We spoke with Portsmouth Dreadnoughts Women’s Team Head Coach James Chard following the teams great performance in their first kitted tournament on Saturday.
PD: Hi Coach, thanks for speaking with us. How do you feel the tournament went?
JC: “We are very happy with the way our first tournament went. 2 wins from our first 2 games for a rookie team is an excellent start. Defensively we were solid, our fundamentals such as tackling and block shedding were much better than you would usually expect from such an inexperienced team. However, from going through the film there are some things we can definitely improve on. We know that we have to be a lot better in 2 weeks time if we want to have compete for this division”.
“Our offense was good for the most part, we had a shaky start but as soon as we settled the nerves we showed our true potential. We have not hidden the fact that we want to be a physical offense that can run the football, so it was great to see a great balance of tough runs for 5 or so yards, and the ability to break some long runs for touchdowns. We know that we left some points out on the field though so we have a way to go if we want to be a championship team.”.
PD: How do you feel the team adjusted from the flag season to a kitted tournament?
JC: “The adjustment was fantastic and better than we could have ever hoped for. We were the most physical team at the tournament, and it proved in our ability to both run the ball and stop the run. I think we may have been a little nervous at first but after the first few plays on both sides of the ball our players started to enjoy themselves more, which led to good performances across the ball”.
PD: You faced some of the division favourites in this first round and come out on top, how does this prepare you for the next tournament?
JC: “We beat 2 good teams in Wembley and Oxford but it means very little going forward. Our division has 2 other very tough teams that we have a lot of respect for and will be a great challenge. Oxford and Wembley will have been through the tape so will know what to expect when we play them again. If we don’t improve then we will struggle to win the next time we play them”.
“If anybody underestimated us on Saturday then they won’t next time. Oxford will be motivated to reverse the scoreline and we have to be ready, and Wembley are a great team who are always tough to beat. Every team in this division has great coaching staffs and we know that the same trick won’t beat them twice”.
PD: Who were your standout performers on the day?
JC: “QB Iiona Sennett was outstanding in her first ever starts, she was a true leader on the field and was key to our offenses ability to move the ball down the field. Abi Wade made some great downfield blocks, especially against Oxford which were a huge reason for the success that we had running the football. Our running backs and receivers would be quick to praise her for giving Iiona time to throw downfield and clearing out a path to run behind.”
“Defensively we were outstanding across the board but our standouts were the trio of Chloe Ranger, Hattie Amis and Charyle Mercer. Chloe and Hattie both scored defensive touchdowns which were amazing and Charyle set the tone with her incredibly physical play”.
PD: Can we expect any changes going into the next round?
JC: “We will have to make a few adjustments to improve, we will go through the tape again to work out where we can be better. We know that we have to be a much better team on the 11th of March if we want to win 2 games again”.