THE Portsmouth Dreadnoughts opened their second BAFANL league campaign with a 34-6 loss against the Sussex Thunder.
The predicted SFC 2 South divisional champions came down to Alexandra Park on Sunday to meet with the physical home team.
But they didn’t let the Dreadnoughts’ game plan affect them as they ran out comfortable winners.
The hosts’ offense started slow, going three and out on their first drive.
The defense also suffered a blow on their second play, with defensive lineman Jake Hancock ejected from the game for a targeting penalty.
Sussex took advantage early to score on the ground, but on their next drive they were intercepted by defensive back Martin Hodgkinson.
His return set up an opportunity for the Dreadnoughts offense, who capitalised through a long run from running back Adam Lines at the end of the first quarter.
Portsmouth’s offense kept the ball moving but couldn’t get back into the end zone, while the defense held firm until they conceded another touchdown late in the half – leading to a half-time score of 14-6 for Sussex.
The second half saw the more experienced Thunder press their advantage with yet another score, after they capitalised on several Dreadnoughts turnovers.
A long catch and run from wide receiver and team MVP George Slade almost led to a second score for the Dreadnoughts, but again Sussex’s defense held firm under pressure.
Hodgkinson grabbed another interception, however, it was not enough as Sussex found their way into the end zone twice more in the second half to make the score to 34-6.
The vistors could also have added to their lead, but safety Joe Clulow prevented one final score for Sussex on the last play of the game with a fantastic hustle play.
The Deadnoughts’ next game is at home against the Bournemouth Bobcats on Sunday, May 3.