The Watford Cheetahs opened their 2010 campaign with a less than picturesque victory, coming from behind to beat the Milton Keynes Pathfinders 28-8.
The first half was a defensive affair, with the only points coming on a safety conceded by the visiting Cheetahs when a snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the back of the end zone. The Cheetahs sought to establish the ground game throughout the first half and found some success with their first possession of the second half, driving the ball the length of the field but faltering in the red zone.
By the 4th quarter, the Cheetahs commitment to the run was set to pay off, with new transfer Dom Fox ripping off a highlight reel 41 yard run to score. With Dougie Andrews converting the PAT, the visitors took a 7-2 lead. The lead was to be shortlived when Pathfinder Barry Winter caught a pass behind the Cheetahs’ secondary and took it the distance, leaving the home side with the slenderest of leads, the score now being 7-8.
Watford were unable to do much on their ensuing possession and were forced to punt. However, due to the coverage team being able to down the punt at the Pathfinders’ 1 yard line, they were able to place the home side within the shadow of their own goalpost. With that in mind, the Cheetahs defence took the field hoping to score a safety of their own. However, Cheetahs rookie cornerback Dyann Lewis had other ideas, intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown.
In what can only be described as one of the most impressive debuts ever seen at the Cheetahs, Lewis went on to intercept two more passes, returning those for touchdowns as well, the final interception also being the final play of the game.
The Cheetahs will travel to play the Gloucester Banshees for the first time this Sunday, looking to improve their offensive performance while maintaining the quality of their defence in the hope of starting the season 2-0.