As the rain poured and washed out multiple games, the Mid-Atlantic battled more than just their opponents on Saturday. Only three more weekends of rugby remain before the winter break and each team wants to finish on a high note.
After winning its first Division I match in 18 months last weekend, Baltimore-Chesapeake (BC) won its second game in a row with a 24-14 victory over Pittsburgh. BC’s coach Steve Elliot said the plan was to challenge the Harlequins in the set piece. “The conditions were not conducive to wide-open play so our set piece created pressure in defense and opportunity in attack.”
It’s been a long way back for BC. “It’s been a slow process,” Elliot indicated. “If you look at our first two matches, they were competitive but we couldn’t sustain that for 80 minutes. The next two were a one-point and a two-point loss that we led for a majority of the match… The biggest change has simply been completing foundational actions: exiting the defensive zone efficiently, rebuilding defensive lines, and being stout in the set piece.”
With an 18-15 win against the Washington Irish, the Norfolk Blues improved to 3-0-1 on the season. Head coach Chris Porter’s squad has changed a lot since winning DI last season. “The young guys have stepped up and they have been around for a while. The key players like Jeff Jefferson and Jake Humphrey are definitely leading by example and really taking their opportunity to rise to their own legacy and be leaders.”
Only two games were played in the women’s ranks as Harrisburg dispatched Doylestown, 19-5, to remain undefeated and the Northeast Philadelphia Irish edged Phoenixville White Horse, 17-15, to push its record to 3-3.
For Harrisburg, coach Scott Stratton’s main focus has been a defense that has limited foes to less than 15 points a game. “We spent the vast majority of the season focusing on defense. We improved, but will still have that as our number one work-on for the spring.”
With both teams evenly matched, the field conditions only added to the intense fight between the NE Irish and Phoenixville. “It was a very tight game with the teams trading tries and came down to who had possession at the end of the game,” NE Irish coach Vicky Crosier said. “Our flyhalf, Rachel Bandura, made a conversion kick from the right side almost at the touchline. That kick, with the wind blowing hard, was clutch and ended up being the difference in the game.”
In men’s Division III Central, the Washington Renegades leads a pack of six clubs separated by nine standing points at the top of the division. At 5-1, the Renegades completed their fall season with a 19-5 away victory over BC.
“Perseverance was the key to our win,” head coach Steven Davis said. “The pace and flow of the game was not what we were used to, or wanted, for a variety of reasons. BC is much better than their record indicates and I think our players found that out the hard way. On a day with tough conditions, anything can happen if you aren’t dictating the play.”
Lastly, the Division III South wraps up its regular season next Saturday with the playoff semifinals on November 10th. Norfolk and Virginia Beach, assuming it beats Rappahannock on Saturday, will represent the East while Roanoke and Blackwater come from the West.
Roanoke will be ready for either team in two weeks. “To advance, we’ll need to play the same match we played this last weekend,” coach Jeremy Miller said on the 61-31 win against Blacksburg. “We’ve had back-dominated matches and pack-dominated matches, but Saturday we put both together. Everybody went through the phases, trusted the plan, and we got a big win.”
|Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies||24||Pittsburgh Harlequins||14||Men – DI|
|Washington Irish||15||Norfolk Blues||18||Men – DI|
|Doylestown Dragons||69||Phoenixville White Horse||19||Men – DII-North|
|Wilmington Rugby||7||Philadelphia Whitemarsh Rugby||24||Men – DII-North|
|Lancaster Roses||39||North Penn Rugby||14||Men – DII-North|
|South Jersey Devils||22||Old Gaelic Rugby||46||Men – DII-North|
|Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies D3||5||Washington Renegades||19||Men – DIII-Central|
|West Potomac Beavers||21||Northern Virginia Rugby D3||33||Men – DIII-Central|
|Rocky Gorge Rugby D3||12||Western Suburbs Rugby||10||Men – DIII-Central|
|Wilkes-Barre Scranton Breakers||36||Harrisburg Rugby||17||Men – DIII-North|
|Media Rugby||41||Hibernians Rugby||7||Men – DIII-North|
|Jersey Shore Sharks||3||Northeast Philadelphia Irish||26||Men – DIII-North|
|Newport News Mariners||31||Rappahannock Rugby||14||Men – DIII-South|
|Virginia Beach Falcons||12||Norfolk Blues D3||24||Men – DIII-South|
|Blacksburg Rugby||31||Roanoke Rugby||61||Men – DIII-South|
|Blackwater Rugby||40||Rocktown Rugby||14||Men – DIII-South|
|Washington Renegades D4||37||Prince William County Rugby||0||Men – DIV|
|Phoenixville White Horse||15||Northeast Philadelphia Rugby||17||Women – DII-North|
|Doylestown Dragons||5||Harrisburg Rugby||19||Women – DII-North|