POOLE Dolphins under-19s reached the British American Football League national finals for the first time in the club’s short history.

The side, managed by Neil Loveless, travelled to Loughborough University to face two play-off matches, against the North East Giants and Sandwell Steelers.

But injury severely hampered the chances of the Dolphins, who were beaten 20-9 in both contests.

In the opener against Giants, Poole lost starting quarterback Alfie Smith to a dislocated shoulder.

Back-up Elliot Annels came in but did not see out the game, suffering a broken leg.

Dolphins were leading 9-7 at the time, but went on to lose, with linebacker Jack Jordan drafted in as emergency quarterback cover.

Nevertheless, just reaching the finals stage goes down as a big achievement for the club, with 11 of the players now set to move on as the rebuild gets underway for the 2024 campaign.

Poole’s under-19s reformed this year after missing out in 2022 due to a lack of players.

They started the season by beating Herts Cheetahs, before being edged out by Somerset Wyverns.

But they turned the tables on Cheetahs in some fashion, smashing them 48-2 to secure the play-off spot.

Poole Dolphins, formed in 2018, also operate an under-16s team and train at Redhill Park in Bournemouth.