The Portsmouth Dreadnoughts opened their season with an away win against the Bournemouth Bobcats.
Touchdowns in both the first and final quarters were enough to earn them a 14-8 victory at Chapel Gate.
It is the first time the Dreadnoughts have beaten the Bobcats and head coach Luke Head-Rapson was pleased with the result.
‘This is something I’ve wanted for a long time.
‘They have been our rivals but we haven’t made them feel the same way; it is nice to give them something to think about.
‘I was impressed with our defence and our new captains did great.
‘Our whole defensive line, Aldo Navarro, Jake Hancock and Thomas Usai were brilliant. It meant I didn’t have to blitz the whole game and we could release players into coverage. That was key.
‘Scott Quade played really well, particularly from a organisation standpoint and kept everything controlled.’
The match was a defensive affair with both sides wanting to win their first game. The visitors set the tone early forcing the Bobcats to punt on their first play after denying them 10 yards on third-down. A sack on the next play by defensive lineman Usai kept the scoreline at 0-0.
Late in the first quarter, the deadlock was broken.
Dreadnoughts’ quarterback Stu Rees threw a long pass to wide receiver John Cowan who forced himself into the endzone while fighting off two Bobcats players.
They failed to convert for the extra two points and finished the quarter leading 6-0.
As the match went on, the visitors’ defence started to dominate. A tackle from safety Joe Clulow and defensive back Adam Cleaver forced a fumble which was recovered by line-backer Quade. But despite a slow start, the Bobcats got back into the match as the half drew to a close. A pass from their quarterback was caught in the endzone making the score 6-6.
During the third quarter, both teams defended strongly and, although the Dreadnoughts made it up the field, they were unable to turn the good field positions into points.
At the start of the fourth quarter a penalty by the home side gave the Dreadnoughts the advantage and they started on the seven-yard line.
Great foot work from wide receiver Jack Clayton gave him the time to run the ball into the endzone for a second Dreadnoughts touchdown. The two-point conversion was caught by tight end Ash Mallalieu and the score was 14-6.
With the clock running down, a Dreadnoughts’ punt was blocked and rolled into the endzone giving the Bobcats a safety and two points.
But the Dreadnoughts managed to hold out until the final whistle and get a 14-8 win.
And with victory secured, Head-Rapson is looking for a winning season from his squad.
‘We want to try and finish with a winning season and make a push for the play-offs.
‘I really think this is the year we can make some noise and beating Bournemouth is a stepping stone to that.
‘It puts us in a great position and if we can win in two weeks time at Maidstone maybe we can get the ball rolling.’
Final Score: Dreadnoughts 14 – 8 Bobcats
written by Elisha Pilmoor