Dawkins runs rings round Monarchs

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The London Monarchs slipped to their second defeat in three games when the unbeaten Amsterdam Admirals ground out a punishing 17-10 victory at White Hart Lane yesterday.

A more pressing issue than the result, however, was the size of the crowd. Less than 9,000 attended the Monarchs' first home game of the new World League season, a far cry from the heady days of 30,000 audiences at Wembley four years ago.

Those that did attend witnessed a display of powerful running and uncompromising defence from the Admirals, whose poise and authority belied their pre- season status as underdogs.

The Monarchs certainly did not help their own cause. Victor Ebubedike fumbled the ball on his team's first offensive play. The Admirals recovered and shortly afterwards the running back Ralph Dawkins scored the first of his two touchdowns.

Dawkins was too strong for the Monarchs. He carried the ball 40 times for 164 yards, adding the game-winning score on a seven-yard run late in the third quarter.

London's only touchdown came in the opening session, when their quarterback, Brad Johnson, connected with Larry Wallace over 26 yards. Thereafter, the Monarchs were unable to generate much momentum, and when Dawkins hit his stride defeat was inevitable.

"The crowd was what we expected," the Monarchs' general manager, Gareth Moores, said. "After a hiatus of three years we knew that coming back was not going to be easy. However, the fans that did come enjoyed themselves and will spread the message. By the end of the season, I'm confident you'll see a lot more fans in this stadium."

A crowd of 25,000 saw the Scottish Claymores achieve their first win, 20-14 in Frankfurt on Saturday. A thrilling game was settled with 44 seconds left when Siran Stacey scored his second touchdown.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31