By Ree Dawes
The Hastings Conquerors American Football club added another milestone to their history books on Sunday after winning their first ever game in the national league versus the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts.
The Conquerors had faced the Dreadnoughts previously on the 31st May where the Dreadnoughts came away with their first league win defeating Hastings 48-15.
After losing the previous week versus Sussex, the Conquerors had a fuller squad to face Portsmouth and the game was a true match between the two teams’ defences.
The game started with Portsmouth on offence and managed to get within the Conquerors’ 5 yard line but couldn’t make their way into the endzone as they were stopped by the Hastings defence.
With the Conquerors now in possession of the ball, rookie quarterback Ben Rogers struggled to advance down field, and the Conquerors had to punt the ball away.
With the score at 0-0 at the half it was anyone’s game and both defences were still merciless and not giving either offences any room to move downfield. With the Conquerors stopped once more on third down, it was up to Josh Perry to punt the ball. With an accurate kick, Perry managed to pin the Dreadnoughts’ offence on their own 2 yard line.
As the Dreadnoughts started their next drive, Samuel Oldfield managed to break through the line and sack their quarterback in the endzone for two points, the only points of the day.
The Dreadnoughts managed to get downfield on occasions, and opted for a field goal three times, each time blocked by the defence, vitally preventing points. Within the fourth quarter, the Dreadnoughts had the ball and made their way downfield and were close to the endzone, looking for the score but were intercepted by Jared Gray in the endzone who took a knee to give the Conquerors the ball at the 20 yard line.
With the Conquerors on track to win their first game, Head Coach James Rogers ran the clock down until mere seconds were left. With 11 seconds on the clock and the Dreadnoughts with the ball within the Conquerors’ 30 yards, they ran the ball and just a few yards short of the first down marker, Jon Cole managed to make a game-saving tackle and the final whistle blew.
The sideline erupted in celebrations and it was all smiles as the team gathered around the scoreboard to show off their first win.
The Macron Store Hastings MVPs for the day were Ben Rogers for offence, Nathan Russell for defence, Josh Perry for special teams and Samuel Oldfield as overall MVP.
The Conquerors next face Sussex Thunder for the third time this season under the floodlights on Saturday 18th July with a 6:30pm kick off.