Chapel Hill Match Report

6 FEB 2018 | BY TOD SHEPHERD

Two weeks, two heart attack specials!!! The coaches may be better off quitting and begin a regiment of fast food and high cholesterol diet!!😀

All kidding aside, Saturday’s A game is what rugby is all about. Two teams competing at a very high level, putting their bodies on the line, not giving an inch, the result coming down to the last play of the game, with the common goal of winning for their teammates. Whew!

But first, special thanks to the two game ball sponsors “Jackie Cohn” and “Kim Perritt”! Put those balls somewhere special with a note about how incredible that game was. We couldn’t do all these amazing things without your support.

And another huge thanks to the Russ family and all the volunteers who put on that amazing BBQ feast!! The Chapel Hill folks were quite impressed. There’s juice boxes and goldfish after peewee soccer, and then there’s that extravaganza from Saturday. Incredible stuff!

Now to the action. In the A game, we started out on fire…a pure lesson in rugby. Shortly after the kickoff, we ran a “frog” from a lineout just outside their 22m line. The execution was perfect to Travis who popped to the ball to Jack V. who then eluded defenders all the way down to the goal line, only to knock it on inches from pay dirt. Great start….but who knew those inches would almost come back to haunt us.

A few minutes later, Caleb fed a pretty quick hands pass to Huw who showed some crazy wheels and outpaced two Chapel Hill backs, and dove over the line to open scoring. Huw converted his own try. 7-0 for the good guys!

We continued to dominate and Chapel Hill had yet to cross midfield. At roughly 15 mins, our forwards put on possibly the best “taxi” display Wando Rugby has ever seen. The repeated pounding off the edge of the ruck punished the Chapel Hill defense, consuming tackler after tackler, and chewing the meters in large chunks. Elliot, Mason, Miles, Ben, Owen, Travis, Nick and Baylor all had impressive impacts….and piece of that gloriousness!! It ended with Elliot scoring his first ever Wando try from about 5m out, crunching a tackler in the process. Huw slotted the extra 2 points. 14-0 for us.

Almost like a shampoo commercial — wash, rinse & repeat — the forwards took another long taxi ride, this one even longer then the first. It started from a broken play near midfield, when our scrum half was caught on a tackle. As is the rule, whenever we don’t have a number 9 available, we taxi. And taxi they did!!! Wakser had two marquee picks, gaining 8m each time, and causing chaos in their defensive line. We made it down to their try line, which setup the next try. On that try, Caleb hit a perfect pooch kick over the Chapel Hill centers. The bounce was generous into the speeding hands of Huw, who raced over for his second try of the game. Conversion missed. 19-0…and we were rolling!!!

Then the first half whistle blew.

In the second half, Chapel Hill suddenly woke up. Not sure what they did at halftime, but whatever it was it worked!

Chapel Hill scored almost immediately to make it 19-7. No sweat….just one blemish…so I thought.

Chapel Hill continued to dominate the territory mostly because of our penalties….and…our ineffective lineout. Each time we regained possession, a “not straight” ball or a sloppy catch would give it back to our opponents.

Chapel Hill scored again at the 20 minute mark…..making it 19-14. Game on!!!! Heart attack on!!!!

With 4 minutes left, we had a chance to salt the game away with a penalty kick from 30m. If successful, we would be ahead by 8 points…in other words, two scores. Huw’s attempt was on target, but the wind pushed it just under the crossbar. Their player courageously ran the ball out of his own in goal area. Not sure what he was thinking, but he pulled it off….making it past the 22m. Remember, penalty kicks are “live” balls!!!

With only a couple minutes remaining, we had a scrum near midfield and should have been able to play a simple game of “keepaway” to run out the clock. However they stole the scrum with a good “shove” as Jack fed the ball in. To their credit, that is what good teams do….and they are a good team.

Somehow we prevented their elusive 8 from scoring, but they were on the attack.

With one minute remaining, we had a lineout on our 5m. Another chance to play keepaway and run out the clock. But again, Chapel Hill stole the ball. I don’t recall what happened after that (cuz I fainted), but our boys stepped up and played great defense….stopped a talented team from scoring…and we won!!! 19-14 final.

In the end, defense and ball handling are what won the game. I don’t recall a single knock-on by our team….and that is no easy feat. Great job gents!

More importantly, our tackling was like a brick wall. Daniel was particularly amazing…whether stopping their outside center or their huge fullback coming into the line. Check out the photos and you will see some perfect form tackles from our brave men.

Winning is fun!!!

B team report to come….

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