billing, starting at whirlwind pace but with both sides showing a good balance of frenzied attack and controlled defence. After an initial few minutes of both sets of galacticos’ attack and defence cancelling each other out, black Spartans took an early lead through Jenny ‘dependable’ Davis (now Nye). The thousands of home fans crammed into the Oasis Coliseum went berserk and the commentators indicated that this could be the start of the drubbing that the pundits had predicted. Five minutes in and the script was being followed, black Spartans were disrupting the attacking flow of white Spartans who spurned a few attacks through shot-clock violations, then with time running out on another attacking chance, seven-foot Sean’s shot from down town hit the money to even things up. The next few minutes saw a flurry of goals for both teams until – do my eyes deceive me??? – white Spartans take the lead! This was not the plan for the day and black Spartans were visibly rattled, fading into the shadows, was David (in his coaching role) going to have the spoils over Goliath? Goals were traded by both teams with (H)andy Nye settling into his form and Liam ‘hammer time’ Holden trading blows in attack. The first round of pit stops saw fresh legs (insert Idy Cheung-ligament related leg joke!) joining the field, maintaining the speed of the game and black Spartans managed to edge their noses in front going in 10-8 at half time, thanks to some quick scoring from Kat ‘long shot’ Leak.
White Spartans were roused by an emotional poetic speech from coach ‘Apollo’ Creed at half time and black Spartans decided it was time to take the safety off the big guns, unleashing the crowd favourite, James Read. Some well taken chances early in the second half allowed black Spartans to start to pull away but amazingly the crowd now favoured the underdog and were fully behind white Spartans. Some fantastic collect work from ‘hightower’ James Hart gave white Spartans a few bites at numerous cherries and the odds game started to pay with white Spartans closing the gap. Black Spartans were on the brink of a monumental collapse when referee Dinny ‘the enforcer’ remembered the huge bung he’d been paid at half time and blew the final whistle. The crowd couldn’t believe what they’d paid witness to, white Spartans fell to their knee in tears, exhausted and bloodied on the field of battle and black Spartans had snuck the victory by the width of a kitten’s whisker (well, 17-11). A fantastic advert for the game – a tight and physical contest fought in a superb spirit. Superb Performance Amid Racy Teams Afford No Sympathy
Final score 17-11 to Spartans 1st team
N.B. This match report was almost certainly written by a neutral (aka Tim E)