SPIRITS were high for the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts after they secured their first win of the season.
Two early touchdowns against home-side Hastings Conquerors saw them control most of the game on Sunday.
Head coach Luke Head-Rapson praised his side and said getting the first win of the season was a big relief.
‘It feels great to win the first game and I am extremely proud of the players,’ he said.
‘It is like getting a monkey off your back and it is a big relief. Hopefully it will allow the guys to play more confidently going forward.’
The Dreadnoughts started the game strong with their early touchdown easing any game-day nerves.
Running back James Newman ran the ball into the endzone from the one-yard line following a poor punt by Hastings in the opening minutes of the game.
The two-point conversion was missed and the Dreadnoughts took the lead 6-0.
The away side’s comfortable lead was boosted with a second touchdown.
Full-back Will Purkiss ran the ball into the endzone from the 15-yard line making the scoreline 12-0 at the end of the first-quarter.
Line-backer Tom Bonsor showed his strength throughout the second-half.
But Hastings finally broke through after a special team’s fake field goal put the home side on the Dreadnoughts two-yard line.
They ran the ball into the endzone and converted the two points making it 12-8 at half-time.
The Dreadnoughts started the third-quarter as they did the first half with a second touchdown of the game for Purkiss. It followed a great block from receiver James Furze.
Newman scored their first conversion of the game and they extended their lead to 20-8.
Hastings ran in the touchdown to respond but missed out on the two points making it 20-14.
It was a nervous end to the game as the Dreadnoughts battled to victory.
Coach Head-Rapson had praise for the scorers. He said: ‘I was impressed with Newman as well as Purkiss who had some great punting as well as two touchdowns.’
He hopes the win will be a turning point in the Dreadnoughts season as they aim to build on this improved performance.
‘Hopefully the team feels a lot better about going into the next game,’ he added.
‘We lost the first two games and although it didn’t seem like spirits were dipping, you never know.
‘It is a very competitive division and I think we are in a good position to turn this season around.
‘Hopefully we can end this season with a good record.’
The Dreadnoughts play their first home game of the season at Havant Rugby Club on Sunday (2.30pm).