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Posted by Charlie Grant April 28th,2007

Fellers: Don't know about the rest of you, but I feel like I've been taken out back and beaten with a baseball bat. But the great feeling of bringing home the Porter Cup Championship far outweighs sore joints, bumps and bruises. Even drinking out of the Porter Cup itself was a real treat (even if it did smell and taste like a 44 year old trophy that's obviously never been cleaned out).

We started the day against Erie RFC and from the start it was obvious that we greatly overmatched them. Yes they had just driven about 8 hours and were a bit light on numbers, but nevertheless the Lions were clearly the better team. After shaking out some of our traditional morning kinks we quickly exerted our dominance. The flood gates opened and when the final whistle blew it was 52-0 Lions!

Our second match against Roanoke didn't go as planned. After such an easy time in the first match we were far too complacent in our approach to an always tough and hard running Roanoke squad. Roanoke always plays us well and they didn't let up on Saturday--a great tribute to their team and their cohesion as a unit. We found ourselves in the first half playing broken rugby both offensively and defensively and Roanoke made us pay. Adjustments were made in the second half and we played frantically to close the gap. Penalties resulting in points for 'Noke ultimately doomed us here. They rattled off at least 6 points because we couldn't keep our mouths shut (an ongoing problem). In the end, despite a spirited effort by the Lions the whistle blew and Roanoke walked away with a 26-28 victory.

We huddled after this let down to discuss things and be lectured by our coach and captains about what would be required for us to pull off the Championship. Our hopes rested on either Erie beating Roanoke or at least holding them to a certain number of points. Erie came out on fire and after some tough back and forth started scoring at will. I'm not sure what the final score was, but Erie scored a bunch of points on an exhausted Roanoke side.

This pitted the Lions against Western Suburbs who had won their bracket with an undefeated record over James River and Blackwater. Suburbs is a very tough team and most recently the PRU D-III Champs. We knew we'd be in for a tough fight and 'Burbs didn't disappoint. Suburbs scored first and we answered not long after. Things went back and forth for a while and we basically found ourselves in a dog fight most of the first half. Not sure what the score was, but it was somewhere around 10-12 'Burbs or 15-12 Lions. Rugby is a war of attrition and the second half proved that. After a good talking to from our coach and captains, we took the pitch with a sense of urgency and fight. This was our tournament to win and we would not let up. Our backline took control of the running and our forwards battled intensely with a very good Suburbs pack. The tries started coming and things just generally went our way with constant defensive pressure and fantastic running and kicking--highlighted toward the end by Matt "Nicky" Nicholas's 45 meter penalty boot right down the middle. I think Nicky was as surprised as we were as evidenced by the huge smile on his face. That kick had at least another 10 meters on it. Anyway, the deal was done and the final whistle blew with the Lions winning the Championship 42-12 or 45-12 or something like that. We hoisted the Porter Cup, filled it up with beer, had our picture taken and retired to McCormack's in the Bottom for some well deserved vittles and beer. It was a great day for the Lions and for area rugby in general.

I'll never forget Seth and Nick holding that Porter Cup like a baby all night long (I'll also never forget Nick making sure that one of the first slugs out of that Cup went to yours truly). These warriors were not giving that thing up except for passing it around the team for everyone to partake of that sweet tasting PBR contained therein. Oh what fun it was.


Lions v College of William and Mary

Good scrimmage v the college lads. Al pounded away in the pack and Cory looked rather lethal. Please pardon the announcers bias towards the lads. Enjoy the video. Cheers,Cary

1st Half Tribe v Lions Feb 2007

2nd Half

Porter Cup April 2006

Gents: A successful Porter Cup it was for your Richmond Lions, bringing home some 3rd place hardware in the tournament. First place went to Norfolk with a 2 point win over Raleigh (which we can take some credit for).

We started the day against Newport News and it really was never much of a contest though we started out a bit rough. News looked little shorthanded in my opinion and they paid for it. Our backline is really starting to click and between the pace of our wings and the power running all match long of Mongo, Junior and Craig, News really never had a chance to recover once the scoring started. Hell, even your senior citizen prop here scored a try though it was called back for some BS reason (we all know it was a try don't we!?).

We next faced a Raleigh team that expected to be able to take the pitch and just roll over us. Didn't happen that way! Raleigh scored first after many minutes of frustration on their part. Our defense was solid and Raleigh was not expecting this at all. Not long after their try, the Lions marched down the field to score a power drive try right up the middle off the base of a ruck. I don't know who scored the try, I thought Mongo did. He had the ball and was driving, I came in with I think Seth and we hammered him through Raleigh's defense and over the line. At this point I lost track and Tony may have actually gotten the ball from Mongo and scored it? Don't know, but we scored nevertheless. This really set Raleigh off and they were repeatedly penalized until the ref had heard enough and sent one of their big mouths off for a time out to sit in the corner. At the half, Raleigh had regained the lead 10-5, or 12-5 or something. In the second half, Raleigh's shear number of subs (They basically replaced their entire pack) meant fresh legs and they ultimately punched in a couple of more in what became a war of attrition.

Due to the last minute bail-out of Blackwater (action pending), the tournament was shortened significantly and it was decided to try and finish the thing off on Saturday. Our opponent would be cross town rival James River for the 3rd place trophy. River, however, saw their best option being to wait until Sunday to play the Lions. At about 2:00 Sunday the fixture began on a sunny, cool and stiff winded day at Dorey. It was immediately evident that whichever team had the wind to their back had the distinct advantage. The Lions came out hard charging from the start as did River. River had us pinned in our own 22 for a good amount of time, and again this is largely attributed to good kicking with the wind on their part. We finally got our power and speed game going and worked the ball deep into River territory only to have penalties hurt us territorially allowing for a River score. In fact errant passes on 3 occasions resulting in clean pick offs and numerous penalties one way or another conspired to hurt us. Quickly, it was 0-10 River. Still, we knew that we had the superior squad at every position and that we were just beating ourselves. Nothing River did all day threatened us at all at any position.

We stayed with our game plan and powered the ball behind the strong running of our centers back at them and scored. 7-10 River at half I think. In the second half we had the wind to our backs and we took advantage of this ultimately, but not before River picked one clean from us and ran it back for a 90 meter try. Yikes! 7-17 River. That's when I think we all looked at one another and said enough is enough. The Lions quickly rebounded and with only 20 minutes left got things going. A try, and later a beautiful 35 meter penalty kick by Phil Strunk in swirling wind tied things up as the final whistle blew.

Sudden Death! The coin was tossed and we were forced to play into the wind. Not good in this situation where a penalty kick could quickly decide the Richmond City Championship. However, the final result was never in doubt from the start of the 20 minute sudden death period. The Lions quickly took the ball and powered it down field where River was called for off-sides literally on their own 2 meter line, only about 3 minutes into sudden death. Phil Strunk placed the ball on the tee, popped it over and the whistle blew--Richmond 20-River 17. Given that we literally handed River 10 of the 17 points, you can plainly see that this would not have been a competitive game had we not hurt ourselves so badly. Men of the match in my opinion would have to be Phil and Mongo though this was truly a team effort all the way around with everyone playing as hard as possible. In fact, the entire weekend showed dedicated and hard charging Lions playing with great aggression. Everyone who played both Saturday and Sunday should be congratulated and should know that he earned a piece of that trophy!

