AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Essex Spartans got their home season off to a perfect start with 69 unanswered points against Maidstone Pumas.

Spartans, who play at Hannakins Farm, Billericay, opened the scoring on the very first drive.

Craig Willis scored the first of what would turn out to be a hat-trick of touchdowns. On a wet day, Spartans ran the ball for a total of seven offensive touchdowns, with Tom Woods adding two scores to his touchdown on debut last week. Zach Davies and Tom Ward also opened their accounts for the season in only their second game.

On the other side of the ball, the Spartans defence were also dominant, led by linebacker Harry Shelton who made a total of eight tackles. There was also a touchdown for lineman Billy Swick, who had seen a score ruled out the previous week for celebration. Brothers Ernest Owusu and Norris Owusu both returned a Maidstone punt for a touchdown, with Ernest also returning a missed field goal for a touchdown, rounding out an 11-score rout.

Spartans’ head coach Sean Benton said: “After last week’s difficult loss I challenged the players to cut out the errors and they responded. “This win sends out a real message to the other teams in our division that we’re here to play football and capable of winning games. “We now have two weeks of practice to prepare for our next two matches, the second of which is our ‘Battle for the Bridge’ game against local rivals Kent Exiles”

Essex Spartans return to action at home to London Hornets on May 11.