American football; Monarchs hold on with rare authority

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The Independent Online
By Nick Halling

England Monarchs 17 Barcelona Dragons 5

HAVING contrived a variety of ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the England Monarchs finally managed a win with a well deserved 17-5 triumph over the Barcelona Dragons at Crystal Palace yesterday.

The win, only England's second of the season, means that the Dragons will not be able to defend their World Bowl title in the season finale in two weeks time.

The toothless Dragons were restricted to a field goal from Jesus Angoy in the first quarter, and were gifted a two-point safety on one of the Monarchs' rare errors.

In contrast the home side looked sharp. An opening drive culminated in a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh LaRocca to Alan Allen. Before the Dragons had regained their breath LaRocca struck again, this time a 31-yard pass to Reggie Jones.

The Dragons' quarterback, Jim Ritchey, had a particularly stressful time, constantly harried and pressured by Ben Williams and Carlos Fowler as the Monarchs blitzed relentlessly and effectively.

The only score of the second half was a 41-yard field goal from the England kicker, Don Silvestri, who enjoyed an eventful afternoon. Earlier in the game he had attempted a massive 63-yard kick, only to see it fall agonisingly short, an image that effectively summed up the Monarchs' season.