A special shout out to Seth and Narc, 3/4s of Charlie's Angels. These two made their first prop starts for the Lions, much to the delight of all of us as we've watched our front row diminish due to age and injury. These two are equally sized, young, powerful and having played 2nd row for some time now together, know the rigors of pack play. We look to them to help us out greatly at prop and lock.

Nicely done Lions!

Charlie Grant, Prop & Minister of Propaganda
Richmond Lions Rugby Club
804-338-4556 (cell)
urfc19stoneprop@comcast.net
www.richmondrugby.org


3rd Place PorterCup 2006

King and pack prepare

V Raleigh

More on the Porter Cup 2006 from Phil Strunk

Match 1 – Newport News

On a windy Saturday morning, the Richmond Lions took the pitch to face an angry and ambitious Newport News side. News had been strong in previous meetings, defeating the Lions two years before and winning their opening match in the 2005 Porter Cup.

In typical fashion, the Lions started slowly. Tackles were tentative and offensive moves were slow to develop. After about 15 minutes of substandard play, the Lions found their stride. Flyhalf Billy Tilson took a cleanly rucked ball from scrumhalf Katz Sugimoto and moved towards the left sideline, splitting the defense with his break. After collecting 35 meters of territory, he froze the loan defender between him and the goal line and offloaded to fullback Phil Strunk for an easy try. With conversion, the Lions led 7-0.

Minutes later, with the forwards pinning Newport News in their own territory, the Lions struck again. Winger Cory Englehard used his considerable pace to turn the corner on the Newport defense. When the defensive recovery arrived, Englehard passed the ball neatly to Neil “Shaggy” Gillette who picked up 15 additional meters. Shaggy showed his unselfishness in shedding the ball to outside center Craig “the Hammer” Nicholson who plunged over the line for the Lions’ second try. Club President Billy Tilson had this to say of the scoring movement: “The Nicholson try was one of the most perfectly executed sequences of off-loads we've ever done. Each ball carrier involved found space and safely moved the ball to the next supporter who was running at full pace. It was beautiful.” Lions lead 12-0.

A strong series by Newport News brought them to the Lions goal line where they were stymied several times by strong tackles. Eventually, intimidated by the play of Travers “Buck” Clemons, the referee awarded a penalty try to Newport News, cutting the Lions halftime lead to 5 points.

The second half belonged to Richmond. Englehard again had the answer and earned a try with his attacking defense. After stripping the ball from the Newport fullback, he ducked a defender and burned down the sideline to score a long try in the corner. Spectators on the Lions’ sideline were overheard asking the question “Kenny who?” The score was 17-7, favor of the Lions.

Anthony “Mongo” Montgomery struck next with a try for the forwards. After softening up the opposing forwards with countless crashes through their line, it was with tremendous calm that Mongo allowed the Newport defense to organize itself, took the penalty tap on the five meter line and then burst through a pack of frightened defenders into the right corner of the try zone. The conversion made the score 24-5 and the Lions were on a roll.

Smelling blood, the Lions ratcheted up the pressure on Newport News. Some key substitutions got involved in the act. Tommy Krebs sacrificed his body charging down a kick which Tyler “Junior” Bartelt easily scooped up and ran over the line for a try. Newport News found itself trailing 31-5, late in the match.

Unfortunately the Lions failed to close Newport News out completely. A sub par defensive effort opened a huge gap for the Newport backline and they took it. The ball carrier broke the line with 3 teammates in support and News scored an easy try to finish the game. Final score was 31-12.

There was no question about the Man of the Match. Mongo’s solid tackling, intelligent play and, most importantly, powerful running were the highlights for the Lions. The Newport News players initially tried to overpower him, then failing that decided simply to let him have his way on the pitch. He was a one man wrecking crew. Said one Lions’ player after the match, “I am really glad he is on our side.”

Match 2 – Raleigh Vipers

Having pulled through their first match, the Lions drew the Raleigh Vipers for their second contest. In their last meeting, Raleigh thrashed a beleaguered Lions’ side by more than 70 points. Clearly Raleigh expected the same result in this instance as they were fresh off a forfeit and well rested for their match against the home side. Sensing this, Coach Pierson-Massey implored his team to begin the game with tremendous aggression and use Raleigh’s overconfidence against them. “If you don’t, I promise you will be on the wrong end of a basketball score” he warned.

From the kickoff, the Lions looked angry. The pack, led by Seth Tandett, Ben “Narc” Morgan and Chris Desvignes, laid big hits on big Raleigh players. With the wind at their backs, Raleigh corralled the Lions in their own end of the pitch. The Lions tackled hard but could not clear the ball, and eventually the Viper’s fly half broke the line in a switch for an easy score. With ten minutes gone, the Lions were down 7-0.

For the next 20 minutes the Lions dominated the passage of play. After a deep kick to restart the game, the Lions forwards frustrated Raleigh’s attempts to run crash balls over the gain line. Buck Clemons doled out punishment to every opposing player he found in the vicinity of the ball. His efforts clearly frustrated the Raleigh players and elicited some dirty play on their part. The referee sent one player to the sin bin and warned others. After a solid defensive effort, the Lions eventually earned themselves a lineout 10 meters from the Raleigh try line. After a clean put in, the forwards formed a strong driving maul which collapsed just short of the try line. A textbook ruck produced clean ball and Lions rookie prop Chris Desvignes opted for the pick and go. His dive near the corner resulted in the Lions first try of the game and the conversion evened the score at 7-7. Raleigh looked shocked.

Now it was Raleigh’s turn to apply the pressure. With the wind at their backs Raleigh used several phases of play to pin the Lions in their 22 meter line. Amazingly, the two teams were forced to scrum down against one another 7 consecutive times. The Lions forwards steadfastly held against the larger competition, largely due to the efforts of veteran hooker Rob “Gnome” King. Eventually, the grind of pushing against the Raleigh pack was too much for the Lions. A lineout by Raleigh allowed them to form a driving maul and push the ball over the try line. The halftime score was 14-7.

Playing with the wind at their backs in the second half, the Lions did well to clear the ball and attack the Raleigh defense. Still, Raleigh’s experience and superior size proved problematic for Richmond. Big tackles were the order of the day, as Raleigh’s rucking allowed many phases of play. Playing injured, scrumhalf Katz Sugimoto led the way with good, low hits that brought many taller players to the ground. Buck Clemons continued to sacrifice his body as part of his mission to deliver pain to the Raleigh side. The Lions played well under pressure, but conceded two more tries to the opposition; one on a crash by the forwards from 5 meters out and the second on a set piece by the Raleigh backline from inside the Lions 22. The score was 28-7 with very little time remaining.

The Lions fought hard in spite of the large lead and continued to pressure Raleigh in their own end. The game ended with several long breaks by the Lions, notably by Andrew Wentworth and player/coach Stephen Pierson-Massey. Though dissatisfied with the final result, the Lions were pleased with many aspects of the Raleigh game. In particular the forwards are to be commended for facing down larger opposition without fear. This match was important because it showed that with additional training and effort, Richmond can expect to play competitively with the elite teams in Division II.

