American football: Monarchs dodge poorhouse

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The London Monarchs concluded their season with a 17-14 win over the Rhein Fire yesterday, thus avoiding the ignominy of ending the season with the poorest record in the World League.

Given that the contest was meaningless in terms of next week's World Bowl, the Monarchs will be satisfied with a crowd of 11,000 at Stamford Bridge, the first time American Football has graced Chelsea's ground. The result means the Monarchs finish the season with four wins from 10 games, the third-consecutive losing season in franchise history.

Nevertheless, it represents a commendable achievement given that the Londoners lost their first two contests, seemingly in disarray, and fired their head coach, Bobby Hammond.

The victory was especially pleasing for the London wide receiver Larry Wallace, who has been plagued by a foot injury for much of the campaign. Wallace scored three touchdowns in his last two games, including a 44- yard effort yesterday. Also pleased was the Monarchs' defensive end Jerry Drake, who yesterday managed a single sack of the Fire quarterback, Terry Dean, to finish up with a league-high eight sacks for the season.