May bank holiday weekend saw a divisional derby match as Swindon Storm hosted Bristol Apache in this explosive affair.
Last year Bristol overcame Swindon but that outcome was not to be repeated this time.
Swindon started strong as the defence stopped Bristol in 3 downs and Defensive End Lee Hutton managed to block the punt giving Swindon excellent field position.
Apache were equally stingy on defence and managed to stop Storm from getting into the endzone but this just brought out the special teams.
It may not have been pretty but kicker Sam Mendoza managed to bounce the ball onto the post and over giving Swindon a 3 point lead.
The game carried on with both defences on form until a failed punt by Swindon left the ball inside their own 5 yard line.
It looked like Bristol would get points on the board here but Swindon had other ideas with an impressive stop by the defence.
Both teams battled it out in this fashion until half time, Swindon looked the better team but couldn't capitalise on excellent field position.
Bristol got the edge as the second half kicked off, Swindon looked half asleep as Apache forced the ball into Swindon's endzone early on in the 3rd quarter leaving the score at 6-3.
Swindon's defence may have drifted off for a drive but their offence had other ideas. Dan Thorne began leading the team downfield before Phil Bardwell took over as the Quarterback and punched the ball into the Apache Endzone.
Sam Mendoza got the extra point as Swindon made the score 10-6. The match definitely heated up from this point as both teams looked for the win, Apache drew next blood with a huge run that caught Swindon off guard, once again they failed to get the extra points on board.
With the 2 minute warning approaching Swindon kept driving downfield until Dan Thorne managed to connect with a wide open Matthew Jenkins who ran the ball into the endzone.
Once again Sam Mendoza's kick was good, Storm lead the game by 17-12. Swindon then finished off the victory foricng Apache to go 4 and out which then allowed Storms offence to run the clock down.
The final score was Swindon Storm 17, Bristol Apache 12. Swindon are next in action against newcomers Portsmouth Dreadnaughts in two weeks time.
By Julian Myles