Match 3 – James River

Having fallen to Raleigh, the Lions could finish no higher than 3rd place in the Porter Cup. That, however, paled in importance compared to the fact that the Lions would have a chance to face cross town rival James River in the consolation match. A week before, a match against River was cancelled when field arrangements fell through. The Lions were eager to face their rivals having suffered painful losses in the previous three matches. Despite the urging of Lion officials, River refused to play on Saturday. The battle for Richmond was on, officially scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 PM.

Though the game time was set on fairly short notice, Richmond players turned out on time and in force to participate in this important showdown. In previous meetings, River had seemed the more prepared side but on this day, the Lions looked ready to go. The lineup was not without problems though, as Richmond found itself without any of its regular props. Relative newcomers Seth Tandett and Ben “Narc” Morgan dutifully answered the call and agreed to play their first ever match at front row. Again the Lions relied on the veteran experience of hooker Rob “Gnome” King as he cobbled together a front row that would hold against James River’s regular pack.

The time for kickoff arrived and the Lions lost the toss. They would be forced to play into a strong wind for the first half. Immediately, River pounded the ball into the Lions’ 22. Richmond looked tentative, a bad habit that has developed in matches against River. Tackles were fairly soft allowing James River to retain possession of the ball. The Lion backs had difficulty clearing the ball under pressure. Early attempts at well rehearsed backline moves were ineffective at best and downright dangerous in the worst instances. After finally applying some pressure to the James River defense, the River fullback intercepted a poorly timed pass from the Lions and began charging down the pitch unopposed. Wing Cory “Spooner” Englehard showed why he is so important to this team and caught up with the opposition a full 60 meters later. After a try saving tackle by Englehard, the Lions conceded a penalty and James River elected to go for posts. The kick was good and River led the match 3-0.

As the first 15 minutes ended, the Lions woke from their haze and began to play real rugby. Veteran flanker Phil Basset, out of retirement for the match, made several long runs causing many on the sideline to question his age. As always, Mongo punished opposing players for thinking they could tackle him and the Lions gained valuable territory. All this was for nothing, however, as disaster struck in the 20th minute. With the strong wind affecting the passage of play, the James River winger stepped neatly into a long pass down the Lions’ backline. Unfortunately, not even Englehard could catch him and the 80 meter run resulted in a try in the corner. River made the conversion and went up 10-0 on the Lions.

It looked as though the rout was on. Thus far Richmond had either played tentatively or allowed costly errors to undermine its hard work. Undeterred, the Lions went diligently to work again. Solid play from the forwards gave the backs clean ball and many consecutive phases to soften the River defensive line. As the passage of play moved deliberately across the posts, veteran wing Darryl Lowery came from the weak side of the pitch to receive a smart pass from flyhalf Billy Tilson. Lowery broke the gain line and picked up 15 meters before confronting the last River defender. After moving strongly into the tackle, Lowery offloaded to trailing fullback Phil Strunk who ran the final 20 meters to the try zone. Things were looking up for Richmond and the score was 10-7.

In what has become a disturbing pattern, the Lions gave away the advantage they had just earned by allowing River to score only minutes later. This time River took advantage of a large overload which allowed the outside center to score a try in the near corner. The conversion was good and Richmond found itself on the wrong side of a 17-7 halftime score.

In previous meetings against James River, the Lions have folded in the second half, basically conceding the match to their rivals. Coach Pierson-Massey insisted at halftime that this would not be the case. On this day, things were to be different. At the start of the second half, the Lions took the pitch with the wind at their backs determined to be the aggressors for the remainder of the match.

The forwards led the way once more. With very sturdy scrums and good lineouts, Richmond spent the majority of the second half in River’s end of the field. Second rows Andrew “Oh Canada” Wentworth and Ben “German” Martin are to be commended for their solid push behind the new props. Richmond’s scrum was wheeled once early in the match and then never again. Strong runs from Mongo, Bassett and Buck were common in the second half. The backline got into the act as well. Tyler “Junior” Bartelt continued his ongoing battle against his opposite number with strong runs and even more physical tackles, often involving skilled use of his durable cranium. Intelligent passes by Craig “The Newcastle Hammer” Nicholson moved the ball wide several times and wings Louis Kotze and Englehard nearly scored important tries. The James River defense barely held and time grew short.

After surviving a brief flurry of River offense, including two missed penalty kicks, the Lions decided to take control of the match. Long runs by Mongo and Bassett brought the ball inside the River 22. A powerful surge by rookie Andrew Wentworth allowed him to cross the try line while wearing 3 James River defenders. Though he appeared to place the ball cleaning on the deck, the referee called for a 5 meter scrum. Several minutes later, wing Louis Kotze took a clean pass from scrumhalf Katz Sugimoto to plunge over the line for a try. The conversion made the score 17-14, with very little time left.

The Lions did not let up after the ensuing restart. They quickly moved into the James River end and sniffed the try line. With little time left in the match, the referee awarded the Lions a penalty in the left center of the field, 30 meters from the goal. After careful consideration of the wind conditions, the Lions decided to kick for posts and even the match. The kick from fullback Phil Strunk was true and the score was tied at 17.

With only moments left, the Lions continued to pound River, but time ran out. There was a brief period of confusion as both sides came to terms with the idea of a draw. Tournament director Carl Schmidt restored order to the proceedings and explained that the two teams would play a 20 minute period of sudden death rugby. The Lions were clearly excited by the opportunity to win the match outright. James River did not look so sure of themselves.

The weather conditions were a factor throughout the game, and after winning the coin toss, River elected to play with the strong wind at their backs. Not intimidated by this setback, the Lions set about the process of winning the match.

The kickoff was a good one, fairly high and only 12 meters deep. The Richmond forwards ran like a herd of elephants onto the James River pack. James River barely contested the ball and veteran Phil Bassett tapped it neatly back to Richmond’s strongest runner, Anthony “Mongo” Montgomery. Having preserved possession of the ball, Mongo decided to annex territory that previously had belonged to James River. He gained 30 meters by stomping over frustrated defenders. Moments later, an offload to newcomer Andrew Wentworth prolonged the attack. The Richmond forwards drove the ball to within meters of the try line, directly between the posts, before the tackle was made. The front row rucked over the defense and produced clean ball. It was there that second row Ben “Martin” made the most intelligent play of the match. He reached for the ball with both hands, but only placed his left on the ball itself. The overeager defender violated the law by grabbing Martin by the collar before the ball was out and the referee awarded the penalty. Though the idea of a quick tap and go excited the Richmond players, cooler heads prevailed and the Lions elected to kick for points.

Thanks to the play of the forwards, the kick was a simple one, ten meters out and directly into a consistent wind. The James River players gathered under the posts with defeated expressions on their faces. Fullback Phil Strunk set the ball on the tee and poked it over the posts. The match was ended and the Lions had won by a score of 20-17.

After a brief celebration, the Lions gathered their composure and congratulated the James River side on a good, clean game. River played strong rugby. In typical fashion they were very good in the tackle and at turning the ball over. They proved gracious also in defeat, congratulating the Lions on their turn of good fortune.

As an elated Lions side trotted off the pitch, superfan Malcolm Cormack greeted them by shouting “Well done you brave and hearty lads!” Richmond certainly felt the sense of accomplishment conveyed by his remark. With a solid win over Newport News, a tough but physically competitive loss to Raleigh and a comeback, overtime win against rivals James River, the Lions have a solid platform on which to build. Clearly the talent is there. Players are fast, strong and smart. Experience grows with every match. With better numbers and some consistent training sessions, Richmond can and should expect to compete with teams like Raleigh, Norfolk, Frederick and Severn River. Hopefully, the competition of this past weekend has wet the club’s appetite for competition, leading the way to a successful Spring season for all involved.

