WORCESTERSHIRE Black Knights opened their debut season in the British American Football Association’s (BAFA) National League Division Two South West Conference, with a narrow 8-6 loss to Torbay Trojans in Devon on Sunday.
Playing their first-ever game at the national level, the Black Knights travelled to the south coast with a squad of more than 40 players as they looked to get their season off to a winning start.
After the first drive for both sides ended in a punt, the visitors recorded five first downs from their 26-yard line, courtesy of drives from running back Jay Styles and full back Sam Bennett.
Five yards from the end zone, Black Knights made more history when running back Mike Harris secured the club’s first-ever league touchdown to open a 6-0 lead, although the extra point attempt was blocked by the Trojans.
Entering the second quarter, Black Knights were forced to punt deep downfield on fourth down, but the resulting punt was blocked by a Trojans player on the eight-yard line.
This proved costly as three plays later the hosts had the ball in the end zone to level the scores, before they successfully ran the ball in for a two-point conversion to edge 8-6 ahead.
The Black Knights defence stepped up as defensive lineman Alex Grimsley and linebacker Josh Chambers recovered fumbles to give the offence great field position, but the team were unable to capitalise before the break.
Torbay received the ball in the second half, but another fumble recovery gifted the Black Knights possession.
Both team’s offences were struggling to move the chains as the defences continued to force fourth downs.
A long pass by Black Knights quarterback Alex Tailford to wide receiver Mike Cimarosti meant the visitors progressed to Torbay’s 20-yard line, but a fourth down running play left the ball spotted agonisingly short of the first down marker.
Black Knights’ defence stalled the Trojans deep into the fourth quarter which provided them with one last chance to steal the win.
After more solid running by Styles and quarterback Ben Dillon, the team had the ball on the Trojan’s 30-yard line, but the fourth down all-or-nothing play was intercepted by a Torbay safety to end the game.
The Black Knights take on the Jurassic Coast Raptors this Sunday at Kings Norton Rugby Club (Kick-off 2.30pm).