Dolphins end their first U19 season 1-5 after two losses at the last tournament of the season
The Dolphins hosted there first ever home tournament as U19s. They hosted the vasty experienced and division winners the Essex Spartans and the Rushmoor Knight, who the Dolphins beat 16-14 at Rushmoor earlier in the season.
The Dolphins arrived at their home venue short of numbers, but still wanted to put on a good show for all the parents and supporters who came along.
Game 1 vs Rushmoor Knights
The game for the Dolphins was against the Rushmoor Knight first. With some new players and player playing both ways the Dolphins started on defence. After a few good running plays by Rushmoor the Dolphins’ defence was carved open and the knights bagged a quick score.
The offence came out running the ball and moved to midfield before stalling due a holding penalty. The defence was stouter on the next drive holding the knights well forcing a turnover on downs.
With the possessions on both sides struggling the game went to the half 0-8 to the knights.
The second half started well with the Dolphins getting a pick six with Will Homer #2 grabbing a under thrown pass and retuning it for a touchdown. The Dolphins converted the 2pt conversion with a quick pass from Will Ventham #66 to Arthur Heckstall-Smith #44.
Unfortunately, that is where the Dolphins come back stopped. The knights pushed the ball down the field on the next two possessions scoring two more touchdowns on the Dolphins. A late errant thrown to a knights defender, which was returned for a touchdown ended the game 28-8 to the knight’s.
Game 2 vs Essex Spartans
With a slightly long break being afforded to them by the generous Spartan HC the Dolphins took to the field. The game started really well for the Dolphins who were down to just 9 players at the start.
On the opening play Will Ventham #66 connected with a cross field pass for a 45 yard touchdown to Arthur Heckstall-Smith #44. It was an amazing start which caught the experience Spartan off guard. The two point try was converted with a dump of pass from Ventham to Will Homer #2.
The defence came out with some of the offensive players taking the field to fill in the gaps. The defence stepped up straight away and prevented the Spartan offence from moving the ball on their opening possession.
The Dolphin who were now buoyant and looking to try and get another score knowing attrition and tired legs later would come into play. The offence opened up its second possession with a Ventham throw away whilst under pressure. This was followed by a nice 12 yard run by Armani Symonds #20. Then the Dolphins a nicely executed used play action pass to spring Connor Oram #89 loose behind the safety for a 31 gain. The Dolphins then lined up at the 2 yard line. A quick rush outside by Will Homer bagged another touchdown and 6 more points for the Dolphins. The extra point was converted by Homer to put the Dolphins up 15-0.
The Spartans then started to rotate their starters back in after the shock lead the Dolphins took. The Spartan went to work marching down the field scoring on the next drive. A pick six by Ventham levelled the score and another good drive by the Spartans put them in front at the half 21-15.
After the half the Dolphin players were visibly tired, but wanted to continue can try and get back in the game. This however, didn’t happen. The Spartans stretch their legs against a depleted and tired Dolphins team pushing the score to 48-15. With 4 minutes to play the Dolphins Head Coach Neil Loveless called the game as the players were too tired to continue.
Steve Watson HC of the Spartans U19 said “he respected the decision for the Dolphins to end the game early and said that they should be extremely proud of what they have achieved in such a short space of time this season and look forward to seeing you in 2022”.