Philip R. Strunk


Virginia RFC match: Oh where to begin! Dateline Friday the 13th,2005. Friday evening things were not looking particularly good for us from a numbers point of view. Specifically we had 10 guys committed to traveling to Edgehill Farm in Charlottesville to take on a Virginia and Roanoke combined side. So Saturday morning we were not sure what we were facing there. This could be a good hot day of 10s, 7s or perhaps 15s with Virginia and Roanoke playing us something like 15 on 10. So we all met up at the Park 'n Pee located at 288 and 64W and began counting heads and working the phones that morning. Before departing for C-Ville, we had managed to get our count up to 13. Okay we can deal with that though 80 minutes of 15 on 13 didn't sound that great either. We arrived at Edgehill and guess what? Yes, our lock Sully pulled up with Hunny Bunny in tow. That got us to 14 and we quickly anointed him Saint Sully. We took the field with a colorful array of players, many of whom had to play completely out of position or in one they had very limited experience in. Eric Greise played wing and had some good runs and bailed us out on several occasions, though recently he's been training at hooker. Mike "Dooz" Dousa played a full 80 at flanker and Shaggy played #8. Your Prez ended up at lock along with Sully and you talk about a height difference. He's 6'6", and I'm barely 5'11". Nothing on the day was pretty, but what the hell.

Since it was 90 degrees and there's absolutely no shade to be had at Edgehill, we did a light warm up and a lot of stretching and water drinking. "Tweet" the whistle blew and the Lions began play with 14 on 15. Once again, as has been common this season, we quickly took control of the fixture and scored a couple of times. The outcome was never in doubt. It was so damn hot out there I couldn't tell you who scored and when exactly, we forwards were just glad somebody did so that we could catch a break for a few moments.

Half-time arrived and we were all hot and exhausted. Along about that time Sika pulled up. We quickly anointed him Saint Sika and told him to get his Samoan tookus on the pitch. He immediately made his presence felt with strong running and a score or 2. Mongo was a powerhouse all day and we probably anointed him somewhere along the line too. His power running kept us moving forward and quickly wore down the opposition. This opened the door for Darryl to score even though he had traveled with us injured and was not scheduled to play. At one point he made a breakaway run and I don't think he could believe nobody was even near him from either team. We just yelled "run you little ...." from the 50 and Virginia just said "ah, the hell with it!". At that point we anointed Darryl, Chief Darryl (Saint Darryl seemed a bit of a stretch and he probably wouldn't have approved anyhow, though I think Pocahontas converted somewhere along the line after hooking up with John Rolfe). Fidler had some great runs and his kicking along with Billy's ball handling and leadership really made a huge difference. Everytime we had a penalty kick to touch, the pack prayed the thing would sail 60 meters and into some bull pen somewhere to buy us a few seconds of R&R. Our kickers did a great job in that area.

Anyhow, Virginia/Roanoke managed to punch in a couple of scores late in the match when all most of us could do was stand there and look miserable. One of the worst parts about the day was the number of scrumdowns. I think we averaged one scrum down every minute and a half or so. This was not the day to be asking the pack to endure about 60 scrumdowns, but we did it anyhow. We looked like hell and we bitched at each other a good bit, but we completed our 80 minute mission and were damn glad when it was over.

Finally, finally, finally the last whistle blew and we quickly anointed referee Mark Boger Saint Mark. Isn't it funny how people find religion in times of crisis?! Score 32-10 Lions. Water, water and more water was on the menu followed by beer, beer and more beer after that. Thanks to the guys at Virginia RFC for putting on quite a spread for us downtown complete with air conditioning!

Charlie Grant, President, Prop & Propaganda Minister
Richmond Lions Rugby Club
804-338-4556 (cell)
urfc19stoneprop@comcast.net


Christmas 7's 2004

The Richmond Lions lead by Captain Darryl Lowery performed today with courage and outstanding hard running. New lock from James Madison, Ben "The German" was trully impressive with his hard running; he was rewarded with several trys today. Kenny was fast and lethal and struck the length of the field on several occassions. Billy at fly demonstrated great hands,passing,and tackling form. Our record was around 50/50 today. Kenny had to leave the tournament after taking a hard knock v Norfolk. Passing was good. I believe a bit more patience on offense would have given us more possession rather than opting for early contact. We have the talent,speed,experience,and youth to be a trully dangerous 7 a side.
Phil Strunk Dec 2004


May 29th,2004 Monk Vaughan 7's


Jerry O'Connor crashes over v Ft.Bragg for the the try

Remarkable effort by Lions A side and Southside Snappers (Lions B) in our tournament today. Brian "The Blade",Kenny,Mongo,Billy were superlative on offense with many big runs up the field. Darryl lead the side with outstanding defensive organization that yielded a win v legendary NOVA, which included former Fiji international. Did not stay the whole day but it is clear we have achieved a high water mark with our 7's talent and much hope for the summer campaign. It was a pleasure to witness the action today.

Video stream:Kenny goes coast to coast.WMV


Lions A side
left to right Blade,Billy,Darryl,Mountain,Mongo,Chris,Brian,knelling Kenny


Southside Snappers


----- Original Message ----- From: Charlie Grant Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 10:53 AM Subject: Lion Update: A word from Commander "tater tongue" Cody

Fellas,

Great showing this weekend! We played hard in every match and never quit. We showed alot of heart and perseverance in all three games. I want to say thanks to everyone who helped out this weekend and made the tournament a success. I have to say the most successful point of the tournament was the Raleigh match. We played alot of guys that are new to the game this season and we all put up a very good fight. This shows very good promise for the future of this team. Some of the guys that have been playing in the "B" side matches stepped up and are showing that they will be fighting for that first side position. Thanks for the support on the sidelines from some of you who did not get as much playing time. Trust me, it will come with time and you will be on the field sooner than you think if you stick with it, practice, and work hard.

Thanks again,
Cody


----- Original Message ----- From: Charlie Grant Sent: Monday, April 05, 2004 2:28 PM Subject: Lions Update: Porter Cup, Tee Shirts, Braves Tickets, B-Ball tonight

Fellers: I must echo Commander Cody's sentiments about this past weekend and the fine effort we displayed. The River match was a bit sloppy, but even though we played against a superior Raleigh side in the second match and lost it was a hard fought and hard hitting match. The Raleigh guys later on that evening had nothing but good things to say about our play. They were truly surprised at how hard we hit them. The Charlotte match needs no commentary really. We turned it up on Sunday and shut them down 12-0. We took home some hardware too claiming the 3rd place trophy. Great stuff and reminiscent of our strong showing last year at Ed Lee. It's fun to win isn't it?! It would seem we're the kind of team that gets better and better as the day goes on.


