PORTSMOUTH DREADNOUGHTS got their season off to a dream start with a win at rivals Bournemouth Bobcats.
Touchdowns in the first and final quarters from Joe Cowan and Jack Clayton were enough to earn them a 14-8 victory at Chapel Gate.
It is the first time the Dreadnoughts have beaten the Bobcats.
Head coach Luke Head-Rapson said it is a result he was desperate to secure and waxed lyrical about his side’s performance.
He said: ‘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.
‘Scott Quade played really well, particularly from an organisation standpoint, and kept everything controlled.
‘We want to try and finish with a winning season and 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.
‘If we can win in two weeks time at Maidstone, maybe we can get the ball rolling.’
The visitors set the tone early, forcing the Bobcats to punt on their first play after denying them 10 yards on third down.
Late in the first quarter, the deadlock was broken.
Dreadnoughts quarterback Stu Rees threw a long pass to wide-receiver Cowan, who forced himself into the end zone while fighting off two Bobcats players.
They failed to convert for the extra two points and finished the quarter leading 6-0.
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 end zone making the score 6-6.
During the third quarter both teams defended strongly.
Although the Dreadnoughts made it up the field, they were unable to turn the good field positions into points.
In 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 Clayton gave him the time to run the ball into the end zone for a second Dreadnoughts touchdown.
The two-point conversion was caught by tight end Ash Mallalieu and the score was 14-6.
Bobcats scored a two-point safety in the closing stages but the Dreadnoughts held out for the victory.