Spartans end season with defeat

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 August 2013

Essex Spartans lost to Bedfordshire Blue Raiders in their final match of the 2013 season (Pic: Mikey Cartwright/Ponderosa Pix)

Essex Spartans lost to Bedfordshire Blue Raiders in their final match of the 2013 season (Pic: Mikey Cartwright/Ponderosa Pix)

Mikey Cartwright |

Coach Saunders steps down

Essex Spartans closed out a forgettable 2013 campaign with a 13-0 loss to the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders at Hannakins Farm.

But events off the field made the day more memorable than the result as head coach Marc Saunders announced his retirement from the playing and coaching ranks after three years at the helm of the Billericay-based ooutfit.

It was a decision Saunders described as “emotional” but on a lighter note, the Spartans were visited by former NFL star and current Sky TV studio analyst Cecil Martin, who flew in from Brussels in time to arrive for the second half of the game.

Martin cheered the Spartans on from the sidelines and remained with the team after the final whistle to join their end-of-season reflections.

On the field, two closely-matched teams battled it out in a tight and nervy contest.

Spartans found themselves 7-0 down in the opening quarter and with their offence again struggling, the defence picked up the slack.

The hosts held firm to ensure the first half ended with no further scoring and after a rousing half-time speech from Martin, the Spartans fought on as they looked for only their second victory of the season.

An aerial score from the visitors extended their lead to 13 points and Spartans were unable to consistently move the ball as they suffered a ninth defeat of the season.

Departing Spartans coach Saunders said: “I have had both the honour and the pleasure of being the head coach of the Spartans for over three years and feel it’s time for a change for both myself and the team.

“I will keep very close to the team and wish them every success in the future.”

Spartans now enter their off-season and will look to rebuild ahead of their 2014 campaign. For more information visit

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Romford Recorder