American Football: Monarchs keep on losing

The England Monarchs' wretched season continued its downward spiral when they were defeated 12-7 by the Rhein Fire in Dusseldorf on Saturday night.

The Monarchs have won just one of their eight NFL Europe games, and with two contests remaining they are on course for the worst record in their six-year history.

As with so many other matches this year, the Monarchs gave their all, only to finish empty-handed. The Fire were held without a touchdown as the England defense produced another sterling performance. Offensively, however, the team continued to toil in vain, despite the efforts of the quarterback, Josh LaRocca, and the wide receiver, Reggie Jones.

Even at the last, the Monarchs could have stolen it but LaRocca's throw- and-hope pass into the end zone ended up in the hands of the Fires' Kerry Joseph.

Although they dominated the opening half, the Fire could only muster two field goals from Danny Kight and the 48-year-old German, Manfred Burgsmuller.

Despite being outplayed, the visitors took the lead late in the third period, LaRocca throwing a nine-yard touchdown to Jones. However, Burgsmuller and Kight both added further field goals to deepen English gloom.

It was a scrappy contest marred by poor officiating and there were more penalties assessed than points scored with each team penalised for more than 100 yards. The most blatant infraction saw the England receiver Alan Allan impeded in the end zone on the game's final play. The official had a perfect view of the incident but decided against taking action.