Farnham Knights

Payback! Knights avenge last second loss

Credits James Ray

Fixtures & Results

Date Venue   Opponent Result
03 Jul, 2:30 pm A Bristol Aztecs 51 - 55
17 Jul, 2:30 pm H South Wales Warriors 32 - 14
31 Jul, 2:30 pm A London Olympians 0 - 0

In the corresponding home fixture the Knights lost by one point with the Aztecs scoring with just 3 seconds remaining – the Knights went to Bristol and took revenge winning a points fest by 4 points.

Aaron Sekwalor ran for 425yds and 5 touchdowns and passed to Stealey-J Wills for a 65yd touchdown helping the Knights to secure an upset win over the Aztecs who just a few weeks ago beat the number 2 team in the country.

The 425yds smashes the Knights single game rushing record set by Sekwalor in the corresponding home fixture and the 5TD’s equals the record held by Kingsley Ejiogu and Benjamin Chuckwu-Onu – and this from a young player in his first year at Senior level having graduated from the Knights Juniors this year. Those figures bring his tally for the two games against Bristol this year to 70 carries for 752yds 9TD’s – the Aztecs have to be pleased they will not see him and his blockers again this year! It also takes the young Knight beyond the 1,000yd mark for the season.

Of course the win was not all about one player as the Knights as a team battled their way to a hard fought victory in a 106 point game despite at one point trailing by two clear scores.

Bristol have a potent passing attack and started strongly with a passing score as Gareth Thomas hit Aaron Linley from 20yds out. The score was converted for a 7-0 lead.

The Knights hit back with Aaron Sekwalor and Alex Head picking up yardage before Sekwalor broke clear on a 64yd touchdown run – Ally Reid ran in the two point conversion and the Knights led 7-8

The Aztecs air attack was proving difficult for the Knights even with Ash-Lee James (back for his first game of the season) and Bart Bashary having stand out days in the Knights defensive backfield – the home team scored again as QB Thomas found star man Joe Cotterill on a 40yd catch and run. Again the extra point kick was good – 14-8

The Knights ground game used up the clock and the rest of the 1st Quarter but the Aztecs had the ball back as the 2nd Quarter started.

QB Thomas was spreading the ball around his receivers and stretched the Aztecs lead with his third touchdown throw this time to Blair Gordon and with the kick finding its spot the home team led 21-8.

Knights offense in action

The Knights were making yards – but Bristol were keeping them out of the endzone and when Joe Cotterill slotted a 24 yards Field Goal for an Aztec 24-8 lead the Knights looked to be in serious trouble.

The Knights looked to have hit straight back with an electrifying kick off return from Stephen Godfrey which saw him race 90yds to paydirt – however an illegal block saw the visitors backed up to their own 23yd line.

With Ally Reid in his 3rd game at QB since the Knights lost their two starting play callers for the season things are beginning to come back together and with Michael Bradley-Banszki, last years stand out Junior graduate, properly fit for the first time this year Reid found the young receiver on the next play to send the Knights straight back to the end zone with a 77yd catch and run. Reid then found Ben Poppy for the two point conversion pass and the Aztecs lead narrowed to 24-16.

The Knight Defense held firm on the next Aztec possession and with the home team still playing hard against the run QB Reid found rookie Joe Edwards for a 32yd passing gain which set the Knights up in good field position.

Following his blocks on a perfectly executed running play Aaron Sekwalor ran the ball to the Aztec 4yd line – a 1yd gain on the next play was followed by a 3yd scoring run which put the Knights at 24-22 and the chance to tie the game up – Bristol however managed to stop the two point conversion as Reid fumbled the ball in his attempt to set up to pass.

The Knights stopped the Aztecs again on their next drive – but this time the home team dug deep and the visitors were forced to punt. That set up one last drive in the half for the Aztecs and after a penalty at the Knights 3yd line QB Gareth Thomas ran in for 6 points and with the conversion the Aztecs led 31-22 at the half.

The 3rd quarter has not been kind to the Knights this year and already 9 points trailing the visitors could not afford to slip further behind. The coaching staff challenged the Knights to come out fighting – and they did.

Reid appeared to be sacked on the first play of the 2nd half and fumbled the ball – 6 foot 7in 20yr old Offensive Tackle Toby Lettman in just his 2nd season in the sport picked up the fumble and, in a rare opportunity to touch the ball, he rumbled 14yds downfield to give the Knights a first down.

Inspired the Knights with Sekwalor and full back JP Jones picking up yardage drove deep into Aztec territory – Wide Receiver Stephen Godfrey then saw Reids pass escape his fingertip grab for a score and the Knights had been stopped at the Bristol 3yd line. Was this an ominous sign of the 3rd quarter jinx?

