The Bobcats made another huge step towards silverware yesterday with a blowout victory over the Hertfordshire Hurricanes at Chapel Gate, in a game that Head Coach Steve Rains labelled: “Our toughest challenge since I’ve joined the team.”
The opening quarter of the game was indeed a tough challenge; after forcing Hertfordshire to go 3-and-out on their first drive, the Hurricanes recovered their own punt, setting the tone for the game, and solidifying the fact that they were here to compete.
The Bobcats managed to force another punt, before going 3-and-out themselves. The Hurricanes made the most of their next possession with an 80-yard touchdown from QB Rodryg Hadula to WR Nana Sakyi, putting BU down 6-0 after Hertfordshire failed to convert the point-after.
The start of the second quarter was pivotal for the home side, as Alfie Birks and the Bobcats’ offense drove 75-yards downfield, before topping off the drive with a scramble-drill passing touchdown to Alfie Tizzard-Adams in the back corner of the end zone. Birks then punched in the conversion, making the score 8-6 to BU.
Following a Hertfordshire punt and a blocked Sonny Burbidge field goal, Daniel Peach managed to get the ball back in the Bobcats’ hands, plucking Hadula’s pass out the air inside Bournemouth’s redzone.
The offense managed to drive into Hurricanes’ territory with big completions to Gavin Dyall and Liam Allen, but unfortunately couldn’t beat the clock, entering halftime with the score still at 8-6.
The start of the second half saw two quick changes of possession, Hertfordshire forcing and recovering a fumble on the first drive, only to be picked off by Bournemouth’s Tom Ball only a few plays later.
The Bobcats then drove down the field, tight-end Gavin Dyall giving Hertfordshire’s defense nightmares on the way, before Alfie Birks finished off the drive with a 33-yard bomb to Kaan Aray.
Despite failing to convert on the score, the flood gates seemed to have truly opened; Ethan Regan managed to strip the ball from a ‘Canes running-back, which Cormac Meade promptly recovered and ran in for the score. Although a penalty on the PAT pushed them back, Sonny Burbidge still managed to split the uprights, putting the home side up 22-6.
After a Hertfordshire turnover-on-downs, BU charged their way downfield, with a Nico Miller run taking them within 10yards of the goal-line. Full-back Moses Ranger and the o-line bullied their way into the end zone, followed by a successful Burbidge PAT.
The Hurricanes seemed to get something going on offense, however this was short-lived; a Callum Hopson interception extinguished any remaining hopes for the visiting side, giving the ball back to the Bobcats with only a few minutes to spare.
BU went run heavy on their penultimate drive, marching down the field, finishing off the drive with a Teddy Pope touchdown. This drive also pushed him over 1000 rushing yards on the season, and gave him his seventh rushing TD of the season. Burbidge made the score 35-6 with another successful kick.
After another lacklustre attempt from the Hertfordshire offense, the Bobcats finished off the game – and with it, the Hurricanes’ season – in victory formation.
The Bobcats will host the Portsmouth Destroyers in the Southern Final next Sunday at Chapel Gate in a game that is sure to be tough one, as both teams will battle to play in the National Final in Nottingham.