March 20th Lions v Virginia Gentlemen

Today age and treachery prevailed over youth and enthusiasm. For a fun social match, there were some intense periods of play. Mongo,Cody Sutton,and Brian Patterson demonstrated powerful running as the creaking Va.Gent defense was sorely pressed to get these guys on the ground. The match was clearly in the hands of the Lions early in the match and slowly drew even until Mark Jones,steadfast lock for the Lions, fractured his forearm. The match was halted for about 30 minutes while our fireman on the club attended to first aid. After Mark's exit, The Gents seemed less affected by the unfortunate injury and proceeded to explode with three tries putting the match away. Phil Bassette was particulay effective off the base of the scrum,getting to the center of the field, and off loading to exploding centers Danny Patterson,John Lawrence,and Will Thornton. Phil set up a try for Rackley at wing too. Special thanks and appreciation to Pete Sweet for the hospitality brews after the match. OK fellas, you know what this victory means? The Virginia Gentlemen are now current "Richmond City Champions."


Mongo devastates the Va.Gents

Click here for video stream of Mongo on the rampage


Dec 6th Christmas 7's

Congrats go out to the United 7's squad for finishing 2nd at the James River Xmas 7's tourney! After narrowly edging by the Richmond River Rats (United and River Forwards mix) The United squad went on to knock off James River and play Nova in the finals. Nova went home with the gold but United played a hell of a game.

Good job fellas.

Cody

We entered this tourney with United A and "The Richmond River Rugby Rats," a mixed side of players from River,United,and Va. Gents. The temperatures were brutally low but United A prevailed with remarkable flair and made it to the finals v high flying nationally reknowned 7 a side ,NOVA. To get to the final,we played some outstanding defense. Bob Zullo made some memorable open field tackles. Our effort and talent rewarded us today. Our victory in the semi final v James River was particulary gratifying. Both sides were intent on winning--it was a tough match Special thanks to Daryl, Captain of the A side, for his leadership and sporting competitiveness.

The "Richmond River Rugby Rats" did not secure any victories--no worries there--these hombres really just enjoyed imposing their clydesdale size in the close contact stuff and seeing how long they could hold onto the ball. Cody Sutton was all over the pitch dragging down opponents. Phil Bassett had some memorable runs. Special thanks to our two guest players, Paul Meyers from Newport News and Paul Meyers from Raleigh to help us fill out the side.

Cary,your reporter

Richmond River Rugby Rats


Oct 4 and 5 v Western Suburbs and Frederick

Charlie throws to Coleman v Western Suburbs-photo courtesy w.clark


ED LEE CUP Oct 26/27

No report---any member of the club is welcome to send their commentary on the weekend. Will gladly paste into the site. Email cary@richmondrugby.net


T'was not a winning weekend. Our venerable coach, Pete Sweet, was even drafted into action Sat because of the light traveling squad on Sat. We arrive at a point with our rugby when it is useless to sift through the causes and conditions that are holding us back from better rugby. It's better to sort that out on the training field and with our matches in the future. We have many gifts--its our challange to utilize them to their fullest and to know that we are all depending on each other to acheive success. Just to play rugby makes us special.Here is a video stream of Tyson setting up Jim for the try.
Sept 27th v Raleigh


Mirza,Shaggy,Dave,Cody,contemplate their chances

We lost this match v a clearly superior side, yet periods of play were remarkable on our part. The first half, in particular, we demonstrated consistent ability to retain possession going into contact. Our defense was steadfast. Chris, our talented flyhalf, gave up 30 to 40 pounds to their hard running centers and loosies but he laid on the tackles. Cody, as usual, was in the thick of things.The Blade today was a heat seeking missle on defense. Jim made some thunderous tackles and again showed a combination of evasive running and power that we are trully lucky to have. The play of the day for us was our success in getting Tyson into space in which he prompty beat two defenders with pace and power; off loading to Phil who took on two or three defenders in contact then back to Tyson who supported his own pass brilliantly for the try! We have the ability to raise our rugby to the highest level; our challange is to consistently perform at that level for 80 minutes.

Our B side match was really a combination of Virginia Gents and some extremely fatigued but supportive A siders that helped fill out the side. This match was and will be filed in the "never to be remembered" archives. Special thanks to all the United lads for helping the oldsters play a little rugby on a torturously hot day. "Man of the Match" honors goes to Frank Punch for playing some prop today, which is NOT his position ,and for being the first person to give this writer an ice cold brew after the match. Oh yeah, bus charter was a pleasure!


[Homepage][ News][ Fixtures][ Old Boys][Beer]
Sept 13th v James River

United lineout picture

We took the A side match 16-9. Phil Basset had a beauty of a spinning try in close for at touchdown in the right corner. Tim Brown scored off a powerful scrum drive. Cody Sutton made a devastating break up the middle out pacing everyone including the speedy full back--wet conditions foiled the touch down--no try! Brian Patterson made some astounding tackles---he drops them immediately. His open field tackling is beyond peer. Jim Cook showed his powerfull running form today. Tyson had a pacy break our two---our play in general was hopeful; we seem to know what to do, but stringing together consistent support and passing off our chances did not always transpire. The pieces are there;just not all bolted together yet. Still an outstanding effort--- a win is a win.

The B side effort was noteworthy in which the backline was able to launch itself with effectivness. We laid our passes out in front and Brian,"The Blade" Patterson leaped on these opportunities with some excellent runs. Boog "Sunami" Payne was effective and valuable in the close contact stuff. Mark Jones at 8 looked dangerous and mobile. I could say more; expect more post match commentary from Malcom McCormack soon.


August 23rd, 2003

United took 2 vans and 17 players to Harrisburg, PA for a scrimmage/game that consisted of 4 - 25 minute periods.

In the first period we rucked very well at times and defended well at times but overall it looked like we had not played together before and didn't know quite what to do. In an individual effort that covered about 35 yards, "The Blade" sliced through the middle of the Harrisburg defense, breaking numerous tackles to score. Our lead did not last as Harrisburg took advantage of some arm tackling attempts to score a converted try to take the lead.

In the second period we fixed some of the things we did poorly in the first period but were habitually passing to "support" that was standing flatfooted rather than rucking and establishing good possession and more dynamic opportunities. We squandered a lot of possession in this period and overall looked bad with more than a few bone-head plays. A good break by "Blade" and feed to "Rock" for a try was a high point but we also allowed Harrisburg a converted try to end the period down by 4.

After a talk about the changes we needed to make during the intermission the real United team showed up in the third period. We played in their end most of the half and maintained possession with excellent rucking and support. "Blade" made another nice run for a try and Jim "The Train" Cook nailed a 48 yard penalty kick to put us back where we belonged... in the lead! Mark (our Man of the Match) moved from lock and played his first game ever at flanker. Off a savvy play by Tim "Bateau" Brown, Mark took the ball in for a 35 yard try overpowering a defender at the line. We then enjoyed a 98 yard score with "Blade" covering the first 60 yards and "Happy Legs" Tyson finishing it off.

We really unified as a team and played 15 man rugby for the last 25 minutes. The pack dominated the scrums and took a lot of ball from Harrisburg with good tackling and close rucking support. We allowed them another converted try despite a gutsy effort by Chris, our rookie flyhalf. Walter pulled up lame at wing with about 5 minutes to go and a borrowed player (Thank God I didn't have to put my boots on!) from Old Gaelic was fed good ball from the backs and blazed down the sideline for our final score.

