The Portsmouth Dreadnoughts led throughout their first contact series, narrowly missing out on first place to the Wembley Stallions in the final round. The team finished their first ever season with a 6-2 record, a great achievement for such an inexperienced team, though were naturally upset to not finish on top.
We spoke to some of the players to see how they found the Sapphire series.
Wide receiver, Lucy Moss: “Sapphire was a big step up from Opal physically for everyone and we didn’t really know what to expect. We all played to the best of our ability and really gelled as a team throughout the series especially against the well established teams. Although the final outcome wasn’t what we had been hoping for I think we can all be really proud of how we performed and what we achieved as a rookie team”.
Running back, Izzie Clay: “I had great fun competing in Sapphire. It was my first contact season, so it was definitely a brilliant achievement to come second with the Dreadnoughts against some great competition. Each round came with different challenges but I really loved training to meet them and progressing throughout the series”.
Offensive Line, Abi Wade: “I enjoyed sapphire a lot, we did well as a team. At times, I felt we weren’t hitting each other enough, not taking people to the ground in training due to the risk of injury and ultimately, that gave Wembley the lead”.
Defensive Line, Annie Donohue: “This was my first time playing full contact American Football and I absolutely loved it. Playing nose tackle certainly gave me the ability to use my 5 years of playing as second row in rugby to good use.
I loved the fact that everyone on my team is like family we’re all in it together it doesn’t matter if you’ve just started playing American Football or you have been playing for years, we all have each other’s backs on and off the field.
The Sapphire Series for me is a starting point to building bigger and better things for the team, we may have only been a rookie team but we certainly didn’t play like one. Everyone on the team played our hearts out and we left everything on the field it was all or nothing for us. For us to come second it certainly made a few heads turn”.
After speaking with the players, we interviewed Head Coach James Chard as to the Sapphire Series and what his plans are for the team over summer.
PD: How do you feel the team performed during the Sapphire Series?
JC: “I believe that the team performed well for most of Sapphire, but at times we could have done better. We are happy with what we achieved but we are always looking to improve”.
PD: How will you continue to develop the team?
JC: “We will look to get better across the board, we are lucky to have such a talented team and it us up to us as coaches to get the most our of their potential”.
PD: What are your plans for the summer months?
JC: “We will be training twice a week as usual over the summer so that we are fully prepared for next season. We will be training both flag and contact in order to be competitive at both levels. Personally I will be working with the Senior team during the summer as their defensive backs coach, which is a very exciting opportunity”.