Josh Oakley makes the tackle - Knights D

The Aztecs were pinned deep in their own half and the Knights Defense stood firm forcing them to punt. Aaron Sekwalor broke a big run on the Knights first play and then brought the ball within 1yd of scoring – that was the signal for full back JP Jones to open his scoring account for the year as he powered the 1yd required for a Knights score. Without their star kicker John Symons or either of his two back ups the Knights had held kicker try outs before the game started – the winner was returning DB Ash-Lee James and he stepped up to successfully convert the score for a 31-29 scoreline putting the Knights within a Field Goal of the lead.

The Knights were buoyant – Bristol clearly concerned – and the Knights Special Team took clear advantage as a jarring hit on the Kick off by Ben Monk saw the Bristol returner spill the ball and Max Schmidt recovered it for the Knights.

One play was all it took as the Aztecs nemesis Sekwalor took the hand off and raced 47yds for his third score. Another fumble on the 2 point conversion saw the Knights lead contained at 31-35 – but the Aztecs lead had been wiped out and they would never regain it.

The Knights Defense was on fire – and an 8yd sack from Vasily Fedotov and two crunching gang tackles forced the Aztecs to punt on their next possession.

Sekwalor broke a 32yd run – then 3yd then 14yds to set up his 14yd run for his 4th score of the day. The extra point kick went narrowly wide and the score stood at 31-41 as the third quarter ended – the Knights had won their jinx quarter by 19-0 and it was to prove decisive.

So to the final quarter and of course some trepidation from the Knights supporters having seen a determined Bristol side come back in the home fixture to win by a single point – all they needed was a converted TD and a Field Goal to do the same again.

Sekwalor on his way

The teams exchanged possessions as the tension mounted – then on a penalty assisted drive Bristol scored a QB Thomas hit his favourite target Cotterill from 30yds out for 6 points then threw the necessary 2 point conversion to put the Knights fans on the edge of their seats 39-41

It took one play to help settle those nerves as the confident rookie stand out Sekwalor passed 65yds to the Knights leading receiver Stealy-J Wills for a valuable trick play touchdown – the Knights struggles with conversions, which could have been so costly, continued as a poor snap saw kicked James given no chance 39-47

Bristol kept up the pressure – a defeat at the hands of the Knights would completely nullify their surprise triumph over the #2 rated London Blitz and they were determined not to let that happen.

A solid drive with 4 completions from QB Thomas saw them set up at the Knights 2yd line from where Alex Reilly ran in the ball for 6 points – the conversion would see the Aztecs level the score – but in a moment of madness Reilly committed an unsportsmanlike penalty for over celebration of the TD and the 15yds penalty was too much for the Aztecs on the 2 point conversion try 45-47.

A vital 3rd down catch from Michael Bradley-Banszki kept the Knights drive alive – and cometh the hour etc  up stepped Aaron Sekwalor to race 38yds for his record equalling 5th score. Ally Reid ran in the 2 point conversion and the Knights fans breathed again as their lead went back to 10 points 45-55.

The teams rapidly exchanged possession twice with emergency punter Bart Bashary doing a great job placing the home team in poor field position. With less than 2 minutes remaining however they staged a determined drive to Gareth Thomas 30yd scoring pass to Joe Cotterill – their 2 point conversion failed and the score stood at 51-55

Time for a last drama – the Aztecs predictably went for an onside kick to try to recover the ball and have a last chance to win the game. They kicked and the Knights recovered the ball – but the kick had been taken before the referees whistled the ball ready for play – so the Aztecs were given the chance to try again!

This time the home team recovered the ball – but committed a penalty themselves which gave the Knight possession and the chance to run out the clock for a huge win.

The Knights play next on the 17th July at home to the South Wales Warriors at Farnham Rugby Club – KO 2-30pm

Passing: B Bashary 9S 3A
Ash-Lee James 5S 4A
J Vince 3S 6A
M Williams 2S 7A + 1FR
M Schmidt 3S 4A + 1FR
V Fedotov 3S 4A + 1Sack
J Oakley 4S + 1Int
B Monk 2S 2A + 1FF
T Roberts 1S 3A
R Balderson 1S 2A
D Ryans 1S 1A +1FF
A Kerbey 1S 1A
A Makinen  1S
D Francis 1S
K Goswell 1A
C Giblett 1A
B Schatten 1A
A  Reid 6 of 18 for 136yds 1TD
A Sekwalor 1 of 1 for 65yds 1TD
M Bradley-Banszki 3 for 88yds 1TD
S Wills 1 for 65yds 1TD
J Edwards 1 for 32yds
A Sekwalor 1 for 9yds
S Godfrey 1 for 7yds
A Sekwalor 41 for 425yds  5TD
J P Jones 4 for 14yds 1TD
T Lettman 1 for 14yds
A Head 2 for 7yds
A Reid 2 for 0yds
S Godfrey 2 for 35yds
M Bradley – Banszki 2 for 36yds
A Kerbey 1 for 5yds
S Godfrey 1 for 10yds
Rushing 50 for 460yds  6TD
Passing 7 of 19 for 201yds 2TD
TOTAL 69 for  661yds  8TD



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