I was proud of everyone's efforts, especially Lou's support all over the field from his prop position. "Bateau" and "Mountain" provided power in the scrum and loose play and old veteran "Shaggy" showed up to provide a lot of pressure from his #8 position. Bob played well at hooker in both set and loose pieces. "The Train" ran some very strong crashes and defended well from inside center position. Sika played well despite a sprained ankle suffered in the first period. "Mongo" and Dave (who moved from lock to prop) provided a strong base for the scrum and were all over the field in support and Tommy gave his usual steady performance at flanker. Overall I have to agree with "Happy Legs"... we had a very good looking team!

I am almost glad that more United players did not show up for the game. By keeping this group together for all four periods they were able to gel as a team and provide very satisfying results. Some of our "feature" players who did not make the trip will find themselves playing catch-up now that others have had the chance to show their stuff. You had better make it to practice with your boots laced tight if you want to keep your spot!

Respectfully submitted,
Danny "Blade Grinder" Patterson

Got any pictures? Send to me in JPG format--one picture per email and will publish the good ones--thanks.


More on Harrisburg-Aug 23rd-from Tim "Bateau" Brown

Among the small things I would add was that this was probably the best time we have had playing rugby in a long time. The van ride sucked, we had people not show up and people playing out of position, but everyone buckled down and just did what they had to do. We have to have set some kind of record for "pancake" hits when we had the ball - just knocking people on their ass and continuing down the field.

One area we need to improve is playing under pressure - and this presented itself in 2 ways: we broke through there line off of a forward crash off of a kickoff and a pop-kick into space. The kicker (according to "Happy Legs" Tyson the best looking guy on the field) was fouled and we were given the ball inside the 22 in front of their posts. We need to take this kick and the points (Jim "The Train" can kick- hallelujah) - this happened in a game at Roanoke last year and we should have taken the points - we need to know in advance what we are going to do in these situations. Another example is when players find themselves outside of their comfort zone there seems to be a panic to pass the ball - usually to someone not moving forward. The backs would be best running out of bounds in some of these situations or booting it easily into touch - no shame there. The forwards, most of whom really progressed during the game - need to tuck the ball, set a ruck, spin there shoulders as Jimmy Deane taught us, keep there feet and present the ball as help arrives.

All in all a great game. The opening sequence where we scored a try was one of the nicest I had ever seen - I think 10 of our 15 touched the ball and the other team was just tired by the time we scored. I think the average age of the 16 we took (I am leaving "Blade Grinder" out so as not to ruin the average) was 25 yrs old! A great effort and great teamwork. The crowning moment for me was our goal-line stands, punctuated by the following: "The Blade" was fringing on a ruck at the goal-line (let's be honest he deserved a breather), quite unnecessarily their hooker come flying in and smacks him in the ribs and pulls him down (could not have helped there cause as the ball kind of got trapped under all this for a second). Their hooker had no less than 4 United players ready to apply the liberal boot and knee to his back and extremities - suffice to say this overgrown Frank "Diaoblo" Cassidy look-alike did not come out as handsome as before (Tyson's words). It was good to see everyone step up to protect there teammates while the referee recognized what was going on and how it was handled "professionally" and we held and they did not score.

By the way, the free drinks were appreciated, the grub was top notch, but what is with the fascination with Mentholmint Schnapps?

Tim Brown


July 12th Norfolk 7's

United 7 side July 2003
We had a solid side out there today. Our first match v PAC II started out hopeful. We passed the ball out of pressure and spread the players out hence the defense was forced to defend the entire width. I thought we had a little edge in the size and speed department but we never really put any pressure on ourselves with our attack--what I mean by that is we did not take the ball with depth and pace. We did not challange the defense physically; but rather continued to take the ball flat without pace and we spent a lot of time simply trying to get the ball away from the defensive pressure. We will chalk this match up to early morning blahs.

The second match was v Nationally ranked and many times National champion NOVA A. We started well with lots of pressure on defense. We played as a unit trapping the ball carrier and preventing them from going wide. Outstanding! They eventually found their openings straight up the middle with raw atheletic talent--but we did take them out of their normal game. Good lesson for us and we earned their respect. We managed to rile them up and got their star, Prince Hill, sin binned--tickled to see that!

Third match v Norfolk C was a lark. We relaxed--moved the ball around and our speedsters Brian,The Blade, Scotty,Daryl,and Phil made regular deliveries into the try zone. Mountain Evan and Canuck Steve mixed it up well with lots of contact and recycled the ball with aplomb.

These are WMV files so allow some time for download

Mountain off loads to Scotty for the try
Phil delivers the mail

Did not stay for the Plate knock out---so don't know what happened--somebody send me an email with post match and I will paste it into our site.


May 24th Monk Vaughan 7's

The United side today displayed some remarkable talent and potential. Phil, returned from Coast Guard duty, in Yorktown lighter and faster than ever and it showed with some outstanding runs extending over 75 yds for the try. Daryl, as always, had his moments and sliced through for a couple. Brian Patterson was beyound description! Brian, "The Blade," exploded for several trys beating two to four defenders on his own to score some of them extending more than 75yds! Andy from Mary Wash College shows promise. Eric,"Boog", Payne, "Canuck", Steve, and "Mountain" Evan were the big guys enforcing the physical aspect of our game and showing outstanding consistency with their play. This side was rewarded with the Bowl Championship. We have talent, size,speed,and a wealth of 7's acumen in Pete Sweet---a little ambition,committment, and desire to take on the big boys and we could make a big impact this summer.

Also, special thanks and graditude to Boog for organining an outstanding fixture and post tourney social.


United at Monk Vaughan 7's

The Virginia Gentlemen RFC, The Old Boy division of United, also competed . Pete Sweet, Tom Oxenham,Danny Patterson,Cary Kennedy, active players from the 70's showed off their game. They had their highlights. Old ruggers still have their moments--they just don't happen as often. Some outstanding highlights were demonstrated by Phil Bassett and Steve Griffith scoring trys extending more than half the length of the pitch. As always, John Murphy brought his MoJo to help us all play better. Doug Lubking brought his physical game to the pitch. We blended with youngsters, Chris and Ben, as well, to help in the cause. Its not over for the Old Boys--next week May 31 we play in Charlottesville. For the lads---come join us and support the Va.Gents and party with us.


April 12th v Virginia

Pending Mac's write-up on the Virginia game I'll submit this much less eloquent version of the game. Everyone had their worst game on the same day. I like coordinated efforts but not this kind. The penalty count was twenty some against us to ten or so against them. Our penalty kicks averaged 20 yards while theirs averaged 40. Do the math.. that is about a 600 yard difference we gave them. No wonder we had our backs to the goal line most of the day. I don't want to hear any crap about the referee either. He wasn't perfect but we were our own worst enemies on Saturday. We came back to within a converted try towards the end of the game and I saw some intensity and spirited play for the first time that day. An intercepted pass and 60 yard try by Virginia doused our fire and I quit watching and put my boots on for the B game. Thank God for the B game. A few James River players made the trip and helped out a lot and the United players were up for some redemption and played a hell of a game. Now, I am not biased or anything but I would have to say that the Old Boy contribution was the most significant aspect of the game. Tom Oxenham at scrumhalf to Pete Sweet at fly and Mike Populo (I'm sure he's used to having his name misspelled by now) at wing were so magnificent that even me at inside center couldn't screw things up. The backs were provided with awesome support from Doug Lumpking and Phil Bassett. We rolled to a 5 or 6 try to zero victory. Our most respected opponents were Terry Whelan and Lance Vandecastle who provided an Old Boy spark to the Virginia side.

