The Jurassic Coast Raptors kicked off their 2019 campaign in a new division, with the 3rd new offensive scheme in 3 years, but against a familiar foe, the Bournemouth Bobcats. The Raptors have faced the Bobcats previously in a pre-season ‘friendly’. The Bobcats are geographically the closest team to the Raptors, though this would be the first competitive meeting as the Raptors make the South-Central division their new home.
On a chilly, breezy day in Bournemouth The Raptors, once again fielding a small squad full of passion and enthusiasm received the opening kick-off and initially looked to be moving the ball well, with last year’s MVP David Laleye smashing out a couple of threatening early runs. The drive ground to a halt just inside the Bobcats half and the Raptors punted away.
The Bobcats initially were no more successful, one or two decent rushes, but not threatening the Raptors goal-line. And that set the pattern for the first quarter.
Into the second quarter and the Bobcats got a lucky break of the ball. The Bobcats Quarterback attempted an inadvisable pass into heavy traffic, the ball got batted up by a Raptors Defensive-back. It could have ended up anywhere, but it just happened to drop neatly into the hands of the Bobcats receiver. The Bobcats took this stroke of luck and turned it into momentum and drove all the way into the endzone. The ensuing kick was wide. 6 – 0
The Raptors couldn’t get any momentum on offence despite a few promising runs. Every time it looked like there might be some progress the Bobcats Defence seemed just able to make a significant stop. But equally the Raptors defence was defying the Bobcats, with interceptions for both James Witchell and Harvey Brimicombe.
The second half started in the same pattern, both Offences moving the ball in fits and starts, until the Bobcats again put a few plays together and scored again, this time converting the kick too. 13 – 0
The Raptors managed pin the Bobcats back on their one-yard line with a superb punt, and then tackled the running-back in the endzone for a safety. 13 – 2
Late into the fourth quarter the Bobcats again drove down the pitch into field goal range, but on 3rd and long the Raptors gave away a clumsy Pass Interference penalty setting the Bobcats up at the 2-yard line, from where they punched it in at the second attempt for the final score of the game, this time having the extra point blocked by the Raptors.
It was a disappointing start to the Raptors season, loads of energy and effort on display, but always just seeming short of the break needed to get into the game. None more so than Jamie Lamb-Foster who barely stepped off the field, played offence and defence all day, but despite getting the ball in dangerous positions a few times throughout the game just couldn’t quiet manage to shake that one last Bobcat defender to take it to the house.
Final score, Bobcats 19 – 2 Raptors.
The Raptors have a few weeks break to recover and recoup before a trip to Swindon at the beginning of June. They will take on the Swindon Storm, a team they have faced a couple of years ago before the Storm got moved to the south-central division from the south-western. At the last meeting the Storm comfortably beat the Raptors in the last game of the 2017 season as the Storm were chasing the playoffs.
If you’re interested in joining the Raptors, it’s not too late. They are looking for players, coaches and support personnel. The Raptors are also still looking for donations for a set of goalposts for their home ground, The Avenue Stadium, Dorchester, and the crowdfunding link can be found on the Facebook page and website. If you are interested, please get in contact.