Potomac Exiles Earn Valuable Points on the Road
PERC – 19 , Norfolk -19
Captain Slade Cutter Athletic Park, Norfolk, Virginia—The Potomac Exiles traveled to Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, September 22nd and came away with valuable points in a 19-19 draw against the defending MAC Champion Norfolk Blues. The men from PERC headed down to Norfolk with the sting of last season’s playoff loss at the hands of the Blues still fresh in their minds, and were eager to set the tone early. After some initial back and forth play, they did just that when heads up breakdown work by hooker Dante Lopresti resulted in a long counter-attack try for center Limbani Mankhusu in the 10th minute. Limbani converted his own try to put the visitors up 7-0.
After conceding the early score, Norfolk kept pressure on the visitors and were rewarded for their efforts when they scored a try from close range in the 22nd minute, despite well-structured defense from PERC. If the Exiles were discouraged by the home side’s score, they did not show it. Three minutes later, fly-half John Davis cut through Norfolk’s defensive line and chipped a centering kick to wing Joanel Joseph for a try under the posts. Limbani converted the try to make the score 14-5 in the 25th minute. For the final fifteen minutes of the first half, PERC, bolstered by strong running from center Junior Sucu and lock Mike Minchik, enjoyed large territorial and possession advantages. However, the visiting side was unable to convert the sustained pressure into points and the teams went into the break with PERC up 14-5.
The second half opened with tough defense from both sides, but in the 52nd minute PERC turned a scrum deep in Norfolk’s 22 into points when impact reserve Ben Matu scored his first try on debut to push the score to 19-5. Norfolk proved determined to protect their home pitch and scored two converted tries in the 62nd and 72nd minutes to bring the score level at 19. Although both teams attempted long range penalties in the dying moments, both efforts came up short and the whistle sounded with the teams tied.
Several PERC players had outstanding matches; however, Matt Flynn earned Man of the Match honors for his tenacious scrummaging and try saving tackles in the second half.
Next up, the Potomac Exiles travel to Baltimore on September 29, to take on the Brumbies in the only meeting between the two teams this season.