SWINDON Storm narrowly missed out on victory at the weekend as their last possesion punt return was stopped 10 yards short of the end zone in a 26-19 loss to Farnham Knights.
Storm’s inexperienced team were always in the game as they took on the Surrey side; but Farnham were the only side to trouble the scoreboard in the first half, Storm restricting their hosts to a lone touch down.
After the break the two sides both scored with extras on their first possessions, quarterback Dan Thorne running in. Storm pulled level at 13 apiece with wide receiver Joel Prowting getting on to game MVP Thorne’s pass.
Farnham did get out to a 26-13 lead before Storm scored late with a Prowting run to set-up the frantic finale. In the dying seconds Storm’s defence forced Farnham to punt their final possesion with punt returner Matt Jenkins making a clean catch. The Storm man then preceded to carry the ball almost the full length of the pitch. Jenkins was finally dragged down 10 yards from the end zone, almost getting the touchdown that, with a with a two-point conversion, would have brought the win.
Coach Steve Bennett preferred to see the positives from them game, he said: “The improvement in the players is abilities between the first game and Sunday was evident, we played with a real belief. We pushed Farnham right to the end, and forced a final tackle to 10 yards out.
“At 26-19 if we’d scored that final touchdown, then if we’d gone for two we could have won it.
“It was a superb effort from the guys. We’re still a new team, that’s evident, what I’ve experienced with new teams is we take on the playing levels of the opposition. When we take on a good team we raise our game but against lesser teams there’s sometimes a lack of focus from the players.
“We’re still finding an identity as a team. For me once we have that it’s easier to take the game to opposition.”
Storm’s evolving side at times did not help themselves out against the Knights, in particular repeatedly getting pinged for holding calls, the lone point of frustration for Bennett.
“We were penalised quite a lot, in particular for holding, some of the newer guys are so desperate to make plays and end up grabbing the shirt and getting holding call against them. At times we were making 50 yards and only actually moving 15 because of penalties, but the team unity is good and we stuck together.”
Storm have a week off next weekend before taking on Bournemouth Bobcats on June 29 at Supermarine.