Submitted by Danny Patterson


April 5 v Norfolk

The Clouds Rolled By But Not For United

United were playing in their first final of the Porter Cup against the perennial finalists, Norfolk. Would the sun shine again? In spite of a penalty against them Norfolk quickly regained the ball and moved it sharply across United’s bunched backs to score on the right, the first of several unconverted tries by Norfolk. 0-5 to Norfolk after five minutes.

United probed hard with the first of many good runs by Brian Patterson, unfortunately mostly without support. Norfolk counter attacked but Steve Smith made the first of many saving, relieving kicks. These were to be the stories of the afternoon together with brave tackling by Tyson and others.

United missed a penalty after 10 minutes and then knocked on which produced another good handling move by Norfolk which was kept out only by last ditch tackling by United. It was now Norfolk’s turn to miss a penalty and their placekicking remained wayward all afternoon. United also missed their share of penalties. Tyson led the way in defensive tackles but this did not prevent Norfolk in scoring two further tries just before half time to make the score 5-15.

At the beginning of the second half the game swung backward and forward. United had brought on Pauli and Norfolk’s number 6 was replaced by no.16 who proved to be effective at the line out. Norfolk continued to run hard, saved by relieving kicks by Steve, but Norfolk seemed to be permanently camped in United’s 22-meter zone. A penalty and other kicks, however, eventually brought United down field where they won a penalty that was kicked to bring the score the closest it came, 8-15 after eleven minutes. For the next ten minutes United pressed hard, and looked like scoring again but a penalty to Norfolk near their own goal line was run by them ninety yards for another try, 8-20. This, too, was unconverted but it was a depressing set back for United.

Brian continued to run, think, and grab ball, with Tyson tackling as hard as possible, but Norfolk began to win good ball in the rucks, the mauls, and the set scrums where they began to drive United back, and wheel them off their own ball. Perhaps the changes at prop earlier had made a difference.

For the last twenty minutes Norfolk began to dominate, even at the lineouts, and by quick handling and support they scored twice after 20 and 30 minutes. The second, in front of the posts, was converted. Again the quick hands of Norfolk had extended United’s defense.

United did not give up, rather they just got tired after so much defense. They were pressing hard in Norfolk’s 22 when Norfolk’s 16 was sent the sin bin. The referee had been quite patient with the visitors’ constant backchat and some thought he could have acted sooner. He had provided a good example of good stern refereeing, not seen too often in Virginia, and perhaps Norfolk were not used to it.

At the end of time an exhausted United side conceded another try after quick Norfolk hands had seized on an awkward bounce to make the final score 8-32. Norfolk had won the 40th Anniversary Porter Cup. United had tackled hard but eventually had been outrun by a hard running side who supported each other at pace. Even their old men had contributed to good hard scrimmaging.

Submitted by
Malcolm Cormack

Jenda is treated to the best medical first aid available--notice the high priced splints


March 29 Porter Cup


Halftime v Virginia

We won both matches on Sat and made the finals v powerhouse Norfolk! Fabulous effort today. Tyson touched down the only try in the first match off a missed penalty kick that was mis-played by Roanoke.

We put away Virginia with some of the most violent surging rucks and overpowering backline movements that I have not witnessed in many a match. Coleman, Steve, and Mountain laid on some awsome rucks that not only got our opponents off the ball but blew them five meters down the pitch. Steve guided the backline with cool confidence launching center Jim Cook into the backline defense with devastating effect. Enough said here-- Malcolm Cormack adds his indepth commentary to this satisfying performance v Virginia.:


Porter Cup: The Sun Shone on United at Dorey Park

Having finally won through the first game against Roanoke by only one try, the incessant rain of the morning did not augur well for a running game in the afternoon. But at 2:00 p.m. the sky lightened and United played its best rugby of the season to beat a hustling, reinvigorated Virginia team 24 –5 in the second match (Virginia had beaten Western Suburbs in their first game).

United took some time to get into gear. The initial kick off by Virginia went straight through United’s hands for touch. United’s timing was out of synch for the first few line outs but a good run by Jim Cork took United out its 22 meter zone into that of Virginia’s, where United remained for most of the rest of the first half. Good scrimmaging with at least two strikes against the head by Brad gave United almost constant possession but last ditch defending by Virginia prevented any score, as United forwards were, perhaps, guilty of trying to go it alone too often.

Eventually, however, the pressure began to tell, and from about the 50 meter line a well placed kick ahead and brisk follow up by Steve Griffith, who had an outstanding game at fly-half, enabled him to score after twenty-two minutes. The try was unconverted. United had another try thwarted by off side at the line out. Virginia counter attacked vigorously but stout tackling kept them out for the rest of the half.

Virginia started with a flourish against the wind in the second half. Bad passing by United, a fly hack by the fly half Steve (his only lapse) gave Virginia possession. They kicked ahead and United were caught wanting with sparse defense at the back. United had a harsh penalty awarded against them for falling back on the ball and rising with an unintentional short arm. A quick tap, with United caught staring, and Virginia scored to tie the match with an unconverted try.

United were still trying to move the ball from good possession from the forwards who now dominated the line out and in the loose, but the backs were rather static until at last, a brilliant run by Brian Patterson who dodged his way through heavy traffic brought a score after ten minutes. The try was converted.

Continued good pressure and harassing allowed United to take advantage of Virginia’s mistakes, which led to another score by Steve Griffith. Virginia attempted to come back and even reached United’s line with a line out but good long kicking by Steve with the wind now behind him kept Virginia back in their own half.

Further hard tackling and a brilliant run by Evan Hunt (was this his first at speed?) led to a bout of good handling from which Brian scored another converted try to complete the scoring at 24 – 5.

United thus reached the final of the Porter Cup for the first time with a spirited performance of team work and an unwillingness to let Virginia go forward. Everyone tried hard and tackled well and the back row placed a greater defensive role than they have in previous games with Yenda and Coleman outstanding. Yenda was unlucky to receive a penalty after one devastating tackle. Coleman also won a lot of good ball in the line out.

Sunday was snowed off, except for the intrepid Old Boys, so the final will be played against Norfolk next Saturday. Norfolk were lucky to scrape through against Newport News, but they are always a danger with strong runners in the backs, even if their pack is getting old. United must keep up the spirit and determination of their match against Virginia and proceed one notch further, tighten the scrummaging, move the ball quickly when required, and keep up the good defensive work.

Submitted by Malcolm Cormack

Malcolm in the middle

United half time huddle Halftime v Virginia

Click here for commentary and pictures of the Master Rugby Classic on Sunday.


March 22,2002 v Rocky George

Approximately 20 United players made the trek north to Laurel, MD. to take on Rocky Gorge on Saturday the 22nd. Our A-Side dropped this one something like 29-13 due in large part to some late game mental errors. Gorge struck first with a try from the wing and not long after hit a penalty kick giving them an early lead. United came back with a nice try and I think the half-time score was something like 12-7 Gorge. We took advantage of a couple of penalties giving us a 13-12 lead at one point in the second half. Gorge then went on to score a couple of more trys and a penalty kick to end our day with a 29-13 final. Brian "Zorro" Patterson had some great runs outside while Evan and Jim looked powerful up the middle. Steve Romanchuk's field leadership was indispensable as he guided the team well until breakdowns doomed us. On a positive note, we were able to complete nearly all of our line-outs successfully and we disrupted many of theirs. Here again, Steve was the guiding force and he's truly emerging as a leader on the squad.

