HEAD coach Steve Bennett was proud of his players’ display as they pushed unbeaten Solent Thrashers all the way before going down 26-13 at Supermarine on Sunday.

With a number of key players absent, Storm took the lead when quarterback Dan Thorne connected with receiver Joel Prowting for the opening touchdown and, after Solent levelled matters, Curtis Malcolm ran in a 40-yard score to give the hosts the advantage for the second time.

The Thrashers did eventually recover and took advantage as Storm’s lack of numbers eventually told, but Bennett was impressed with what his players were able to offer.

“Some of the so-called ‘experts’ had them down to beat us by five scores, because they’re undefeated, but at the end of the game their coach said to me that we were the strongest team they’ve faced this season which is a massive thing for us.

“The guys played out of their skins, exceptionally well. We had the lowest turnout so far this season with only 27 players turning up for various reasons, compared to their 47, but we did really well to cope.

“We had some key players missing but we were matching them blow for blow at the start of the game and as the game went on a few injuries crept in and things got a little harder.

“We had a few players playing both offence and defence which was hard and there were a couple of rookie mistakes which killed one or two drives, but all in all it was really positive and I’ve got nothing but praise for the boys really.

“I tip Solent to go on and win the league this season so that shows how well we did.”

The Solent game was Storm’s final home clash of the season, with away fixtures at Torbay Trojans and Cornish Sharks still to come in what has been a campaign of progress for Bennett’s young team.

Storm also held their first female tag American football session this weekend, which was attended by 10 new players, while there was also a junior tag tournament before the adult team’s game with Solent. Wootton Bassett Hurricanes were the eventual winners of the tournament which was also well attended.