Once again we had some Sin Bin trouble early on which put us at a decided disadvantage for a quarter of the first half. We also seemed to have trouble in the pack holding the Gorge surge on put ins giving Gorge a territorial advantage for much of the match (our pack lacked the snap on engagement giving Gorge an 80-20 advantage on the scrum down from the refs mark). The fact is, we had to improvise at various positions because of key personnel absences. For the most part we did well and while Gorge won in the end, we gave them a very good fight and they were seen bitching at each other at various points during the match (always a good sign when you're the opposition).

On B-side, yours truly was the designated Captain (what a job it was. I had to venture to the center of the field where the referee, Jerry O'Connor, told us he would penalize illegal stuff. That was about the extent of being Captain). We won the match 14-7 in an abbreviated 30 minute session. The shortened match was due to the presence of a team from Boston (the Bumblebees I think) who had originally traveled south to participate in the Irish Tourney and thus ended up at Gorge instead when the Tourney was cancelled. All teams other than United and Gorge A-Side made concessions to insure everyone got to play that day.

We needed to win on Saturday and had we traveled better as a team we would have (hint, hint for those of you who didn't travel and didn't let us know you wouldn't be there). Players were very disappointed in the loss and as Danny Patterson would say "That's a good thing".

Respectfully submitted,
Charlie Grant, Secretary


March 15th United v Virginia Gentlemen RFC

Gents: A great time was had by all on Saturday. Thanks everyone for making the 40th Commemorative match an event to be remembered. Thanks too to Coleman, Boog and Chris for the post-match venue and vittles.

Now the bad news for United: Yes you guys beat us in straight up scoring by 7 points (19-12 according to my math, but then again I was a History major so I may be way off), though remember we were on your Try Line when Stuart Corker took the ball and foot to the gut (and Mitch was getting ready to slap Darryl around) to end the match.

However, according to well established scoring principles based on age there is a different result. Below please see the table used by law for Old Boy rugby matches.

Handicap criteria:

*Any player under 35 years is -7 points
*Any player over 35 but has played for his A-side this spring is -7 points
*Any player 45 and over is +3 points
*Any player 50 and over is +5 points
*Any player 55 and over is +7 points
*To qualify for the positive points the player must be on the field of play for a respectable period of time--a half seems fair unless he has a documented heart bypass procedure,expensive artificial joint,skull plate etc. etc.,whine,whine, in his medical history.

What does all this mean? Well, we OBs scored 12 points. We had 2 players under age in Tyler and Goro giving us a -2 score. But, add in that we had 3 players 50+ (15 points), and 1 player 55+ (7 points), the final score was really 20-19 Gents! Tough luck lads, but maybe we'll do it again next year as an annual tradition giving you a chance at redemption.

Congratulations Virginia Gentlemen, 2003 St. Paddy's Commemorative Match Champions!!! This to go along with our recent 2002 Highland Games Championship and 2002 Christmas 7s Championship! We're on a roll!

Submitted by Charlie Grant

rebuttal to Charlie's commentary--respectfully submitted by Evan "Mountain" Hunt

We won the fucking match I don't care what the age scoring bullshit. You guys had old-man strength and rugby knowledge thats only comes to people on thier 35th birthday like a fucking light bulb went on. We were all drunk anyway including me. So fuck-off we won.


United v Virginia Gentlemen Mar 15th

This was our 40th Anniversary commerative match and the play today served to remind us all how lucky we are to be able to enjoy this great game.

Gents before the match

The lads, in the end, had their way today--youth and enthusiasm prevailed over guile and treachery. Yet, both sides had their moments. Brian,"The Blade" Patterson cut through the old boy defense with some remarkable sidestepping jinking runs. Yet, the Va. Gents responded with some respectable defense. Stuart Corker,Jerry Gilfoyle , and Tom Sarisky pursued and tackled with enthusiam and effectiveness. Phil Bassette exploded for some nice runs. "Mountain" had some violent runs into lots of traffic.

The legendary, Mark Fowler at fly made some outstanding efforts to raise the backline play in the second half.

Thanks to all for making this match special.

Submitted by Cary Kennedy

Frank Punch
Greg Crandel
Jon Hill
Marc Butler and Mark Fowler


March 8th v Frederick RFC

Mike and Phil

This match was well fought. General play was committed and intense. Our backline set the tone in the first half with consistent success running to the strong side with our fullback, The Blade, blasting through with plenty of devastating help from Mike Kelly, in particular. Frederick really had no defensive answer to these forays until the second half. Our opponent, to their credit, began to pressure and trap our inside center, thus preventing us from unleashing The Blade, Mike Kelly, The Rock, and Phil with consistent effect in the second half. Jerry O'Connor at fly did react well to this trapping defense with effective kicks but in the end we gave away the ball too many times to establish an effective backline attack in the second half. Jim Cook, at inside, looked powerful and finished off a huge team effort to touch down a try in close in the first half. Veteran Dan O, at scrumhalf, provided outstanding ball service;his savy vision for the game is a comfort. How could we have broken the trapping defense without so much kicking? Launch the centers with a bit more depth and pace--I think Jim Cook has the power and strength to break up and get in behind the rushing backline defense and find support from The Blade, The Rock, Kelly, and company. We have talent,size,power, experience, and will--we simply have to bring that to bear with confidence and more consistency--then "we move the mountain."

Coleman

Coleman Bishop was a colossus in defense. In the closing minutes of the first half as Frederick was knocking on our door with 3 penalty marks inside our 22. Coleman was the stopper on all three running efforts. His straight up tackling and cover defense is a joy to witness. Brian Patterson laid on some memorable hits too during the match.Jenda looked active and Mountain had a few storming runs. The Barbarian looked fabulous taking the ball up the field into contact. Our forwards displayed patience and communicated well as they entered the rucks. Cody Sutton's work rate and decision making around the breakdown is so valuable and the pack seemed to follow his lead. I would not underestimate our ability to break tackles and stay on our feet--it felt at times, at least, from the touchline that we opted for the ruck too early.

As we all know we could have and should have won this match. The difference between victory and defeat can be a slim thread and today was a prime example. We seemed to have difficulty coming to terms with the ref and we gave away a silly penalty late in the match and got caught up in some sin bin nonsense that essentially prevented us from putting this match away. The season is early and we will learn from this experience. Refs make mistakes and can mismanage-- never give a ref an opportunity to determine the outcome of a match--we lost our disipline; hence we lost our chance to impose our will on the match in the waning minutes.

In the end, we have much to be proud of . Much respect and hope for an outstanding side this spring was expressed amoung the touchline fans despite the result today. We have all the basic elements to be an exciting and dominant side.

Respectfully submitted,
Cary

ps. my camera is screwing up and the pictures today sucked, sorry- so we have hardly any worth publishing.


Feb 23, 2003

United v WM/VCU B

I was only able to stay for a short view on this match. We started well-moved forward. Jim at center was explosive with two trys in about 5 minutes.-Jim looked big,enthusiastic, and had some deceptive pace. Wish I could have stayed longer.

United prior to match v WM/VCU Feb 2003


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